Hole in roof rust

How much does it cost to have a hole in the roof of a car fixed? It’s rusted through and is about the size of a quarter. How crucial is it to get fixed? It’s a 19 year old toyota.

Just do it yourself. Grind around the hole and use fiberglass to cover the hole. Then sand and use a rattle can to paint.

Water runs downhill. The higher up the leak, the more damage it can do. You can’t get higher than the roof…on a 19 y/o car, you should be able to “fix” it for $10 and some of your time.

As @Bing said…do it yourself. I wouldn’t be worried about how it looks. If you have a hole on the roof from rust…I can only imagine what the rest of the vehicle looks like.

You want to keep water out of the car because it can damage component electronics. It should cost about 200 dollars for a quick and dirty job without matching the paint. With paint matching about 500 dollars.

If you had rust like that, you might want to have a mechanic put the car up on a lift and look for structural issues that could be dangerous.

Speaking of a rusted hole in the roof. I had an at work friend who liked to target practice in a gravel pit near his hous, rain or shine. When it rained, he would put eear protection on and shoot out the window of his car. One day he showed me the hole in his roof caused by a sudden reaction to a tractor trailer air horn that went off just on the other side of some trees while picking up logs from a forest cutting in the area. He jumped, the gun went off and shot a hole in the roof. We assume this is “legitimate rust” ;=) But I would imagine bullet holes might be easier to fix and harder to explain.

You don’t want this leak. It will make the car smell like a used gym sock very quickly from the leak. Use a small piece of galvanized sheet metal normally sold for home heat ducts. Cut it about 1/4 inch wider than the hole all around. Round the edges.smooth the cut lines with sandpaper. Epoxy it over the hole with waterproof epoxy. Just tape it down with duct tape until dry. Prime and paint with matching paint you can get from the auto parts store. It should give you a 10/10 job. I.e. Looks good from 10 ft away passing at 10 mph. Its 19 y/o, you seen the first hole, how long before you see #2?

On a 19 year old car I’d use a fiberglass patch and a can of matching spray paint to fix the problem. Might cost more than $10; probably more like $25.

well thank you for replies. I think the rest of the car is in great shape. There is no road salt or sand where I live and it’s rarely below freezing so I think the underbody is probably in good shape. I hope. I’d fix it with fiberglass (bondo?) but I have no knowledge or tools, no sander, etc. Maybe you don’t need any?

There’s also something called rustoleum tape which you put over holes, I think. Or maybe that wouldn’t do any good at all. Do you think putting a kind of masking tape over it would work? Or would the rust still be working albeit under the tape?

I’d like to avoid a lot of expense but on the other hand, I’d like to keep the car forever if I can.

If you really want to be cheap, just cover it with a piece of plastic, cut from fast food glasses or something of the sort. epoxy it to the roof and you are water tight and done in 3 minutes flat.

I assume the paint job is shot? Or how did the rust hole start?

Thank you. Right now I have duct tape on it. Would using some epoxy stop the underlying rust or just stop the leak?

At 20 years old I don’t think that doing too much of an elaborate job is worth the time and by the time it rusts that bad you probably will have replaced it.

For less than $20 and no experience you can fix this and need no experience.

Buy a small can of body putty. Mix up a little putty with hardener on a paper plate and place about a tablespoon of the mix onto a piece of aluminum foil about 4 X 4 inches. Work it with something so that it’s like a thick coin of putty…big enough to cover the hole good. Then place it over the hole and smooth it out lightly with your fingers, but avoiding putting any pressure over where the hole is. Work from the center out to feather the edges, and then leave it for an hour. The foil will hold the epoxy and keep it from caving in and dripping into the car until it sets up.
Peal the foil away and avoid touching it for another hour and it will be fine. You can paint over it but it would be more fun to tell everyone that asks that “that is where the metiorite hit my car back in 2009”???
I’ve fixed quite a few holes in things this way and it works great.

I fixed my aluminum boat this way about 15 years ago and it still is drip free.
In that case though, I was able to add aluminum foil on both inside and outside so it is like a big epoxy rivit when it was done.

The rust hole you see is only about 30% of the rust that’s actually there. So any kind bondo/epoxy patch is just going to rust out later. If you don’t get all the rust it just comes back.

To fix this properly the rust has to be cut out which can mean a 4 inch x 4 inch square hole. Then a new piece of sheet metal has to be welded in.

If it were my vehicle, I’d just cover the hole with a piece of stainless steel duct tape.


urethane sealant would do the job, might not be to pretty tho. if you want to keep it forever you might want to take it to a body shop

I wonder how much welding a new piece of metal in would cost. The holes are dime sized now. I plan on having the car at least another few years. Maybe 5 or 10 if it lasts. The rest of the car is great.

Tester, would the stainless steel tape stop the rust underneath? or would it just keep going under the tape?

Yosemite, regarding the putty method, is that “bondo”? So put the thing on foil side up and it will harden over the hole? That sounds like a good idea.

I wonder if I should get this rustoleum rust treater (“Rust Reformer”) which supposedly turns rust harmless. Can be applied right on rust, I think.

Then the bondo on over the hole. Then paint it I guess.

You need to take the headliner out to see how extensive the rust is. A rust treater doesn’t work unless it can be applied directly on the rust.


I had a smaller hole I fixed with metal filler and spray paint. It ain’t pretty, but on a car as old as yours, you probably aren’t looking to spend a lot of money. I’d look into having a piece of metal welded over the hole after it’s been sanded. Then you can sand it, prime it, and paint it. The color might not need to be an exact match, right?

No, the color wouldn’t need to match at all. I’ll get a quote on getting a piece of metal welded over it.

What is “metal filler” though?