DIY fix/rust prevention for cracking paint area

Not sure if this forum addresses this kind of thing but I just bought an 05 Caravan and want to protect the places it has chips/scrapes from rut. This area is kind of like where mud dries. The paint and primer are peeled away from the body completely although there does not seem to be a dent or anything there to cause it. Any fairly simple DIY suggestions to stop this from being an eyesore and rust magnet?

I guess there is sanding and sandblasting and touching up but is it possible to do that as a novice without it looking like crap? Maybe a stupid question but is there kind of sealant you can just put over it and other (normal) scrapes so that water doesn’t make it rust?

This looks like a prior repair done badly. I’d take it to a body shop and see what they think. Did you have a pre-purchase inspection?

Just IMHO but thats not from stone chips. It looks like either there is body filler underneath that is cracking, the paint itself is cracking, or the fender is flexing and cracking whatever is over it. It really is body shop time to have it re-done. If it were stone chips, there is a product called Rocker Schultz that is sprayed on before painting and provides a very flexible and hard surface to protect from stone chips. But that’s not what’s going on here. Unless you have spray equipment, it’d cost you more in spray cans and look like crud than just having a shop take care of it. Plus you need to have the underlying cause identified.

You can prep and paint it yourself to prevent rust, but most likely the repair will be pretty noticeable.

On another note, I see that you’re missing the cap for your tire valve. You’ll want to replace that before too much dirt and grime gets in there.

I can see the pink putty underneath. Someone puttied over a damaged or rusted area without getting it down to the bare metal and properly cleaning it.

Once you break this off, and you’ll have to in order to repair it, you’ll be able to see whether rust have formed underneath. If not, if it was a dent repair, you’ll need to grind it to base metal, thoroughly clean it, backfill and sculpt it again, and prime and paint it. If it’s rusted, the process is the same but you may have more work on your hands, perhaps even a hole repair. If you decide to do this yourself, get a book on autobody repair and painting at the local bookstore, read through it, and enjoy the adventure.

Or take it to a pro.

Don’t know how much you want to spend, but at this point if i cared about cosmetics I would see about getting a the fender replaced, I think otherwise you are in for a world of patch jobs, that if you don’t mind doing will get you by. The cracks and chips will get worse if left alone, and bondo or fiberglass I have never seen do that. It was an obvious crummy repair, if mine, and you let it get dirtier to not notice the paint color difference, knock out all the loose garbage, bondo and paint, though I believe the underlying structure gives little hope for a long lasting solution.

I think the same is probably right that there is rust underneath with body filler over it that is now cracking from the rust. A word of caution though, if you grind on rust, you can actually overlay metal on the rust and the rust will just come back again. You can grind but then need to chemically treat the rust and/or sandblast to get it all clean or as suggested, replace the fender which might be cheaper in the long run.