Tiny Rust Spot Touchups

Small Rust Spot Removal

I have no shame in driving my old car. My car is almost nine years old inching up toward 200,000 miles, and I'm proud that we've been happily driving without a car payment for almost four years! But I don't love the fact that it's starting to show it's "roots" a little, with rusty parts creeping in. So, just like a quick root touch up on my hair, I give my car a quick touch up. It's not going to restore the car to showroom detail, but it will clean things up and get a few more decent months or years out of a car.

You will need:
1. A can of pain color matched to your car. You can get it from an auto parts store or a body shop. A can of custom paint usually costs under $30.
2. A can of rust killer/primer, also found in an auto parts store.
3. Cleaning supplies - water bucket, scrub cloth
4.  Rubbing compound - basically car wax with a scrubbing compound. It cleans up rust stains and cloudy amateur paint jobs.  

How to do it:
1. You need an afternoon with no rain - you'll be doing multiple layers with an hour plus of drying/curing between each. Plan ahead.
2.  Using the basic cleaning supplies, clean up as much of the rust/rust stains and mess around the area. Usually the rusty area is actually smaller than you realize because the dust spreads.
3. Attack the areas with the rubbing compound. This should take care of the rest of the staining.
4. Do a GOOD rinse to get off any remaining soap/rubbing compound or mess, and then make sure everything is completely dry.
5.  Apply the primer. It will not look great at first. It will get better. Two coats is usually needed to really cover the rusted areas. Make sure you leave at least an hour of drying time in between.
6.  Apply the color matched paint. Less is more. It'll start to look good and normal and you'll probably be tempted to over-apply, but resist. Many thin coats are better than one thick one.
7.  After the paint has cured for a few days, go back with the rubbing compound and give it a good buffing. This will remove any over spray haze.  

No, this isn't a perfect fix, but if you're trying to keep your old car hanging on for a few more months while looking the best it can, it's a decent fix! You can always have your car professionally fixed at an auto body shop, and you are sure to get great results. But if the spot you have on your car is just a tiny little rust, you just might want to try this.

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