How Do I Patch Rusted Out Wheel Wells With Fiberglass Resin?

Written by brenda priddy
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How Do I Patch Rusted Out Wheel Wells With Fiberglass Resin?
You can repair rusted wheel wells with fibreglass resin. (car wheel image by Tammy Mobley from Fotolia.com)

One way to fix rusted holes inside a vehicle's wheel well is to repair the areas with fibreglass resin. Fibreglass is a very strong material that hardens to a finish that appears like metal when painted. The fluidity of fibreglass resin helps it flow seamlessly with the original metal for a nearly invisible patch. This process takes several days to complete to professional quality.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Dust mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Disc sander
  • Air-powered cutting wheel
  • Fibreglass sheets
  • Fibreglass resin
  • Paintbrush
  • Enamel paint
  • Enamel gloss coat

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Sand the wheel wells with a disc sander to remove the rust and to expose any holes in the wheel wells. Wear a dust mask when sanding to protect your lungs from inhaling the dust. You should also wear safety goggles to prevent the rust and debris from getting into your eyes.

  2. 2

    Cut away any rusted areas of the wheel well with the cutting wheel. Make straight cuts so that they are easier to patch. Try to make the holes as small as possible because if you make the holes too large, you will have to patch with metal rather than fibreglass.

  3. 3

    Wear work gloves. Cut the fibreglass sheets to about 1 inch larger than each hole on all sides. If the holes are close together, you can use a larger patch to cover several holes.

  4. 4

    Cover the affected area with the fibreglass resin. Press the fibreglass sheets into the resin with your fingers. Apply enough resin to the top of the sheets to fill in all of the holes. Allow the resin to dry for 12 hours.

  5. 5

    Apply a second layer of fibreglass and resin to the wheel wells. After 12 hours of drying time, apply one final layer of resin over the entire affected area. Allow the resin to dry for 24 hours.

  6. 6

    Sand the resin with the disc sander until it appears seamless with the original metal. Try to keep the resin as smooth as possible so that it does not stick out obviously from the original metal.

  7. 7

    Paint the wheel well your desired colour. Apply at least two coats, and add one final gloss coat. Allow the paint to dry for 24 hours before driving the vehicle.

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