A rust converter is a product that can help to rejuvenate an ailing vehicle. They react chemically with rust to stabilize the surface of your car and transform it into a dark, paintable area.
They’re cheap, easy to use and can save you a fortune.
There are plenty of options to choose from, and getting bogged down in the detail can be a problem. So we’ve done the hard work for you.
After considering many products, in this post we compare what we consider to be the six best options available right now.
***Our Number 1 Pick***
This is quite simply the best selling rust converter of all time, and our Number 1 Pick.
Whether you have an old metallic bench you need to reform, or if you want to remove the rust from your wheels, engine bay or trailer, Corroseal will do the job.
This converter contains a latex metal primer, making it ready to paint on immediately. It will protect your surface from future rust and corrosion whilst stopping the problem dead in its tracks.
Corroseal can be sprayed onto the affected area, though it can also be applied with a brush or roll. The coverage is typically around 200 square feet per gallon when applied at 8-10 mils per coat.
It’s an excellent and safe alternative to sand blasting.
Before painting you should first peel off any flaking rust. This will make the surface smoother and result in a better finish.
Also suitable for marine applications, it’s available in quart, gallon or five gallon bottles.
It’s priced very well, comes with FREE SHIPPING, and averages an impressive 4.4 stars out of 5 from 580 independent reviews.
This rust reformer by Rust-Oleum is simple to use, very affordable, and good value.
In fact, when you consider the amount of value that a rust converter can add to your vehicle, it’s clear that these products represent a very good investment.
Rust-Oleum will instantly convert any rust into a protected and paintable surface. Even if you choose not to paint this new sealed surface right away, you can feel safe in the knowledge that the rust’s progress has been halted and won’t worsen. It will in fact prevent all future rust where applied.
This converter works with no need for sanding. That saves you time and effort, and the potential further damage to your vehicle. It bonds a base coat to the surface and you’ll be good to go as soon as it dries.
Rust-Oleum is smartly packaged and that includes a useful nozzle allowing you to spray at any angle. This means you can very quickly and easily apply it wherever it is needed, even in hard-to-reach areas.
In short, this is a by-the-numbers rust reformer that does precisely what it says on the tin. You’ll notice the rust turn black and you can then get to work.
When we looked at it Rust-Oleum averaged a solid 4.2 stars out of 5 from 95 independent reviews and came with FREE SHIPPING.
***Great For Large Surface Areas***
Rust Converter Ultra, from FDC, offers all the benefits that you’re probably coming to expect from the product category. That means it can halt rust in its tracks, prevent further corrosion, and prime the surface ready for a new coat of paint.
Not only that, but it will protect your surface from the elements in future, meaning that you can drive out in the rain and snow without worrying. This is thanks to the durable protective barrier that it forms.
That blackened rust is actually an entirely new surface called magnetite, which is very durable and won’t easily succumb to future damage.
With this high grade product you won’t need to worry about scraping, sand blasting, or grinding – just apply and paint. Again, you can apply it with a brush or a spray.
This product is a little more expensive than some of the others we’ve looked at so far (although you do get more of it). Presumably this has something to do with the ‘ultra’ claim. So what exactly makes this ‘ultra’?
Well, that’s not entirely clear. Drying time is the usual 20 minutes. So presumably it’s the 500 square feet per gallon coverage that makes this particularly high performing.
That is quite impressive to be fair, so if you have a truck or a fleet of vehicles with rust problems this could be the product for you.
A great option if you need to convert a lot of rust, and absolutely loved by users: it averages 4.4 stars out of 5 from 174 reviews
A smaller bottle that is well suited to smaller jobs.
This rust converter is useful both for its intended purpose and as a primer on its own that you can use to treat a range of surfaces for protection and in order to apply smoother paint jobs.
The converter is very easy to apply though it doesn’t come with a spray – although a brush and a small pot will do the trick. Like other products it removes the need for sandblasting or otherwise prepping the surface first.
