How to Remove Light Surface Rust From Your Car

Blast ugly and invasive surface corrosion before it eats your car alive.

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How to Remove Light Surface Rust From Your Car © How to Remove Light Surface Rust From Your Car

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You say your car has some light surface rust and you'd like to remove it? You’ve come to the right place. The Drive’s crack How-To department is here to help get that corrosion dealt with and your car's body straight as an arrow and shiny once again. Rust is the enemy of your vehicle, so let's attack it at the first sign of trouble.

It's important to understand that rust issues exist on a scale, from light surface rust all the way to parts rotting away. That means the right approach is going to depend on how bad the rust you're faced with is.

If you're looking at minor surface rust or non-penetrating "scale" rust, we can help. The approach is actually very simple, and you won't need to bust out the cutting tools or welder to deal with it. Those bigger tools are necessary for holes (aka "penetrating" rust), which we'll come back to in a future guide.

Here’s how to get rid of surface rust from your car’s exterior:

Probably not worth saving..., Depositphotos


Working on your car can be dangerous, especially when you’re dealing with inhalable solvents as well as bare metal, paint chips, and rust fragments, which can chip off, get airborne, and cause eye damage, among other injuries. Here’s what you’ll need to stay safe.


    Everything You’ll Need

    We’re not psychic, nor are we snooping through your toolbox or garage, so here’s what you’ll need to get the job done: 

    Tool List

      Parts List 

        You’ll need a flat surface such as a garage floor, driveway, or street parking. If you’re in a garage, open the door to let in as much fresh air as possible. If you're using the street, check your local laws to make sure you’re not violating any codes because we ain’t getting your car out of the impound yard.


        Here’s How To Remove Rust From Your Car

        Let’s do this! 

        Surface / Scale Rust

          You’re done, congrats!

          Video on Rust Removal

          The more visual aids you can lean on, the better. After all, we are dealing with aesthetics here. That's why we've included a video that will help you prepare your panels. Take note of the many steps involved and how the host gets creative when up against problems unique to the panel he's working on, as they may help you work more efficiently. That said, this does cover getting the metal prepped, with finishing work saved for another clip.

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