DIY

How to Fix a Rusted Truck Frame

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Trucks can be prone to rust if you reside in snowy or coastal areas. A little spot of rust can spread and cause severe damage to your truck when ignored. Rust normally appears on trucks due to salt from the road during winter season or the salt content of ocean air, which causes oxidation when these come into contact with a truck’s metal parts.

When rust starts to build up on your truck’s parts, it peels away the paint and weakens metal strength. Your truck’s electronic system can also be affected because it has metallic components that are susceptible to rust.

Restoring a Rusty Truck Frame

Act quickly as soon as you start noticing small patches of rust on your truck. There are three (3) types of rust: surface rust, scale rust, and penetrating rust.

  1. Surface Rust – Rust that starts from paint scratches or cracks. This type of rust can be easily fixed by using a grinding wheel or sandpaper. Buff out paint and corrosion until the bright metal appears, then apply coat primer, paint, and clear coat respectively. Buff it again to blend.
  2. Scale Rust – Surface rust can become scale rust when ignored. This type of rust can weaken a truck’s metal strength. Use a wire brush and grinding wheel to get through the rust. Next, use sandpaper to smoothen the surface, then apply coat primer, paint, and lastly, clear coat.
  3. Penetration Rust – When rust is left exposed for a long time, a truck’s metal sheets will become brittle and start to have holes.
Rusty truck panel
Rust buildup happens when uncovered metal areas of your truck come into contact with water, air, and salt compounds.

How to Restore a Rusty Truck Frame

Here’s a general guide on how to properly restore a rusted truck frame if you have one.

STEP 1: Lift your truck using a jack for better access to its frame. Make sure to remove plastic wheel well covers, mud guards, side steps, or anything that can obstruct you from cleaning the area.

STEP 2: Using a drill and wire wheel assortment brush, start getting rid of loose rust. Remember to wear goggles and a mask so you won’t inhale the rust and it doesn’t get in your eyes. For the remaining lumps of rust, remove it using a P80 grit abrasive paper, then smoothen the area using a P400 grit standard.

If there are holes, insert screen wires to serve as foundation, then use body filler.

STEP 3: Wash your truck frame to get rid of remaining rust dust. Use soap and water to clean the affected areas. Let the entire truck frame dry off.

STEP 4: Once dry, apply two (2) layers of coat primer. Wait for the first layer to dry off before applying the second layer. Apply paint then a protective clear coat after. For body filler, sand it down, then apply finishes once it hardens.

Rusted Frame Repair Cost

Repairing a rusty truck frame can be expensive, with costs ranging from $2,000 to $3,000, or even higher depending on the affected area. What makes it expensive is the labor cost as it takes hours to do the restoration process.

Rust Prevention

There are several ways to prevent rust formation on your truck:

For quality replacement truck parts, visit CarParts.com!

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CarParts.com

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In the Garage with CarParts.com is an online blog dedicated to bringing DIYers and devoted car enthusiasts up to date with topical automotive news and lifestyle content. Our writers live and breathe automotive, taking the guess work out of car repairs with how-to content that helps owners get back on the road and keep driving.

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