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Car Rust Remover - 7 Best Ways to Remove and Repair Rusted Auto Parts

CarPart  ·  October 25, 2022

Car Rust Remover - 7 Best Ways to Remove and Repair Rusted Auto Parts

Rust is the great equaliser in the car world. 

No matter what brand or model you drive, it will reach a certain age when it becomes more susceptible to rust. The good thing about it is that there are ways to remove and repair rusted auto parts or car body panels.

Car rust repair is something you can do yourself using steel wool, sandpaper, or a pumice stone. You may also soak the rusted pieces in vinegar or a chemical bath, and just so you know, electrolysis can eliminate rust. If all else fails, you can use rust converters to change rust into ferric phosphate.

Amazing, don’t you think? Let this guide walk you through each option!

How Do You Remove and Repair Rusted Car Parts?

Here are several methods for getting rid of rusty car surfaces and returning them to their original sheen. The items that you will use are available in most supplies stores, and the methods are plain and simple enough to DIY in your workshop or garage. 

#1 Steel Wool

What it is: Steel wool is one of the most common items used in car rust repair. It consists of bundled steel filaments, which are incredibly sharp and abrasive. This quality makes steel wool suitable for scraping rust off your car panels and other surfaces.

How to use it: Steel wool is excellent for removing surface rust on your car. Just grabbing a wad of steel wool and use it to buff rusty areas on your vehicle’s panels.

Remember that the steel filaments in steel wool are sharp, so it’s best to wear gloves when using them.

#2 Sandpaper

What it is: Sandpaper is another timeless car rust remover. The materials used to make it differ from steel wool, but it works the same way.

One side is a hard paper sheet, while the other side is glued with abrasive materials (aluminum oxide or garnet) for sanding or smoothening various surfaces, including metal panels in cars panels.

How to use it: You can use sandpaper to rub rusty surfaces on your vehicle and individual car parts. Alternatively, you can also use a sander, a more efficient power tool which is easier on the hands.

#3 Pumice Stone

What it is: Most people are familiar with pumice stones and how to use them. These abrasive stones are the product of water and lava combining. 

While many people use pumice stones for sloughing off dry and dead skin, only few use these coarse natural materials for removing rust from car parts.

How to use it: Use pumice stones the same way you use steel wool and sandpaper—get one and rub your car's rusted parts with it.

However, since pumice stones are small, they’re best to use them only when dealing with small rust patches on your car parts.

#4 Vinegar

What it is: Vinegar is a common household ingredient used for everything from cooking to cleaning. This liquid is incredibly helpful because of its acetic acid content, which is ideal for cleaning.

In this case, you can also use distilled white vinegar to remove rust from the metal parts in your car. Not only is this stuff cheap, but you likely already have some in your kitchen right now!

How to use it: Vinegar works by breaking the attachment between rust and the metal surface. So, you can rub it on the rusty areas of your car panels or even soak individual car parts in the liquid. 

The more rusted an auto part is, the longer you'll want to soak it. Just be sure to check on it every 30 minutes to monitor how much rust has been removed.

#5 Chemical Bath

What it is: If you’re looking for a more intense solution, giving your car parts a chemical bath is another option. You can find plenty of rust-removal chemicals on the market for soaking metal parts and dissolving the rust on their surface.

Naturally, a chemical bath can be somewhat risky. You’ll want to use protective gear like gloves and safety goggles while soaking your rusty car parts, and make sure there are no kids or pets playing around where you’re working.

How to use it: Chemical baths are risky, but they are also incredibly easy to use—just soak the rusty car parts in the chemical solution. 

Depending on your product, it may take a few hours or overnight to get the desired outcome.

#6 Electrolysis

What it is: If you’re wondering how to remove rust from a car without sanding or using hazardous chemicals, electrolysis is another option. As the name suggests, you’ll need electricity to create a chemical reaction that will remove rust from your car parts.

How to use it: Electrolysis involves soaking your rusted car parts in a bin with water and baking soda. Then, with a car battery charger, apply electricity to the solution to allow chemical reaction to take place, gradually separating the rust particles from the car parts. 

#7 Rust Converter Products

What it is: Last but not least, you can use rust converter products to deal with your car’s rust problems. At first glance, one of these products might look like a car rust remover spray. 

But instead of removing the rust, it converts it into another substance, ferric phosphate.

These products go by several names, so you may find them labelled rust primer, neutraliser, or reformer.

How to use it: These rust converters are spray-on products. So, you’ll first have to clean the area you’re going to treat before applying the converter.

Depending on the product you’re using, you might have to apply several coats over a 24 to 48-hour period.

As you can see from the list above, you have plenty of options for removing and restoring rusty car parts. Still, nothing beats getting a professional to do it for you. Check out CarpartAU’s Directory to find local automotive professionals that can take care of rusted car panels and auto parts for you!


By Ray Hasbollah

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