How to repair a small rust spot myself

I have a small rust spot, about a 1 1/2 inches across above the left rear wheel on my 2001 Subaru Forrester Can I fix this myself? I need to smooth out and “fill in” the rusty part and the paint surrounding it. I have the Subaru touch up paint from the dealer.

follow these instructions…or others on web…

Did this start from a scratch (pretty easy to fix) or is it bubbling up from below (harder to fix if you want it to stay away)?

If it doesn’t need to look good, I have a solution that works for me. At Walmart in the automotive section, they have a product called “Rust Converter.” Basically, it converts rust into a primer coat. Scrape off as much rust as you can with your fingernail, lightly dab a little rust converter, and let it dry before you add the touch-up paint. You might consider a second coat of the rust converter before you paint. When you add the touch-up paint, carefully dab the brush on the spot, being careful not to use too much, and don’t expect it to look decent on the first coat. Let each coat dry for 30 minutes (or longer, depending on the directions on the paint container) before you apply the next coat. It won’t be perfect, but the metal will be protected, and it won’t stand out much if you do it right.

I think I would go along with Whitey on this one if it is just a small spot. I’ve tried about every rust converter product out there though and don’t be surpised when the rust comes back. Two part epoxy primer seems to be the only stuff that slows it down. The best way would be to sand blast all of the rust out of there and then acid wash it, then prime and paint, but for just a small spot, go for it.

That’s never been an issue for me, but I live in Florida. I imagine in the Rust Belt, something like this might not work too well, but here in the south, I have never seen the rust come back.

If you do this yourself, it’s very likely that what you do will be pretty noticeable. The color won’t be right, the texture won’t be right, and the gloss won’t be right. If that doesn’t bother you, then go ahead. The rust will probably come back eventually, but at least you’ll slow it down.

On Modern (Clear Coat) Cars There Is A Reason Why Professional Auto Body Shops Paint Entire “Panels” and Blend The Paint Into Adjacent Panels And You Just Described It.

Insurance companies, as frugal as they are, will even pay hundreds of dollars more than it would cost to touch up a small nick or small repaired dent for this reason. It’s the only way to do the job right and have it not look like heck.

If one could, " . . . repair a small rust spot myself," that would be great, but usually one can just try and do a little cover-up and change the rust spot to a different color.

You are sometimes more likely to get away with a decent touch-up if it’s down low, not at or close to eye level.

Try it. I doubt it will look too much worse than the rust and it will probably make you feel better. Try and keep the spot small. Be careful. Don’t enlarge it.


Here in the North East…ANY small rust can turn HUGE in just a few weeks/months. It’s best to take of them when they are small before they get too big.

Fixing a small rust spot isn’t hard to do…making it look right is very difficult to do. That’s why insurance companies pay to complete panels repainted as opposed to just the small ding the bodyman repaired. It’s almost IMPOSSIBLE to just paint a small area and make it look right.

I’ve repaired many small rust spots over the years…But not too many in the past 20 years. Every now and then I’ve gotten stone chips that started to rust. If NOT taken care of quickly they spread pretty fast.

When repairing a rust spot…you’ll need to sand a area about twice the size of the rust spot to be sure you get ALL the rust. Whitey pointed out a product that chemically converts the rust. I’ve used this…but only AFTER I’ve sanded all the rust off. Then I put that stuff on. Then I may have to bondo or just prime…then paint. It’ll look fine at 20’ away or farther.