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Can You Repair a Rusting Car?

Rust not only puts a damper on your vehicle's aesthetics, but it can also lower the vehicle's value and create costly mechanical problems. According to the American Automobile Association, drivers spend approximately $3 billion in rust repairs annually.

Understandably, the first sighting of rust can send any car owner into a panic. Fortunately, with the help of a good auto body repair professional, you can eliminate automotive rust. If you have a rusty car, read on to find out how rust repair can restore the beauty of your vehicle.

Types of Rust

Several factors can increase the risk of automotive rust. Salt used to de-ice roads during winter is a major cause of car rust. In the same vein, cars are more prone to rust in coastal regions with salty water. Poor maintenance and neglect - for example, by exposing your car to inclement weather elements for a long time - can also accelerate the formation of rust. The three types of automotive rust include surface rust, scale rust, and penetrating rust. Surface Rust As the name suggests, surface rust affects the upper layer of the vehicle's body. This rust will proliferate inside minor cracks and scratches on the surface of your vehicle. Scale Rust If not addressed, minor surface rust can corrode and expose your vehicle's steel body, which is referred to as scale rust. Although steel is structurally strong, robust, and has a longer service life, exposed steel can succumb to rust. The thickness of the steel substrate and the environmental conditions, such as exposure to salt and humidity, determine the rate at which your vehicle's steel body corrodes. Penetrating Rust Penetrating rust is the final stage of rust formation. This type of rust typically forms holes in the vehicle's body. Continued exposure to favorable environmental conditions breaks down steel into iron oxide, a form of common rust. The lower, road-facing parts of the car are more prone to penetrating rust. Regular maintenance can prevent holes from growing and causing mechanical damage to the vehicle. Understanding the different types of rust helps to determine the appropriate rust repair techniques to employ.

Rust Repair Techniques

Automotive rust is a common occurrence. Auto body shops use various methods to repair rust damage. Depending on the type or extent of rust, rust repair may entail sanding or panel replacement. Sanding Sanding can resolve surface rust and moderate scale rust. This process entails using tools such as sandpaper or abrasion wheels to eliminate rust and expose the underlying shiny steel metal. Your auto body specialist will prepare the affected area, apply an epoxy primer, and finish with paint to restore your vehicle to like-new. Panel Replacement Penetrating rust is irremovable and you also can't apply paint to hide the brown rusty holes. Instead, complete replacement of the affected panel is necessary. You may opt for aftermarket panels or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) panels. High-quality aftermarket panels are comparably inexpensive and are a suitable option if you are seeking value for money. Plenty of work goes into preparing the steel surface and the panel. This ensures that the replacement panel adheres and that the paintwork results are perfect. Your auto body specialist will first determine how much of the panel to remove to eliminate the rusty holes. The process may also involve some sanding, waxing and greasing, primer application, and painting and top coat application. In the right environment, rust proliferates fast. Early repair of surface rust can mitigate costly panel replacements. But you should avoid DIY rust repairs. For the best results, leave this task to an auto body repair specialist. At Jim's Auto Body, we understand automotive rust all too well. We have the equipment and expertise to eliminate mild to severe rust and get your vehicle to look as good as new. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

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