Professional auto rust repair involves the full removal of any and all corrosion from a car’s body followed by the patching or rebuilding of the affected area. Welding may be required in some extreme cases. For do-it-yourselfers, a rust repair kit available at any auto parts store provides the tools and materials necessary to remove and patch the rusty spot at home. Depending on the extent of the rust and the method for repairing the car body, not every useful tool may not be included in the kit. The following list of tools make do-it-yourself auto rust repair possible.
Orbital Grinder/Sander or Sandpaper: A kit will likely include rough-edged sandpaper for removing rust from a car’s body. An electric orbital sander speeds up this process considerably, and is much more efficient for removing large rust spots. Remove all rust from an area by sanding it down to the bare metal of the body. The result should be a tapered surface starting from the bare metal up to clean paint.
Dimpling Pliers: This specialty tool is used to countersink both the original metal of the car body and the patch piece as instructed with some rust repair kits. Once holes are drilled through the patch and the body, take the dimpling pliers to each hole and sink the rim around them. This will allow for a bonding agent to fully cover the rivets once finished.
Electric Drill: This tool is found in most home shops, but a special metal bit is required. Use the electric drill to make evenly-spaced holes through a patch and the original metal on the body. Hold the patch in place when making the holes so they match up.
Tinsnips: Use a pair of tinsnips to cut away fully-corroded metal. Surface rust may be sanded out, but heavy rust may have eaten through the body entirely. When this occurs, the only option is to cut away the metal and patch it.
Screen Wire or Patch: Not so much a tool as a patching material, some rust patches are small pieces of sheet metal as opposed to a screen. Either way, this is used to patch the hole once all rust has been removed. The screen or patch should be the same shape as the hole in the car body, but extended 1 to 2 inches on all sides to accommodate the drilled holes and rivets.
Rivet Gun: The rivet gun is the tool used to secure the patch or screen to the car body. Once the holes are drilled and dimpled, rivets are used to clamp the patch to the original metal.
Body Putty: This material is applied over the patch and the seam between it and the car metal. Once it cures, it can be sanded and sculpted to match the car’s original body shape, primed and painted.
Spreader: This tool, usually made from durable plastic, is used to spread the body putty evenly over a patched surface so it can be worked in with greater detail.
Other tools and materials for repairing auto rust include masking tape for use when priming and painting, a hammer to pound out any dents that may have formed, and rust neutralizer, a product used to protect bare metal from oxidation.