Protecting clean metal from rust

November 1, 2008 | By Richard Prince


I am restoring a 1956 Cadillac Series 62 convertible. I have taken classes on doing bodywork though I am not great (but getting better). I am still employed and therefore have limited time to work on the car.

When I sand off a portion of the body with my DA, what is the best way to protect that portion so that humidity won’t cause rust on the panel.


As you realize, the bare steel will develop light surface rust rather quickly if you don’t do something to protect it. The best solution is to clean the steel with wax and grease remover, apply metal prep, and then spray on a couple of coats of epoxy primer.

As always, it is prudent to stick with one manufacturer’s refinishing system to ensure good compatibility between all of the products used at different stages of the repaint.

All of the major manufacturers offer epoxy primers that give excellent rust protection and that can be topped with body filler and other undercoating material, such as a final sealer, if need be. After determining which manufacturer you will use, read their literature and ask your jobber for their recommendations to figure out which specific primer is best.