Lancer Project Gatineau

(Not So) Simple Rust Repairs for Your Car

A car is expensive, and it makes sense to keep it in the best condition you can. While many cars start to show rust at around 5 years or so, there's no need to let it rust out prematurely.

You CAN fix those rust spots before they become unaffordable or impossible to repair.

One of the most common is rust in the rear wheel arches near the bumper cover.

Don't let something minor like this ...

Rust at the rear wheel arch, just starting to show. Easily repairable.

become a disaster like this!

Rust that went untreated for several years, and now extends along the entire wheel arch and into the sill box section. This probably could be repaired, but the labour cost would be high.

or ignore a small chip or paint failure to become this ...

 Rust around the name badge. Click for a discussion.

Click on the pictures for a discussion of the repair.

We'll look at any car, as what matters is the overall condition, not the age. If the rust is too extensive, we'll tell you.

Why does this happen?

The rear wheel arches have a folded seam where the outer panel is connected to the inner wheel well panel. The panel seam is spot welded together, but salty water can still get in between the seam, and rust starts. Once it does start, it spreads quickly.

Many vehicles have a rubber U-channel that fits over the back of the seam that is intended to reduce the amount of water that gets in. These help, but they also trap dirt and salt and so rust pockets form.

What we do:

Will this look like new?

No, it won't be a perfect like-new panel, but it will be close. The aim here is to remove the rust and dramatically improve the appearance, not produce a show car.

Here's some pix of repaired panels.

Subaru LH rear wheel arch. Note the slight bumpiness where the repair was made.

Subaru RH wheel arch, center. 6 cm section on the inner and outer panel replaced.


Subaru RH door mirror. Rust under the mirror had eaten through the paint and into the top of the door without perforation, also rusted one of the mirror mounting bolts. Repair time was about 4 hours, as the mirror assembly had to be removed. The rusted bolt was drilled out and the insert hole rethreaded before reassembly.


How long does this take?

A rear wheel arch repair takes around 6-8 hours of labour. Paint and welding consumables are extra. Any necessary parts, such as new bumper cover clips (these often break due to age) or new trim components are extra.

Rust is almost always more extensive than immediately obvious. If a body section like a rear lower quarter panel requires major reconstruction with multiple section fabrications, the time to do this can increase dramatically. See Example #2.

What does it cost?

All jobs are based on a very affordable hourly rate, and charged for the time spent.


#1: Sunroof Repair, '98 Dodge Neon

#2: Front Windscreen, '00 Toyota Corolla

#3: Deep Scratch, '05 Subaru

#4 Drivers Window Frame, '93 Eagle Summit GTX

#5 Quarter Panels, '93 Ford Taurus  

#6 Remote Starter, '96 Toyota Camry


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