Picture of How to Fix Rust Around Your Wheel Wells

This is more of account of how I got rid of/ hidden/ covered up the rust on a 1996 Toyota Camry. The rust was around the wheel wells on both of the rear wheel wells.

This is the first time I have done anything like this. I have never used Bondo, I have removed rust and some minor metal working before but nothing like this.

There was a total of 20 man hours or so working on this.

All the car experts are probably going to say I didn't do so and so right or so and so. You can give me encouraging comments and pointers and I will remember them the next time I do it.

intoon has a good Instructable I have read through I recommend that you do too.

I am entering this into the Metals Contest so please vote for me.
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Step 1: Materials/Tools

Picture of Materials/Tools
You need quite a bit of things for this task:

First of all you need the car you are working on.
A work space is necessary, I did it in a two car garage so I had space on each side of the car. If you did it outside, you would have to make some walls for when you paint that nothing gets on the paint job.

Electric Sander
Dremel(with multiple bits)
A grinder would really help(which I didn't)
Sandpaper(a lot of different types)
Good lighting( a couple different lamps)
Shop Towels
Cleaning agent(i just used water)
Safety Glasses
Gas Masks

For Bondoing:
Bondo(mine came with a little spreader)
Bigger spreader
Place to mix it
Wire Mesh(my Bondo came with a little but I also got some at the same place i got the Bondo)

For Painting:
Gas Masks
Paint to match your Car
Clear Coat

Oh and a nice stool, soft blanket or knee savers are very helpful because I did a lot of sitting on the floor and those really helped.

I switched from Bondo which cracked over time to fiberglass in a can which never cracks and sticks like a mother. Also, prefer to blow the dust outdoors with a big fan open all windows, the dust & fumes will kill. Prefer fresh air to a mask.

etcmn11 months ago

Thanks for the info. Car and especially body work is not part of my skill set but my truck definitely needs this sort of attention before I loose the fenders!

rshivaji1 year ago
Thanks for posting. That's a lot of effort. Will try that this coming spring on my camry
anasdad1 year ago
Great job!
DSPNRG2 years ago
I have a similar Toyota with the same color. The color is the most difficult one to match since it has been fading in the sun since 1997 and the "exact" color match is really the un-faded original mix. Any ideas on how to get a better match to the existing color? I could repaint the whole car, but that would be more than the car is worth.
zipzapper859 (author)  DSPNRG2 years ago
if you could mix the paints, you could add a really small amount of gray, that would make it match better, or after you painted it, leave the tape on it and put a uv light on it over night.
Asacer2 years ago
i think you did a pretty decent job. The most interesting part is that you actually took the courage of learning on the job. Many of us would not have. However, make sure to update, I'll be thrilled to work on my own car in the coming months.
pfred22 years ago
Doing bodywork there is no right and wrong. Only what looks good, and holds up. I've gone through all kinds of trouble, only to have rust come back up, and I've done lousy jobs that have held up. There is no figuring it.
zipzapper859 (author)  pfred22 years ago
Thanks, and that is all true, all for appeal
Some of it is for safety. I knew a guy that took a car to vehicle inspection, and the inspector ripped his pants on a bit of rust, well, then the inspector broke out a book about a foot thick and proceeded to fail that car for everything he could!
zipzapper859 (author)  pfred22 years ago
Wow, that's crazy! that inspector either had a really expensive pair of pants on, or was having a really really bad day.
Phil B2 years ago
Some who view this may wonder why and how a car ever rusts. We have lived in places where rust was a real problem and where very old cars are on the road with no rust. If you live in a snow belt, chances are quite a bit of salt is used to make the roads safe in the winter. Salt spray gets into cracks and recesses. When you actually see signs of rust, it is not just on the surface; but, is eating through from the other side. Many people in those places who want to keep their cars up may use pop rivets and roof flashing that they cover with body putty as you did. Sometimes the structure of the car body is affected by large amounts of rust, so that the driver's seat moves when someone sits in it, or you can see the road while driving. One of the best things in a snow belt is to have a new car treated with a rust preventative process before the car leaves the dealership. People buying a used car in those places usually carry a magnet to see how much body putty has been used on a car.