It is also a product that has been tested for environmental impact and has no negatives in this regard.
It can also, once again, be used on a wide range of items – vehicles, tools, containers and more. It works with a range of metals (as do the others) from iron, to steel, and so on.
A very popular choice that performs well and currently averages an incredible 4.9 stars out of 5 from 55 independent reviews.
If you’re a bit of an eco warrior and don’t want to spend too much, this product would be a good choice for you.
This is a rust converter that claims to provide its effects using an organic and ‘non-toxic’ process that is safe for the environment.
Seeing as the other products aren’t particularly bad for the environment and this is actually a completely ‘natural’ chemical reaction, we don’t see this as a huge advantage. Still, it is always nice to know that this has been considered, and seeing that the price is no higher, it is a good option.
The converter also has excellent reviews from customers on Amazon, many of whom found that it helps to provide their vehicles and other metallic items with lasting protection. This is despite the fact that some of them didn’t paint over the coating subsequently – on its own it is sufficient to prevent further rust and to protect your car.
One or two reviewers do complain that the product doesn’t last indefinitely. The bottle is also on the smaller size, which means that it is best suited to smaller rust conversion jobs.
It’s cheap, eco-friendly, easy to use and does a good job on small areas. What’s not to like?
***Cheap And Cheerful***
Despite the humorous name, Krud Kutter claims to be a seriously effective product for converting rust into a paintable surface.
It converts rusted metal into a surface that rejects future rust – converting it into iron Phosphate.
It will treat around 600 square foot per gallon.
It will also increase paint adhesion, resulting in some excellent capabilities when renovating older vehicles.
Notice however that this converts to iron phosphate and not the previously mentioned magnetite. That means that it is not a ‘true’ rust converter in the strictest sense of the word. This can leave a somewhat greasy finish and won’t be suitable for all applications and can occasionally appear discolored.
While this product may do the job, it is a little inferior to others on this list and not quite as high grade. Still it’s cost effective, and plenty of users have put it to good use.
If you have an old, tired-looking vehicle, then there is yet hope. A rust converter can let you fix the appearance of your car’s bodywork, and also works in a wide range of other scenarios.
After reviewing over 25 products we settled on the six above as the best available on the market right now.
Whereas all of them will do a good job, our top recommendation is Corroseal. It outperforms the competition, is very easy to use, and represents great value for money.
It’s perfect for jobs of all sizes – small and medium jobs in particular. If you have a big job on your hands (a fleet of cars or a few trucks to work on) it’s also available in gallon and five gallon options, so there’s really no need to look anywhere else.
There are plenty of questions that crop up when considering how to stop rust on a car. What is rust? Can I paint over rust? Should I use an inhibitor or a neutralizer? Rust converter vs rust remover? And so on.
Queries like these arise all the time, so we’ve set out below some answers to the most frequently asked questions by those who have a rusty car.
Q – What Is Rust?
A – Rust is the reddish brown layer that can be found coating metal. Strictly speaking rust is known as iron oxide. It is caused by oxidization which occurs when iron reacts with water and oxygen. Iron and its alloys (including steel) are relatively quick to react with oxygen and so when they are left in wet conditions for a prolonged period of time, without protection, the onset of rust is inevitable.
Q – What Problems Can It Result In?
A – Rust is corrosive, so it can eat away at the underlying metal, compromising its strength and integrity. If that is allowed to continue performance can be compromised, and if dealing with a key component, safety too. It also causes metal to become brittle, making it less durable and therefore less safe. So both the lifespan and performance of the component in question can be effected.
Q – How Does Rust Converter Work?
A – Essentially, rust converters are water based primers that include tannic acid and organic polymers. They react chemically with rust in order to stabilize the surface and transform it into a dark colored chemical barrier and a paintable surface. Many people refer to it as a rust stop paint, but its actually the product that stops the rust. The painting part comes next (see the following FAQ!)
The obvious application for car owners, is to use one to rescue vehicles with rusting bodies. This way, you can paint over rust and stop it in its tracks before restoring the original aesthetics of your car, bike, van, or any other vehicle.
