1. Remove the rust

Begin by cleaning the rusted area with a wire brush or sandpaper to remove loose rust and debris. Brush or sand the area outward until there is at least 1/4” of clean, bare metal visible between the rust spot and the painted surface.

 

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2. Etch the surface

Apply an acid-based etching product like Eastwood Fast Etch to the bare metal surface according to instructions on the label. This will dissolve rust remaining in any pits or crevices and lightly etch the bare metal to improve paint adhesion.

3. Clean and degrease

Once the surface is fully etched and all rust is gone, immediately neutralize the acid with acetone or a prep solvent like Eastwood Pre Paint Prep. Apply solvent to the entire area to be repaired, including where the paint will blend.

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4. Prime and sand

Apply primer to repair area, blending it to just beyond the sanded area. A self-etching primer or 2K epoxy primer will provide the best protection against future corrosion. Use multiple light coats of primer to build up enough material to fill any evidence of the rust repair, including sanding marks. When the primer dries, use 320-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface and blend with the original paint.

5. Paint the repair

Use a rust-inhibiting paint that matches the color of the surrounding area. Apply thin, even coats, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next.

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6. Finish

Once the paint has dried, inspect the repaired area for any imperfections. If necessary, lightly sand with progressively finer sandpapers, from 320-grit to 400-grit to 600-grit or finer, depending on the desired finish. Apply additional coats of paint until the repair blends seamlessly with the surrounding surface.

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