How to Rustproof Your Vehicle

Tuesday, 28 January 2020  |  Admin

How to Rustproof Your Vehicle

There is a large selection of products and services within the UK to either help you DIY Rust Proof your vehicle, or have it done for you. Confusion comes from almost every vendor claiming they are the best, promoting themselves as the "Best Chassis Paint" specialist, or a plethora of other sales angles. In an ideal world every rustproofing job would be back to individual panels, the vehicle being fully dismantled, and a nut and bolt restoration. In practice some of these jobs can be house deposit money. So we Compromise- But how much are you willing to compromise?

UK Undersealing services

Services in the UK vary wildly. Many sellers of the services do not actually know the products beyond basic training, some don't clean vehicles prior to painting, and for others they won't start on your vehicle without a full body stripdown and sand blasting- so choose someone that is going to do the job you want, or that they know enough to show you how it should be done. As a general rule you really do get what you pay for. As a very rough guide here are your price points for UK Rustproofing on a standard sized car. Businesses doing this "should" have premises, insurance, equipment, staff costs etc etc, so a £500 treatment needs to cover all of that, product, preparation materials, fuel, electric etc and that doesn't give you many hours with the vehicle before you either make a loss, or have to cut corners.

Under £200. clear/ blacking service, usually not steam cleaned, often lacking insurance

Under £300. Cold washed and sprayed black, no masking, needle gunning, stripe coating, stripdown for mating faces. This price area does get you into the bottom end of "effective" treatments. This would tend to be treatments where inner arches and some basic parts are removed, and a clear protective coating applied.

Under £400. low overheads businesses start to fucntion in this price range for the potential to steam clean, a bit of sanding, and a basic/ budget product to be applied but its far from thorough unless they are making a loss. Don't expect much, but some out there do start to earn a reputation at this point.

Under £600. This is the most popular price point, where ALOT is usually promised. some treatments in this price range will claim 10 year warranties, big brand names, and more. Check reviews, find out what they do, and request to see work done, not just "before and after" photographs, because they do not tell you what you actually got for your money. Ask what they do if it doesnt work, how do they deal with it, do they check it in fututre to see for you etc etc?

Under £1000. Moving into the area of suspension parts being removed, paying for qualified staff to be doing jobs with the right equipment, insurance should the worst happen, big name brands, needle guns, stripe coating, options for dropping fuel tanks, inspections and more. As the budget rises it increases hours available for the job, attention to detail and more. This price point is still low on the end of having full parts stripped down, masking beyond just the body etc.

Under £2000. At this point Undersealing centres have freedom to offer more services such as dropping fuel tanks, sand blasting of parts, taking more time for preparation which is the biggest problem with rustproofing. You will see more thorough jobs that last longer, better warranties/ support if things are not up to standard, and other services being offered such as sound proofing, welding, modification etc.

Over £3000 you are into custom work, full underbody drop, possibly suspension refurb's, parts refurbishment, customisation, colour coding, specialist paints and more. A little low for chassis drops, and approaching replacement chassis money being around 4.5>9K with other refurbishing

DIY Rust Proofing

Before you decide you are going to do this yourself, there are several things to consider before you even get to the details such as the actual process of how to rustproof. Have a read of this guide - How to choose a chassis paint. Its not as simple as using the same paint your mate did, it needs to match your needs, budget, prep, what facilities you have etc etc.

So- you have now decided your going to do the job yourself. where do you start?.. Right here>

How to prepare and paint your chassis / Underbody

  1. Rust Proofing Guide Step One- CLEANING. Having chosen your products and obviously read ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS (yeah right) you need to clean it. Don't worry about stripdown yet, get the thing clean, and then assess first.
  2. Rust Proofing Guide Step Two- STRIPDOWN. Now you can actually see the underside and the worst of the muck is removed its time to get to work. We would typically at this point pull out the little impact gun, and get anything big and easy to remove off. Such as inner arch liners, heat shields, underbody trays, basically ANYTHING that blocks your access to the problem areas. If your doing a "proper" job, this will extend to almost anything that bolts in underneath, so fuel tanks, shocxks, springs, exhausts, possibly propshaft's, bumnp stops, bumpers, sideskirts... thisd work alone can take over a day- so much for that same day service..
  3. Rust Proofing Guide Step Three- CLEANING (yes again!). Some will only clean once, but its always good to clean down before you strip the vehicle, so its easier and you don't miss / damage stuff, and then once you have actually removed all the bits you want to.
  4. Rust Proofing Guide Step Four- INSPECTION- This is the first time you will have a clear view of what the problems are. Decide at this point the standard you want, and even when it becomes difficult later, stick to it. There's no point having all the easy to get to bits done perfectly, for you to cut corners on things like body mounts, or rusted bolts you dont "really" want to remove. get cracking, and don't give up. make a list of all the problem areas. Use access abrasives, hand sand blasters, angle sanders, anything you can to help you get everything to one standard.
  5. Rust Proofing Guide Step Five- PREPARATION- This is HARDEST part of the job. The more time and tools you have the better a job you will do (unless you are totally clueless, in which case get someone to rustproof the vehicle for you). The word "preparation" varies from person to person. Some think a wire brush is epic, others feel its excessive. If you have rust a needle gun, angle sander with a variety of attachments, angle grinder, and PPE is your starting point for a good job, anything less, and expect to come back to it later. If you can weld, or have it done, get yourself a spotweld drill, and remove brackets and fixtures underneath that have rust around the spotwelds. many brackets are very easy to remove and allow you to sand the metal between. once done, paint the brackets lightly in a weld through primer, and get them welded back on. Be careful of whats on the otehr side of the panle when drilling / welding. you want to bare metal around all edges, holes, existing rust- chase it as far as you ned to. Corrosion tends to travel well underneath seam sealer, powdercooat, where metal meets metal, and where clips and fittings are. Get rid of it, or at least expose it for treatment.
  6. Rust Proofing Guide Step Six- MASKING- Painting your flexible brake lines, oil coolers, radiator, engine, gearbox, and outside are not in the "good job" category. You should spend several hours with masking tape, kitchen foil, paper sheets, and even some zip ties to protect CV boots, UJ's, go round with good light, and ensure you can't gety paint anywhere but where you want it.
  7. Rust Proofing Guide Step Seven- STRIPE COATING- This is the easiest, and most satisfying bit. you have worked hard getting into all those angles, chasing out the rust where needed, and now your just goign to spray it? WRONG. You have come this far, so now is not the time to cut corners. Stripe coat the entire area to be painted first. Once thats done, allow the stripe coat to be touch dry, and THEN you can unleash the second best part of the whole job- painting it.
  8. Rust Proofing Guide Step Eight- PAINTING- spray it, brush it, roller it, get the paint on, and follow the instructions! your almost there. Usually best to buy a full chassis paint kit
  9. Rust Proofing Guide Step Nine- ASSEMBLY- This is where you can really make a difference. Paint the plastics, service parts whilst you have easy access, repalce broken clips, and upgrade old parts where it benefits you.
  10. Rust Proofing Guide Step Ten - SATISFACTION- admire your work.

Once you have completed the work it is advised to periodically inspect it. No job is "perfect" and you may well of missed something. The stripe caoting step and the preparation of edges etc really helps here.

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