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I need help with rust on roof

How easy would it be to take care of this rust on my own and how serious is it, there is also small rust bubbles by the moonroof in the front.

The metal under the paint is totally rusted out.

Do you know anybody that knows how to weld?


Not really sure but that looks more like someone poured acid on the roof. Unless you know how to cut the rusted part out and weld a metal piece in and sand and prime and paint and clear coat it is not a simple do it yourself project.
Get an estimate from a body shop first.

What would happen if I didn’t do anything about it, how long before causing problems?

How long before causing problems ? Yesterday ! Rust is like icebergs, you can’t see all of it.

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I’ll contact some body shops but I don’t have a lot of money to spend. Rust converters wont help me here?

I recommend that whenever you take a close-up image of something, that something be placed next to it so there’s a reference as to how big that something is.

For instance, place a section of a ruler, a coin, a beer can, etc…

That way, you have an idea on how extensive the damage is, and how much it might cost.


You make a good point, the spot is roughly the size of a cd.

Nope, rust converters won’t help here.
This type of rust is usually a sign of serious underlying rot. The only real way to correct it is to cut the area out and weld a new piece in, followed by grinding, glazing, sanding, priming, and painting.

I urge you to get a few body shop estimates if you can, but don’t be surprised if you have a hard time accepting a body shop that will accept the work. This type of rot always portends a much bigger problem than is visually evident, and it’ll be very expensive work on a roof. A roof is part of the unibody, and it can’t be replaced like a fender can.

Sorry to have to be the one to give you the bad news, but I do wish you the best with this. I hope I’m wrong.

Good luck with this.

If the rust is that large, and there’s rust showing up in other sections of the roof, start looking for a replacement vehicle.

What year and how many miles on your Escape?


That’s pretty nasty looking and it appears to me anyway that something has been spilled on it at some point.

A DIYer MIGHT make it kind of passable IF it’s taken down to bare metal and assuming there is bare metal there.

Some Bondo, glazing putty, sanding supplies, elbow grease, and a few mixed foo-foo cans of paint might make it tolerable.

As for the moonroof, that might open up another can of worms which may null and void the blotch shown.

That looks like acid damage the the paint. Scrape off the damaged finish and inspect, there may not be any rust yet. If there is light rust or no rust at all, sand, primer and paint.

Winter is coming and a month or two in the slush and it’ll be leaking on your head. I agree it sure looks like acid. Not a DIY job unless you have dealt with rust repair and painting before. Welding a piece in would be best but that means the headliner needs to come out. As a DIY job, if it could all be cleaned up and sandblasted and the cancer cut away. A two part epoxy primer “might” help slow down the return and a fiberglass patch from underneath and fiberglass bondo on top. Then prime and paint. I did that on my windshield channel that had rust holes in it and it still was good five years later when I got rid of it. Can’t do it without the metal etch and epoxy primer though.

If all you wanted was to prevent any rust from spreading further, and didn’t much care what the result looked like, you could remove the paint (by sanding, etc) down to bare metal out to where there was no rust. Then either cut the rusty parts out, or remove as much of the rust as you can by further sanding, wire wheel, etc, followed by a coat of rust converter. Then get a properly sized piece of galvanized steel and attach it to cover the area, attaching where the metal remains 100% good. Best way to attach is to butt-weld. But you could in a pinch do a 24-hour epoxy (not the quick-set kind) and rivet in place. A little bondo, some spray paint from a rattle can, done. Might not pass muster with the experts, but it should keep the rust from continuing and keep the weather out. One downside, won’t be as strong as when the car was new, so a roll-overtype accident where you don’t want to hood to crush, well, it wouldn’t be as good as when new for that.

My dad always fixed rust holes in non-structural areas of his truck with beer cans in this manner. He’s just cut the beer can apart and use that as the sheet metal to cover the hole. He didn’t bother to rivet, he’d just glue it and clamp it, when the glue set he’d follow up with bondo and spray paint. I have to say the result looked pretty good. And not one of those patches of his ever re-appeared.

Sounds like you have a beater, right? The “cut and weld” is the right way to make a pretty, permanent fix, but if you just need to stay dry, there are other ways to fix it.

Sand off the big bubbles so you can see what you’ve got. Do you have nasty rusty metal? Or a big hole? Or a bunch of little holes? Sand off as much rust as you can, use the rust converter and let dry for 24 hours.

If you’ve got pinholes, buy a can of fiberglass filled bondo. Spread over the area, let dry and sand it. On a roof, it will always be a bit lumpy but smooth it down. prime and paint. It won’t be pretty but “beater”, right? If the holes are bigger than a dime, buy a small piece of galvanized steel a the hardware store (the HVAC area) and cut a patch, glue it in place with moisture resistant epoxy. Prime and paint. No holes? A little regular bondo over the lumpy areas, smooth, prime, paint.

Beats leaking into the car.

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Buy an old amber rotating beacon light assembly and mount it over the rough spot.



Hey, I’ve used THAT for temporary patching small holes in my truck’s fenders! … lol . Even better is the metal tape used to seal heating ducts. That’s stuff really sticks, and holds fast even when it gets wet.

You folks are giving me a headache. I once looked at a Mustang that had the quarter panels replaced but the guy used stove bolts on it instead of welding. I passed. I suppose that’s why you can get duct tape in different colors now to match.

Really, I’ve used every rust converter available and none of them are any good. Save your effort. Even Por15 which is the best, still does not stop the rust completely underneath but does provide a ceramic like coating so you don’t notice the rust underneath. Without cutting out the bad part and welding, riveting, gluing, a patch panel, sand blasting and using the two part epoxy primer is a must. If you aren’t going to use the primer, forget it. Then if you use the fiberglass bondo over that, you’ll have a reasonable patch for a DIYer that can look professional. Standard body putty is the worst to use since it will absorb moisture and just make it worse. Grinding on rust can overlay the metal on the rust so it will still be there. Just trying to provide a reasonable way for a DIYer to do a reasonable job but but sure duct tape, stove bolts, whatever . .

Years ago I had a roof rust problem; it was a 10 inch strip that corroded.

The body shop told me the only way to fix that problem was to cut out the offending piece and braze a new strip in place. They managed to do this without burning the headliner and I drove the car, a 1984 Impala for another 4 years.

You could also install an old fashioned vinyl top over the rust.