A rust hole in your car could cause structural problems that affect the performance or safety levels of the vehicle. If you know how to fix rust holes on a car, you may be able to keep that rust from spreading and causing further damage.
Our guide will detail how to fix rust holes on a car using step-by-step instructions. We will provide you with a list of tools or materials you may need for the whole process and walk you through it from start to finish.
Things You’ll Need
The following list contains recommendations for items you will need for repairing the rust. Similar items may work for you provided they are the same type.
- A body filler kit.
- A filtered mask.
- Ball peen hammer.
- A drill and sander set or attachment.
- Safety goggles.
- Sandpaper sheets.
- Rust-resistant protective enamel.
- Automotive paint in the color of your choice (black shown here.)
Once you have gathered all the items on the list above, you will be ready to move on to the main part of our guide and learn how to fix rust holes on a car. We will detail how to fix the rust holes using a body filler kit.
Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace and Gear
The first step in learning how to fix rust holes on a car is making sure that your workspace and gear are ready for the job. If you have space in your garage, this is probably the best area in which to work. Whatever site you choose, ensure that it has proper ventilation and adequate lighting. You should remove anything that you don’t want to get dirty. Since you may encounter some sparks on this job, a long shirt and trousers are a good idea.
Step 2: Prepare the Vehicle
If you’ll be painting over anything after you learn how to fix rust holes in your car, you should cover any parts you don’t want to paint with some newspaper or similar material. However, if you are repainting with the intention of matching your car’s current color, it may be a good idea to just redo each panel on the body. Just be sure to cover the glass, chrome detailing, and tires.
Step 3: Remove the Paint
The spot or hole might be covered by some of your car’s paint. Use your sander or drill with a sander attachment and the appropriate sandpaper to take the paint off the area. Make sure you keep going until you know that the entire hole is exposed and ready for work.
Step 4: Remove the Rust
With the paint removed, it’s time to start working on the rust itself. You’ll need to use your grinder for this part of the job. It may take some time, but you should make sure you are not leaving any rust around the edges of the hole. Make sure you can see shiny metal all along the edges of the surface area. It’s okay if the grinder widens the hole a bit. You’ll be using the filler kit later. Remember to wear your protective goggles during this part and apply rust remover later if you have some.
Step 5: Apply Primer
Use the rust primer around the edges of the rust hole. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see how long you need to wait before moving on to the next step.
Step 6: Check Your Edges
Fixing a rust hole in your car works best if the edges of the hole are even. Examine the rust holes around their edges. If you find any holes with jagged edges, you can use your ball peen hammer to make the edges of the hole even with the rest of your car’s body.
Step 7: Mix the Filler
Check the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that you mix the right amount of paste and hardening agent. If your mixture hardens too fast, it could interrupt your work or cause other issues.
Step 8: Insert the Mesh
Your repair kit probably came with a cloth made of fiberglass or a piece of metal. Hold this part of the kit behind the hole and let it stabilize the filler as you pour it into the hole.
Step 9: Use the Filler
Add as much filler as you need to fill the hole. Your kit should have a dedicated applicator you can use for this purpose. You may want to consider putting some paste on the outer edges of the hole as well.
Step 10: Sand the Surface
After the filler is dry, use one of the 180-grit pieces to sand down the area of the hole and make it flush with the rest of the car’s body. While primer is not a necessary component in learning how to fix rust holes on a car, it is a good idea to add some to keep future rust at bay.
Step 11: Spray Primer
Apply a single layer of primer, allow it to dry, then apply a second coat.
Step 12: Paint
Use long strokes of the paintbrush to apply a thin and even coat to your car.
Step 13: Apply a Final Coat
After the paint is dry, you may wish to apply a clear coat as the last step. It will help preserve the color and give everything a glossy sheen.
Knowing how to fix rust holes on a car may seem like a long, labor-intensive task at first glance. However, with the proper tools, some preparation, and a little guidance in the right direction, you should be able to complete this project on the first try.
We would love to hear about your experiences fixing rust holes using any of the steps above. Feel free to get in touch with us in the comments section.