How to remove pitted rust from auto sheet metal

Written by billy ray
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to remove pitted rust from auto sheet metal
Pitted rust can take over an entire area of a vehicle. (Blue old-fashioned rusty ancient car image by Maro...¡ Markovič from

For car enthusiasts, discovering rust on the body of a vehicle can be a traumatic experience. Rust is like a cancerous growth that will expand and worsen over time, eventually covering the whole surface. When the rust is pitted, it is beyond the stage where it can be removed without marring the surface. Remove pitted rust by sanding it as smooth as possible and coating with a rust inhibitor and primer, like a naval jelly type of substance.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Power drill with wire brush attachment
  • Sand paper
  • Clean cloths
  • Naval jelly rust remover
  • Paint brush

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Power brush the rusted areas with the wire brush on the power drill to remove the loose rust and flakes from the sheet metal. Make sure to get as much rust off the surface at this point as possible.

  2. 2

    Sand the area with a coarse grit sand paper using a circular motion. The sand paper can be held in your hand for smaller areas or be attached to a hand sanding block or power sander if necessary. Sand the area down to the bare, shiny metal surface.

  3. 3

    Sand the area again with a fine grit sand paper to remove any surface scratches and to leave the smoothest surface possible. Rub your finger tips over the area to find scratches and remove by going over the area in a circular motion with the sand paper.

  4. 4

    Wipe the area free from dust with a clean cloth. Coat the surface with the naval jelly rust inhibitor. This coating will neutralise any residual rust left and dries into a paintable primer.

Tips and warnings

  • For larger areas, removing the whole section may be advisable since the area will need to be repainted.
  • Sand the primer lightly with fine grit paper before painting.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.