Rust is unquestionably one of the biggest rivals to your car’s exterior — especially if you own an older car. Because of that, we’ve researched to find you the best rust converters that money can buy. Rust can simply come with time or as an unwanted side effect when damage to a car’s exterior is left untreated. Whenever there’s exposed metal on a vehicle, that metal will eventually rust.
Whether you’re restoring a vintage car or wanting to prevent the spread of rust and corrosion on your current vehicle, a rust converter will save you both time and money. Best of all, using a rust converter is not a difficult process if you acquire one of the best rust converters on the market and know the methods for proper application.
Types Of Rust Converters
Rust converter comes in three forms — liquid, spray, and gel. By a long-shot, liquid rust converter is the most common. Depending on the brand and consistency of the liquid, the application process will vary. Typically, you’ll either paint, rub, submerge, or spray the liquid.
Rust converters also come in spray form in an aerosol can. Overall, an aerosol rust converter is best for smaller projects. Finally, rust converter can come in gel form. Usually, the gel is painted onto the rusted surface. It is important to note that gel rust converters cannot be used in spray guns because of the thickness of the formulas.
Across all types of rust converters, it is common for some of the best rust converts to also include a dual-purpose metal primer. With that, after properly applying the converter/primer combination, you’ll have prepped the surface to paint.
The 10 Best Rust Converters On The Market Today
Here at AutoWise, we’ve scoured the web to find you the best rust converters out there. In addition, we’ve answered the most frequently asked questions surrounding rust converters. It’s important to note that these highlighted items are rust converters and not rust removers.
While there are numerous options, we hope this guide will help you find the product needed for your DIY project. Using the best rust converters and correct application technique, your car will be restored in no time.
5. Jenolite Gel Rust Converter
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Recently, rust converter in a gel-form has become more common. Because of its consistency, a gel rust converter is easy to apply and won’t spread onto surfaces where it is not wanted. The Jenolite Rust Converter comes in multiple sizes — eight ounces, one pint, one quart, and one gallon. We recommend using sandpaper or a wire brush to remove large pieces of rust before applying the gel. Once applied, the color will change from clear to a dark gray color.
When you use this converter, there is no need to follow it up with a primer. This formula is fast-acting, able to convert rust in less than fifteen minutes. Once the metal surface is ready to be painted, use either a water-based or oil-based paint. Unlike most rust converters that require 24 hours of dry time prior to painting, this one only requires three hours.
And while this factual tidbit does not make or break our recommendation of this product, we think it’s pretty fascinating that Jenolite has been used on Big Ben in London and the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Features To Look For To Find The Best Rust Converters
When looking for the best rust converter to fit your project, there are several factors to consider. First, you’ll want to note the drying time. While it is usually recommended to let the converter dry for 24 to 48 hours, some rust converters only require a few hours before you can apply a metal primer or topcoat to the area. Next, consider the ingredients and flammability. Some rust converters are eco-friendly and non-toxic while others use phosphoric acid. Depending on the ingredients and flammability, you will want to take extra precautions throughout the prep, application, and clean-up.
Some rust converters will have added protection and additional metal primer in the formula. Depending on your project, you may or may not want those additions. Along with these factors, you’ll want to consider the ease of application. This includes the items required to apply the converter and the size of the affected area. With that being said, pay attention to the amount of rust converter you purchase. You will want to have enough product to cover the entire corroded area.
Practice Preventative Measures To Avoid Rust
The best way to avoid rust on your vehicle is by doing what you can to prevent and reduce the spread of rust. Of course, that is not always possible due to many circumstances. One way you can prevent rust is to take care of scratches on your car right when you see them. By using car scratch remover for shallower scratches or touching up car paint for deeper scratches, you can prevent any further corrosion and fully remove surface scratches before they turn into anything larger or more serious.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I remove rust with a rust converter?
The application process using the best rust converters will vary depending on the type of rust converter (spray, gel, or liquid) and where you are applying it.
Regardless of the size of the project, you should wear gloves no matter what. Some rust converters use phosphoric acid which is a hazardous substance. Aerosols can also be dangerous if inhaled. With that, you should wear a mask and protective goggles when working with spray.
To use a rust converter, begin by removing loose debris from the affected area. This can be achieved with either a wire brush or varying grit of sandpaper. The prep work will highly depend on the severity and volume of the rust.
Once the area is prepped, apply the rust converter. You may use a paintbrush, a roller, or a sprayer depending on the type of rust converter you are using.
Generally, the converter will take around 24 hours to dry once applied. When the treatment is done, you can usually clean up the area using soap and water. Then, you may continue the restoration by using a metal primer or topcoat. Sometimes, rust converters also act as metal primers, so the primer step is not always needed.
Read the specific directions for use on the rust converter you purchase. Be aware of the ingredients and flammability of the product.
How does rust converter work?
Rust converters have an active ingredient that causes a chemical reaction with the rust. It first reacts with rust to convert it to a darker, more stable material. Then, additional active ingredients in the formula serve as a protectant against future corrosion.
Can I paint over rust converter?
Yes, you can! Because of the chemical reaction that occurs as a result of using a rust converter, you can then paint over the affected area. This conceals the area and further protects the vehicle from any more rust.
What is the difference between a rust converter and a rust remover?
Rust removers will fully remove rust and are much more abrasive. Rust converters, however, actually chemically change the red rust into a substance that can then be easily painted over. Rust converters leave a barrier layer behind that also prevents future corrosion.
Is rust converter non-toxic?
Rust converter is not always non-toxic. Often, it contains phosphoric acid. To be certain you are purchasing a non-toxic rust converter, check the FDC ratings, and see if the rust converter is advertised as being eco-friendly.
Regardless, you should work in a ventilated space, avoiding getting the rust converter anywhere except for the desired area on the car, and wear protective clothing such as gloves, long clothing, protective eyewear, and a mask.
Aside from cars, what else can I use rust converter on?
Rust converters can essentially be used on any metal item affected by rust. For instance, you can use it to convert rust on antiques, farm equipment, and other metal items. With that, be sure to read all of the directions and warnings on the particular rust converter you purchase. And test the converter on a small surface before treating the entire affected area.