Your truck is a big investment in your life and you would like to protect your truck at any cost. One of the major and common problems with a truck is rust. It occurs as your vehicle starts aging or is overexposed to iron, oxygen, or water. Often if rusted areas are not repaired at the right time it may lead to rust holes. So, today we are going to discuss how to fix rust holes in the truck bed.
Patching small rust holes is not that difficult if you have patience. You just need to prepare your tools, get the required materials and protective equipment before jumping into the task.
How to fix rust holes in the truck bed without welding? Start by sanding off the paint, grind the rust, apply rust primer, mix the body filler paste with the hardener, place a metal mesh behind the rust hole and apply the body filler. Smoothen out the surface with sandpaper, apply primer and then paint.
Fixing rust holes at home is simple if you have the right equipment. If the rust holes are not on the chassis, you can fix the rust using fiberglass or body filler. That said, it does need your patience and needs a lot of work to be done to bring back its original look.
Table of Contents
To repair a rusted part of the truck bed you need to have few tools in your toolbox. You can buy them all from a local hardware store.
- Breathing mask or respirator
- Electric drill with sanding disc attachment
- Protective goggles
- Hammer (Ball-peen works best)
- Paint primer
- Rust-resistant primer – I recommend Rust-Oleum Primer Spray
- Dual action sander (80-150 grit)
- Metal grinder (120 grit sandpaper)
- Rust removing acid – I recommend Rust Buster.
Fix Rust Holes in Your Truck Bed Following These Simple Steps.
- Mark the rusted spots.
- Sand the rust spots to remove it
- Feather the edges of the rusted area.
- Clean the sanded area with detergent and water.
- Leave the cleaned area to dry.
- Clean again with a clean cloth.
- Mask off the rusted area that needs to be painted.
- Prepare the body filler
- Apply the filler behind the rust hole.
- Let the filler dry.
- Sand the surface.
- Wash with water and let it dry.
- Fine sand the surface and clean it.
- Spray heavy coats of primer.
- Sand the primer.
- Wash with water and let it dry.
- Spray the base coat.
- Apply the clear coat.
- Remove the mask and wax the area.
- Prepping Up the Truck Bed: Before you begin repairing your rust you should prep the area by masking off the surrounding area. You can either get some masking tape or fix a few layers of newspaper. To prevent damage to nearby truck parts, make sure to cover up the surrounding area.
- Sand off the Nearby Paint: The job is not just to remove the paint but to get down to the rust. The best way is to use sandpaper of 80 to 150 grit to rub off the paint. Sand off both the front and back of the spot to make sure you have got it down to the bare metal.
- Grind Out the Rust: Now grind away the rust completely, until you reach the bare metal. Even if you break through, don’t worry and you will be filling it with the patching kit. You can also use rust remover to ensure you have removed all rust. However, make sure to wear necessary gear to protect yourself from flying metal sparks and paint dust.
- Apply Rust Primer: Now paint the surrounding of the rust hole with rust primer. It creates a protective coating which seals the metal from further moisture to prevent further damage. You can also use rust converter which will convert the rust into a coating that will protect the metal.
- Mix the Body Filler: Prepare the body filler paste as per the manufacturer’s instruction. If you add too much hardener the paste will harden too quickly. Place the zinc metal mesh or the fiberglass cloth which came with the kit on the rust hole and then apply the body filler to the hole.
- Sand off the dried filler: Smoothen out the dried filler with sandpaper. Start with a 150 grit paper and then finer sandpaper to level the surface with the body. Now apply primer to prevent rust from returning, and brush off the surface to make it smooth using finer sandpaper. Apply a second layer of sandpaper and then smoothen it out again.
- Paint the Truck Bed: After cleaning and drying the surface, begin painting the bed. You will have to do it in a few coatings. Each time you have to apply a thin coat and then dry it out to apply the second coat. After you are done with three coats of paint, the sand of the surface with finer sandpaper of 400 grit, but this time with water.
- Apply a Clear Coat: Finally, apply a clear coat to prevent other layers from damage and give your truck bed a glossy look.
- Clean up the Surface: Now remove the masking tape, clean up the area with a soft towel and wax the spot. However, waxing is optional on how you want your truck bed to look.
Using a Fiberglass Repair Kit to Fix Rust Holes
- Sand-Off the Rust: Sand off the rust until you get the solid body. Use sanding disc to clear off all the rust until you reach the bare metal.
- Apply Rust Primer: Now paint the surrounding area with a rust-resistant primer or rust converter. Apply as per the manufacturer’s instruction.
- Even Out the Edges: Hammer down the rust hole to even out the edges and bring it on the level to the surface.
- Apply Fiberglass Repair Kit: Mix the fiberglass resin with the hardener as per the instruction of the kit. Put a layer of fiberglass mat across the hole. Use a paintbrush to apply the resin to the mat. Then allow the spot to dry as per the instruction. Probably the best fiberglass resin repair kit is from 3M.
- Sand the layer: Now, sand the layer with a 180 grit sandpaper until it is smooth.
- Primer and Paint: Apply a layer of primer on the spot and paint the area with a spray gun.
By now, you should have fixed your rust holes in the truck bed.
How long does rust repair last?
Your rust repair will easily last for 5 to 6 years depending on the weather condition in your area. However, it is advisable to check those repaired rust holes from time to time and apply paint or coat as needed.
How to prevent rust from spreading?
Simply putting paint on the rust holes isn’t going to prevent it from spreading as most paints are porous. To prevent rust from spreading the only dependable solution is to completely remove the rust from the area. You could fill it up with other materials or weld it but the rust as to be removed. However, many find POR-15 to be a reliable solution. Unlike paint, it’s not porous and prevents rust from spreading. You can get 1 Quart of POR-15 gloss black for your job.
Fixing your truck bed rust holes is a pretty simple process but as you can guess it takes some time. It may take up the whole of your weekend. However, if the process seems too complicated and you are unsure if you can pull it off, you should take it to a professional body shop. More importantly, you have to prevent your truck bed from corrosion by installing a layer of spray-on bed liner. It will create an airtight seal between the bed and the liner which is not possible to achieve with other forms of bed liners. Many truck owners today apply spray-on bed liner on the whole truck body for both aesthetics and protection. If you have no plans to replace your existing truck, we suggest you apply spray-on bed liner. It can be a little expensive but you will have your peace of mind.
With a wrench in one hand and a trucker’s hat on my head, I’ve been knee-deep in the world of trucks for over a decade. From tinkering in greasy garages to cruising down open highways, my life has been one big trucking adventure. I’ve hauled, repaired, and revved up more rigs than I can count, and now I’m revving up your truck knowledge with articles that’ll steer you right.