How to fix rust on a jeep wrangler?

How to fix Surface and Scale Rust on Jeep Wrangler?

Rust occurs in a lot of places made of metallic materials and it is not surprising when it comes to a vehicle, which is entirely made of metal. So, if you are wondering about the jeep wrangler, do not worry because there are a lot of remedies that can be done to fix surface and scale rust on Jeep Wrangler.

What is rust? 

Rust is a brown iron oxide coating that occurs on metallic materials, mostly iron or steel, and occurs mostly when such parts in a wrangler are exposed to moisture.

Though not all parts can be paint-coated straight from the factory and they always come into constant contact with moisture thus leading to rust.

Some parts do rust even though they are paint-coated due to constant exposure to moisture. The moisture will weaken the paint and it will eventually come off thus exposing the metal. Scrapping the paint intentionally or non-intentionally will also expose the metal. 

Where does rust occur mostly in a jeep wrangler?

Rust in jeep wranglers can occur in a lot of places depending on how you take care of your wrangler and how you drive it especially if you drive your jeep off-road or in wet weather conditions.

When driving off-road and in wet weather conditions your jeep is exposed to moisture, especially the under part. Most components located underneath your wrangler are not protected from rust.

When driving in dry off-road conditions, there is nothing much to worry about but when driving in muddy or swampy conditions, the moisture comes into contact with the underneath components.  

The same also happens in wet conditions, especially in freezing conditions. When water comes into contact with any part that is not coated and freezes it enhances rapid rusting. That is why it is recommended to park your wrangler in an enclosed space in winter weather conditions.  

fix surface and scale rust on jeep wrangler

Moisture can also get to parts that are enclosed or covered by other parts such as door hinges and underneath the trunk carpet. If you have something wet in your wrangler it ends up getting spilled on non-coated metallic parts, they will also end up rusting. 

Which rust proofing methods can you use on your jeep wrangler?

Rust prevention is two-way, prevention after rust had occurred and removed and prevention before rusting. 

What to do after rust has occurred 

Rust should be removed on the part that is affected using a brush. Rust can occur on a specific surface. This type of rust is known as surface rust and is the easiest to remove.

This mostly occurs on body panels that get paint scrape thus exposing the metal that was covered by the paint. when not removed immediately, the rust will eat into the metal and will eventually leave an opening on the affected surface which makes it even harder to repair.

Sometimes when the damage rust exceeds a level to which it cannot be repaired, you’ll have to replace the whole part that the rust is eating into. There are three levels to surface rust 

  • Surface Rust
  • Scale Rust
  • Penetrating Rust

Surface rust on jeep wrangler

Things you need to remove surface rust

  • WD40 rust remover
  • Painter’s tape
  • Cans of paint to your liking 
  • Several pieces or one large enough piece of clean cloth
  • Wax removing soap

Steps to remove Surface rust in jeep Wrangler

  • Clean the rusted area using the wax removing soap and a piece of cloth. 
  • If the rust is not thick, cover the area around the rust with painter’s tape and make sure you cover it wide enough. 
  • Spray the rusted area with WD40 which is used to remove thin patches of rust. Spray in two or three intervals to weaken the rust and wipe it off using a clean soft cloth.  
  • If there is still there is the presence of rust spray more WD40 while wiping until there is no brown spot. When you leave rust on that spot it will end up oxidizing more and will spread even when coated. 
  • After there all the rust has been removed, dry the area with a dry clean cloth.  
  • After it has dried completely spray the surface with primer then several coatings of paint and ensure it looks like the surrounding areas, you can spray any other paint just ensure that it fully covers the area that was affected by rust. 
  • Do not wax the freshly painted spot for at least 3 weeks.

Scale rust on jeep wrangler

This is rust that eats into the metal and at times creates a shallow depression on the metal. This occurs as a result of leaving surface rust unremoved for a while.  

How to fix rust on a jeep wrangler?

