How to address rust spots while preserving the original paint

Our turbocharged 1984 VW Rabbit GTI didn’t sport much rust at all, but we still had to fix a few small issues–like one on the rear valance. 

The traditional way to fix rust is to cut out the issue–go at least an inch wide–and then weld in new metal. Then sand, prime and paint. 

That process gets a little tricky when trying to preserve an original paint car. Since our car had minimal issues and its original paint, we used a gentle touch. 

First, we first used a Dremel tool to carefully grind down the rear valance’s rust spot. 

Next, we cleaned the metal and then topped it with Eastwood Rust Encapsulator. While we used a primer-colored version on this repair, this product also comes in clear, which we used for subsequent repairs.

Then we carefully covered the repaired area with High Teck white seam sealer. The factory coated the original seams with a similar product, and we tried to duplicate their look: a finger combined with a putty knife will work fine. From there, we carefully removed the excess Rust Encapsulator with lacquer thinner and touched up the repair using a brush and the proper paint color. 

Unless you looked with a magnifying glass behind the bumper, you would never know this area had been repaired.

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Danny Shields (Forum Supporter)
Danny Shields (Forum Supporter) Dork
1/21/24 11:31 a.m.

Nice, simple, DIY story!

So many cars have little issues like this! When a total repaint or restoration would be out of the question, a few bucks in materials and a little bit of time can work wonders.

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