How Much Does It Cost to Fix Rust on a Car?

Rust is one of the worst afflictions that can happen to a car. Over time, it can eat holes in your car, causing irreparable damage that needs to be fixed before it becomes completely unsalvageable. So, how much does it cost to fix rust on a car?

The cost to repair rust damage varies depending on the extent of the damage and where it is located, but you can expect to pay $500 for common areas such as doors and fenders and $1,500 or more for serious damage such as rot in the frame.

If you have a car with rust, you know how bad it can look. Depending on the extent of the damage, repairing rust can take anywhere from as little as 15 minutes to a few hours. If left untreated, your undercarriage could become severely weakened and even fall apart.

Therefore, you must invest in repairing by removing the rust before it all gets worst.

Things You Should Know About the Cost of Fixing Rust on a Car

The cost of fixing the rust on a car is unpredictable and it varies from car to car, depending on the model, the material, and location of the rust on your car. You might be spending more than your budget once you begin to make findings of the level of the damage. It could be a spot on the car and the rust might have affected some parts of the car. Highlighted below are some key considerations that will determine the cost of fixing the rust on a car.

Things You Should Know About the Cost of Fixing Rust on a Car

Fixing minor rust

The cost of fixing a minor spot or a few inches of rust on a car is relatively cheaper and easier. Between $20 to $150, you can fix minor rust on your car. Also, with some DIY methods, you can fix minor rust on your car. However, if you are not comfortable doing it yourself, you should hire a professional who will do it perfectly.

Fixing median rust

Fixing large rust than minor spots and scratches require extra effort. It could be spots that have covered a certain part of the car. This means there will be an increase in the cost of fixing it. Though a specific amount cannot be given, it will, however, cost you between $150 to $400 to fix median rust.

Major rust

At this stage, the level of rust on the car is very severe and extensive. It could have caused damage that would have extended to the entire panel of the car or beyond 12 inches in diameter. The cost of fixing major rust is relatively higher than others because it could mean you will be replacing a part of the vehicle or welding the panel. Also, fixing rust spots on the hood or door could mean sanding down the entire panel, then repainting it. It will cost you between $500 to $2,500 to fix major rust, depending on the severity of the rust.

Can I Fix Rust Myself?

The cost of hiring a professional to fix rust on your car might be much but you can save money on fixing rust by doing it yourself. This, however, depends on the severity of the rust and its location on the car. It might be impossible for you to fix underneath rust yourself. If you want to fix rust yourself, you will need some equipment, such as sandpaper (40, 60,300, 600, and 1,000 grit), auto rated masking tape, primer and filler, microfiber cloth, tack rag, poly sheeting, touch up paint, auto rated soap, clear coat, protective equipment like respirator mask and hand glove. Read on for a step by step explanation of how you can fix rust yourself.

Can I Fix Rust Myself

  • Mask off the area: You start by using the auto-rated masking tape to demarcate the area of the rust, you can then apply poly sheeting to cover the masked area where you don’t want the paint to reach. Remember to wear your protective equipment before you start.
  • Apply sandpaper: Use 40 grit sandpaper to remove rust until you see the car’s bare panel. You can lightly go beyond the rusted area to achieve a better result. Once you are through with this, you can then use a tack rag to clean the area.
  • Apply filler: You will likely notice some holes that have been caused by rust on the panel. Fill the holes with body filler, wash off the entire area with auto-rated soap, and make use of a neat microfiber cloth to dry the surface.
  • Spray primer and filler: You will first apply the primer thrice at 15 minutes intervals. You then wait for one hour before you apply the primer. Afterward, apply 1,000 grit sandpaper on the surface, wash, and then dry with a microfiber cloth. You will then repeat the process but you will apply 300 grit sandpaper this time to get rid of uneven surface, 600 grit to achieve a smooth surface and 1,000 grit for final smoothing.
  • Spray the base coat: Slowly apply paint on the base coat in even layers. You can do this thrice but allow it to dry for a minimum duration of one hour before you apply it again. Nevertheless, make sure the color of the paint you use matches the color of your car. In a situation where the surface is uneven after applying paint, you can use 1,000 grit sandpaper to smoothen the area, then reapply the paint. If you are satisfied with the result, you can now apply paint to the clear coat. You will also do this thrice and allow each to dry before you apply the next one.


The cost of fixing rust damage could be higher if you allow it to stay on the car for a longer duration. With little and proper maintenance, you might be saving yourself from the cost of fixing the rust on your car.

Evan Cooper

Evan Cooper

Hi, I’m Evan Cooper, the founder and an editor of this site, Doesitrust. I’m a chemical engineer and working in a rust-eliminating paint manufacturing company. Besides this profession, I’m a researcher and blogger.

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