Can A Rusty Car Be Restored (And What To Consider)

While driving a fancy or vintage car is nice, there’s more to it. For instance, you should prepare to deal with rust on the car.

Rust on a car can sometimes be inevitable, no matter how much you maintain and care for the car.

The truth is rust doesn’t look good on cars, and the level shows how good a car is. Since rust is a problem, can you fix rusty cars?

Quick Answer

On average, a rusty car can be restored depending on the level of rust; that is, if the rust hasn’t affected the car’s structural integrity, you can restore the car and use it for a long period.

However, not all rusty cars can be restored. 

While you may want to keep or buy a car you love when the rust is penetrating, the car may be beyond saving.

Hence, you should consult a professional before attempting to restore your rusty car.

Whether you restore your rusty car depends on the cost, the rust level, and other important factors.

If the rust is so bad, you’re better off with a rust-free new or used car. Do you want to know more about restoring rusty cars? 

Why don’t you read on to find out!

Can A Rusty Car Be Restored?

While you might’ve fantasized about driving the classic or modern rusty car in your backyard after restoring it, it’s not that simple.

Can you even restore the car, and should you? You may enjoy fixing things, but can you restore a rusty car?

Quick Answer

In general, you can restore a rusty car to its old look right before rust damages it, but that requires a lot of time, effort, and money.

As earlier stated, depending on the level of the rust, you may need to cut out damaged body parts and replace them with newer sheets. 

Whether you can restore a rusty car depends on the level of damage. If the rust only affects the body parts, you can replace them.

Plus, if the rust is only on the surface level, you can easily restore the affected part with the repair materials you have at home. 

This type of rusty car is the easiest to restore.

On the other hand, if it’s a car that’s been rusting in a backyard for years and has dilapidating body parts, you should be ready for a lot of work.

Can a rusty car be restored?

Check out some people’s experience restoring extremely rusty cars. They’re quite fascinating.

Peel520 admin

The admin admits that you can restore a rusty car if it’s surface rust.

However, when it penetrates the car’s panels, it’s almost impossible to restore the car.

They further said that the job’s size is a determining factor in determining how much it will cost to restore a rusty car.

For instance, if you were to restore a car with rust that’s one to three inches in diameter, you should prepare to spend about $60 to $150 per one to three inches.

You may need to cut out the rusty panels, make repair panels, and install them on the car. 

If you were to do it yourself, restoring a rusty car will be more costly and time-consuming.

Outsourcing the job only requires you to pay for the service and wait till the car is ready.

Restoration Channel

Restoration channel on YouTube restored a 50-year-old BMW car that was very rusty to a new car.

In the video, they had to remove and replace most of the car’s body parts with new ones. They basically rebuilt the car.

This type of restoration is time-consuming and requires expertise.

If your car’s rust is as bad as this, you would need professional help to restore the car’s look.

It will cost you a pretty huge sum of money to restore this kind of rust, and you should probably consider buying an already restored car or a used car.

Cars Insider

In one of their YouTube videos, Cars Insider showed how possible it is to restore a rusted car by fixing a rusted 1960s Volkswagen Beetle.

They had to strip the car to a bare shell with all parts separated without paint and body fillers to bare metal, then media blast it and use a concealer to seal the metal and protect it from rusting. 

Moreover, they had to highlight the metalwork needed to restore the car and what needed to be purchased.

They then cut out the old rusted sheets and replaced them. Eventually, they used fillers and painted the metal.

After the metal was ready, they then began to reassemble the car. 


A rusty car can be restored, and he showed that by restoring the rusty frame of a Jeep Wrangler.

He could restore it easily without much work or cost because the rust hadn’t eaten too deep.

He basically cleaned the rust and painted the frame in a shiny black gloss.

This proves that you can easily restore small rust in a car, and it doesn’t cost as much time, money, and effort to restore a vehicle that has rusted away for years.

The rust that affected the car’s frame hasn’t gotten to the penetrating level, so it didn’t require much work. 

It cost the repairer $4.83 to get the wire cup and $41.99 to buy eight cans of paint used in painting over the rust.

While restoring rusty cars is possible, you should consider some factors before taking that step. 

They are:

The Car’s Value

Before restoring your rusty car, you need to consider whether the car’s value will be higher if fixed.

If the car’s value won’t make much difference, then there’s no point in restoring the car. 

Instead, you can consider trading the car in for one in a better condition.

That will save you repair costs, and you will get a newer car. 

Repair Costs

Another factor to consider is the car repair cost.

If the cost is high, then it may be overwhelming, and getting a new car may be a better option. 

But of course, the repair costs depend on the level of the rust. You can restore it easily at home if it’s surface or scale level.

Rust Level

Some rust levels can make a car dangerous to drive, and fixing it can barely make a difference.

Rust in the fuel tank, exhaust system, and extended rust in the undercarriage or body panel can be dangerous.

If the rust repairs aren’t cost-effective, then restoring the car will be a waste of time, money, and effort.

With all of these, you can say that while you can restore rusty cars, the process is time-consuming, expensive, and may not be cost-effective.

Depending on the level of rust, you may have to forgo the rusty car and get a new one.


You can restore your rusty car, but whether it will be easy and not cost much depends on the level of the rust.

If the car’s rust is just on the surface level, you can be sure to only spend a small amount of money and not much time on fixing it.

One determining factor that should help you decide whether to restore the rusty car or not is if doing that won’t make the car safer to drive, then it’s not worth it.

Also, if the car’s value won’t increase after a repair, maybe trading the car in is between than restoring.

Key Takeaways:

  • A rusty car can be restored
  • The cost and effort that goes into restoring a rusty car depends on the rust level
  • Trading a rusty car in can sometimes be better than restoring the car
  • The rust level matters in whether you can restore the car
  • Restoring a rusty car can be expensive and time-consuming


Jan-Lucas Ganssauge
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge