How to Fix a Rusted Truck Frame

The only way to stop rust spreading on your truck’s frame is by keeping the truck enclosed in a dry room, which isn’t practical. Rust build-up will happen whatever you do to stop it. But, learning how to fix a rusted truck frame isn’t that hard. In this guide, we’ll look at some practical ways for doing that.

The Process of Repairing a Rusted Truck Frame

There will be times when the rust growth in a truck is so severe that it’ll need help from a professional. But the professionals aren’t cheap and can cost you $2000 to $3000 depending on the condition of the truck’s frame.

However, if you can manage some time and have the will to put in the hard work of fixing your truck’s frame yourself then rest assured. Fixing it manually is cheap since you’ll be doing all the hard work yourself. As you cover for the labor, you’re saving the payment you’d have to give if it were done by a professional.

With that in mind, let’s talk about the steps you can take to manually repair your truck’s frame.

Step 1 - Lifting The Truck Up and Removing Parts

Since you want to get access to the truck’s frame, your first step is going to be lifting the truck up. Use a jack to lift the truck as high as it’s necessary. As long as there’s enough room under the vehicle for you to move with ease, it should be fine.

Now, you may want to remove the wheels and some parts under the truck’s frame. This will help you get better access to the frame. The goal here is to make sure the frame is completely accessible and no parts are blocking it.

Step 2 - Removing and Washing Rust

You can use a metal brush to remove rust off from the frame. If you like to use an electrical wire brush, it’s nice too since it’ll get the job done quickly. This is a time consuming work so expect to spend some good amount of time now.

Some parts of the rusted frame will be tough. Brushing won’t be enough so you may want to use a small hammer to break down accumulated rust in those areas. You can use a sander machine instead of a hammer, or you can work with sandpaper. You’re free to choose your tools but the method is basically the same.

Now give the frame a water wash. There are good quality rust prevention chemical cleaners you can use to mix with water that you can wash the frame with. A soap or detergent mixed with water will work too. Once washing is done, let it dry completely.

Step 3 - Use a Primer

Once the frame is dry, it’s time to give it primer coats so that it can stay safe from rust growth. Two or three layers of priming is usually enough. Just make sure to give enough primer drying time between each priming session.

After applying primers, you should give the frame a paint coat. It’s a common thing to use a clear coat for this step. Clear coat is similar to a paint except the pigment or the color. It can give the same benefits of using a paint while keeping the color of the frame unchanged.

Some Tips to Prevent Rust Proliferation

Let’s talk about a few ideas that you can follow to protect your truck’s frame from rust build-up.

1. Have The Truck in The Garage When it’s Not in Use

Some people keep their trucks parked outdoors in the winter months. Don’t be like them, keep your truck in the garage. Even if it’s not the winter season, still keep indoors. The more your truck’s metal frame comes into contact with humid cold air, the faster rust formation happens. Keep the truck indoors to keep it safe.

2. Give Regular Rust Checks

The more time you wait between your rust check sessions, the higher the chances of having rust formation becomes. Don’t wait too long to recheck your truck’s frames after each session. The less time you give between each checking and cleaning session, the less issues you’ll have to deal with each cleaning time.

Check for leaks under the frame and use a brush or any tool to remove large rust particles. See if there are any oil or fluid leaks. These leaks can happen anytime and when they do, they speed-up rust growth. You should look for leaks very carefully for this reason.

3. Salt Washing

As you drive your truck in winter, the salt from roads comes into contact with the truck's tires. The tires, in turn, help the salt spread to other parts of the truck. In the winter season this doesn’t cause a big problem since the humidity is low. But in summertime, the citation changes.

Summer causes humidity levels to increase, which means the amount of water in the air is increased. The large portion of water from the air combined with the salt in the truck's body poses a large threat to the truck’s metal frame. So as a safety for this, wash your truck at the end of the winter, before summer comes.

The goal here is to get all the salt off from your truck. Salt helps in rust formation so as long as you keep it away from your truck’s body, you’re mostly safe. You can use a water hose and spray your truck thoroughly and let it dry. It’s enough.

Final Words

You’ve got some ideas on how to fix a rusted truck frame. You see, restoration of a frame isn’t that complicated. If you can maintain a regular truck check-up session and take necessary actions in the right time, you’ll have to deal with hardly a few rust related issues in your truck's whole lifetime. Timeliness is the key here.


I am Samantha, an automobile engineer and POD business owner. I am also a wife of Jason and a mother of three children, two of whom are twins. I am passionate about making a difference in the world and strive to be a role model for my children. I believe that hard work and dedication can lead to success, no matter what your circumstances may be. I have a passion for cars and enjoy working on them in my spare time. I am excited to be able to share my knowledge and experience with you. Stay connected !

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