Things you need to remove scale rust

  • Sandpaper in varying grits in ascending order. i.e., 180-grit, 320-grit, and 600-grit, you can choose any grit level as long as you have the sandpapers in ascending grit levels
  • Painter’s tape
  • Grinder with a 2″ or 3″ disc
  • Clean pieces of cloth
  • Paint
  • Primer
  • Body filler (only use if the rust has created a shallow depression on the surface)
  • Wax removing soap

Steps to remove Scale rust in jeep Wrangler

  • Clean the rusted area using a clean piece of cloth and the wax removing soap.
  • Tape the area surrounding the rusted part. 
  • Grind the area using the grinder at a right angle to remove the rust. 
  • Using aggressive sandpaper remove the rust that will remain and move up to the less aggressive grit. Aggressive sandpaper has a low number grit level and less aggressive sandpaper has a high numbered grit level. 
  • After all the rust is out clean the area using the wax removing soap and let it dry. 
  • If there is any depression left after removing the rust, use the body filler and scrape the filler until it has completely blended with the panel. 
  • Sand the area with less aggressive sandpaper to remove bumps.
  • After the area has been smoothed out spray with primer to prep it for painting.
  • After the primer has dried, spray the paint, you can use other colors different from your wrangler’s original color provided that you spray the area.
  • Do not wax the freshly painted area for at least three weeks.

Penetrating rust on jeep wrangler

This is rust that eats deeply into the affected area. Since this cannot be filled let even be cleaned, it is recommended to replace the whole panel with an aftermarket one.

If the area affected is small, you can cut it and welding a patch on it. This is not recommended as there might be other patches of rust that will eventually spread and cause damage and you’ll have to incur more costs in repairing or replacing the panel. 

How to remove rust underneath your wrangler?

Rust occurring underneath your wrangler is inevitable. Rust in most underneath components does not eat into the metals as much as most underneath parts are made of stronger metals as compared to body panels and other surfaces prone to rust on your wrangler.  

If rusting does occur on underneath parts and you wish to remove it then you have to disassemble whatever component has rust, sand, and coat it.  

Rust prevention before the occurrence  

How to fix rust on a jeep wrangler?

This is protecting areas that are prone to rust and this is done using the following methods 

  • Installing an electric module on your wrangler 

An electric module is a rust protection system that is installed on your wrangler and runs an electric current through the wrangler’s metal parts.

The current flows through the car’s metallic components preventing the metallic parts from reacting with oxygen. Even if there is the presence of moisture or salts, rust cannot form without the presence of oxygen of which the electronic module deprives.

To have an electronic module installed on your wrangler, you need to get it professionally installed unless you have experience in installing one. Electronic modules can be expensive but they offer good protection against rust. 

  • Undercoating 

This is applying or spraying rust protective substances such as tar, solvent-based spray, or solvent-free spray-on components underneath your wrangler.

Such substances harden after spraying thus protect against moisture, oxygen, and salts which are the main rust catalysts. 

  • Painting 

If you notice any scrapped metallic component on your wrangler that was previously painted, you need to paint it before rust starts forming on that part. 

  • Proper maintenance 

How you maintain your car also determines a lot. Clean your wrangler thoroughly especially after off-roading or when you’re driving in winter weather conditions.

Make sure to get the tighter spots such as hinges and in between panels as this is where salts tend to stick. And also, regularly checking for rust in common spots to prevent it from spreading to prevent more damage.  


Rust can cause severe damage when not attended to immediately after the occurrence. When it gets worse it becomes even more costly to fix and when you don’t fix it compromises the safety of the driver and passengers and also other road users.

When fixing rust spots make sure there is no rust left behind as it can regenerate and spread even underneath the paint and primer coating. Rust prevention before occurrence is the best method you can use to protect your wrangler against rust.

It might be expensive depending on the method you’ll choose to use but it saves you more as rust prevention before occurrence is cheaper than rust prevention after the occurrence.