I drive a 1985 VW Golf (diesel), and it's in pretty good condition for being 21 years old. There are three spots on the front left fender that have rust on them. Someone had hit the car and the paint came off, so it became rusty. These spots are not only an eye sore, but they are sure to spread in the salty Nebraska winters.
My goal in fixing these was function, and not so much glamour. The car is kind of a beater, so I wasn't too concerned with making it look perfect. As long as the rust was gone, it would look better, and I wouldn't lose a fender.
Step 1: Assess the Situation/ Remove Wheel
Having never done this, or any other body work on a car, it took me a little longer to figure out what exactly I was going to do. My original plan was to take the entire fender off, but after inspecting it, that would be too much of a hassle and would require me to disassemble a lot of the front of the car.
Instead, I jacked the car up then I pulled the wheel. I unscrewed the plastic thing protecting the wheel well and set it off to the side. That gave me really good access to see up behind the sheet metal on the car. I was originally going to pound out the dent on the upper part of the fender, but space was tight and I couldn't easily do it. Having the wheel well open will help when I'm grinding and painting.