They’re not just limited to cars however. You can use them to remove rust from tools, get rid of rust from your garden furniture, or use them as a form of rust treatment on marine and other mechanical parts.
Q – Can You Paint Over Rust Converter?
A – Yes, you can. You don’t have to though. If you just want to stop rust on a car then can simply apply the product and leave it (most come up black so if you have small rust spots on your car and its a dark vehicle you might be fine). However most people use a rust converter primer as the first step in bringing their vehicle back to life. They let the primer convert the rust, creating a smooth rust-free surface over which they can then paint to make the car look great again.
Check out the picture above from Corroseal which shows what metal looks like after being treated with their rust inhibitor primer, before being painted over:
Q – How Do You Use Rust Converter?
A – Here’s a handy clip from Gemplers (one of the products reviewed above) showing you exactly how:
So, in short:
- Grab some gloves and protective eye wear;
- Use a wire brush to remove ant loose debris;
- Wipe the metal down;
- If using a painting brush tip a small amount of the product into a cup;
- Apply a coat of the primer with even strokes;
- Leave for twenty to sixty minutes in an aerated environment;
- Apply a further coat after the first has dried a purple hazy color;
- Leave this to cure for 48 hours in which time it should turn black; and
- Apply a coat of oil based paint thereafter.
Q – Does Rust Converter Really Work?
A – You’ve seen for yourself the pictures from Corroseal and the video from Gemplers. Although these are fairly compelling evidence that it does work, we’d recommend that you read the rust converter reviews associated with a few of the products on our list by clicking the “CHECK PRICE” box. If you follow any of these links you’ll be lead to an individual page for each product with further details including a section full of reviews from independent people just like you who have used rust converter paint successfully.
The quality scores for each product really speak for themselves. In the case of Corroseal it’s received nearly 600 reviews whilst maintaining an incredibly high feedback score. So in answer to this question we’d have to say that if you follow the instructions correctly, these products will work as an effective form of car rust treatment.
Q – So What Is Rust Inhibitor?
A – Rust inhibitor means different things to different people, but to us it is more of a water based product that is used as for anti-corrosion treatments on a short term basis (i.e. when larger works are planned to the part or its surroundings) to slow down the corrosion rate before a second, longer-term treatment is undertaken.
Q – Rust Converter Vs Rust Remover – What’s the difference?
A – Good question. A converter converts rust to an inert compound which blocks out moisture to prevent future rusting of the item in question. A rust remover on the other hand is used simply to remove surface rust, however it leaves behind the bare metal. The result, with a simple remover, is that the rusting process is not stopped as the metal is not sealed from moisture, meaning that further oxidization can take place, resulting once again in a rusty car.
There are further differences in how they are each applied. As we’ve seen with the converters, they are usually painted or sprayed on to the metal surface, whereas rust removers work by having the rusting part being dipped into them.
If you pressed us to choose one over the other we’d have to say that it depends upon the circumstances as to which preferable, however if the long term aim is to prevent rust we’d recommend converter over rust remover for cars.
Q – Rust Converter Vs Rust Reformer – What’s The Difference?
A – Another good question, but this time there’s a much simpler answer: there is no difference. The words are interchangeable. Rust Reformer is just another way of describing any of the products on our list. Think about it this way: the product is being used to reform the rust, to turn it into a sealed layer that protects the underlying metal from further corrosion and rusting. If the product bonds with rusty metal reforming it, or converting it into a non-rusting surface it’s a rust reformer.
Hopefully our reviews and the FAQ section above have helped to explain how to stop rust on a car by using the products on our list. It really is pretty easy, and given the long term damage that this could prevent, it could also save you a fortune in repair costs.
Have you used any of these products? If so how did you find them? Did they work, or would you suggest a different one that we haven’t included?
Let us know below. We’d love to hear from you.
For advice on how to check for rust try this handy article on Autotrader.