March 28, 2020
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Classic Car Restoration: How to Deal with Rust

Author: Administrator
Rust removal is a critical part of classic car restorations for most collectors. Oxidation and discoloration not only tarnish the look of your car - they can be extremely dangerous when left untreated. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to deal with rust, even if you don't have expensive tools at your disposal.

The Need for Rust Removal

The most noticeable downside to rust is its effect on the look of your car. Even the best-built, most beautifully-restored automobile can turn ugly when it's exposed to years of rain, snow, and other harsh conditions. This is especially true for cars that haven't been properly maintained and stored.

Rust can also be a severe safety risk. The frame of your car is metal from front to back, and if you've opted for steel over fiberglass - you'll also need to consider body damage and repair. When the main structural components of your car are rusted, the whole thing can break down while you're driving it. In addition, a rusted framework allows carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes to seep into the cabin.

Sand Blasting

Sand blasting is the most common abrasive method for removing rust. A powerful vacuum sucks in air and uses it to fire tiny sand particles through a high-pressure nozzle. When the sand hits rusty patches on a car, it has an effect similar to sandpaper.

This process is useful because it's far faster than a power-sander or actual paper. It can also help restorers to detect structural weaknesses in their cars. When the sand particles hit weakened metal, they'll often dent or penetrate it. This is a tell-tale sign that a car needs body panel replacements.

Bead Blasting

Another abrasive rust removal technique is bead blasting. Similar to sand blasting, a vacuum and hose are used to fire tiny particles at rusted areas. Instead of sand, this method requires the use of differently-sized glass beads. Most restorers begin with larger beads to remove unwanted materials, and finish with smaller ones to produce a smooth surface.

In addition to rust, bead blasting is excellent for removing unwanted splotches of old paint and primer. Smooth glass beads also tend to produce a cleaner, better-looking finish than jagged grains of sand. Finally, glass is environmentally friendly, and beads can be reused twenty to thirty times.

Soaking Products

For those without access to blasting equipment, various soaking products are also effective at removing rust. These chemicals dissolve oxidized metal without corroding undamaged areas. Unfortunately, the only way to soak a panel is by removing it from your car altogether. This can be problematic when you're dealing with rust on large segments of your body or frame.

Long-Term Maintenance

Once you remove the rust from your classic car, it's imperative that you take care to prevent further damage. First, store your car indoors whenever possible. If you usually drive a different vehicle, keep it on your driveway and reserve your garage for your restorations. Second, keep your car as clean as clean as possible. Even small amounts of dirt and debris can hold water, facilitating the formation of rust. Finally, touch up your paint job when necessary. Paint not only looks nice - it protects the covered surface from the elements.

Help from the Pros

Rust removal can be a tricky process, even for seasoned at-home restorers. Call for professional help now, and learn how one of the country's best classic car restoration shop can help you. Don't let rust ruin your favorite project.


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