What is a Rust Converter? All You Should Know

What is a rust converter? How do rust converters work? These are common questions amongst folks, as rust seems like a predominant issue. Nature has a way of making things degrade with time, and as such, you may soon start noticing rust on metals.

Nevertheless, rust converters come in handy to tackle such issues and prepare the metal for a better appearance. Have you ever noticed the metal frame of your vehicle parked outside for a long while facing some corrosion?

Not only cars, as exposing many metal tools and objects to harsh elements make them undergo oxidation. In essence, the metal comes in contact with oxygen and water, leading to such deterioration.

By now, you should know that opposite charges exist between iron and oxygen. Basic chemistry reveals the formation of ferric oxide when both elements combine. Thus, the end product is the unattractive and unappealing appearance you find on the metal surface.

If ignored for long, the metal becomes weak and starts crumbling. With rust converters, you can remove such a dirty appearance and make the metal piece look great again.

best rust converter

What are Rust Converters?

Rust converters are an excellent solution that transforms rust into something that seems paintable again. They can also make the rusted surface a sand-able material, and as such, rust converters can work as rust remover and preventers.

Rust occurs when the metal surface gets exposed to moisture, and such corrosion can make the metal piece quite fragile. There are various types of rust, with some appearing relatively easy to fix. Nevertheless, there is tough rust that occurs on metal that may affect the vehicle’s performance.

Nevertheless, there are varying ways of removing rust, as most folks utilize sandpaper and wire brushes. Still, rust removers seem pretty effective. Another known solution available in the market is a rust remover that works well, causing rust to separate from the metal surface.

In the case of rust converters, they work effectively on turning the rust into a stable compound. A rust converter is an effective solution (chemical), which contains two major active ingredients (tannic acid or phosphoric acid) that battles rust no matter how difficult they appear.

They penetrate deep into the visible rust once applied according to the guidelines. Why does rust seem like a huge problem? Well, aside from the unattractive look, the metal may soon start decaying.

Hence, it becomes weak, crumbly, and flaky, which seems like a serious problem for your car and other important metal objects. Thus, you should act fast and restore the appearance and performance of the metal.

Interestingly, there are various rust converters in the market like CRC rust converter, and they work well to get that unappealing rust off even with a single application. Kindly lookout for safe and non-toxic chemicals that would not further degrade the metal.

Again, you can also formulate a homemade rust converter. The best rust converter restores the appearance of cars and metal objects. More importantly, using rust converters helps save time and other resources.

Have you ever imagined the amount of time you would spend using a sandpaper or wire brush to get rid of the rust that covers the entire car surface? That sounds stressful, and you would prefer a better and simpler option, and rust converters would do the job quickly.

Also Read: What is Dielectric Grease [Applications and How to use it]

How Does Rust Converter Work?

Whether there is rust in the engine block or the vehicle’s surface, it doesn’t seem good. Aside from the unattractive appearance, it can inhibit the performance of the car. This issue persists with various other rusted metal objects, and as such, folks search for means of cleaning rusty tools.

Nevertheless, rust converters are effective solutions for most of these rust problems. If you are wondering how rust converters work, it will help to know that the iron oxide forms with the contact of metal and moisture. Thus, the rust converter works on turning the rusty metal surface into a non-rust form.

With such, there would be no spread of the rust, and as such, you can commence the painting of the metal without any worries. What seems like a red, flaky appearance would turn into a dark-colored form that wouldn’t rust further!

Sounds interesting, right? They seem easy to apply and appear less toxic, unlike some other forms of dealing with rusty metals. Few rust converters act as primers, and after the application, you may decide not to paint the metal further.

Of course, you need a different color or there is a need for a uniform color appearance. Some available options in the market come formulated with phosphoric acid, and some others with tannic acid.

Nevertheless, there are a few rust converters that contain both basic elements in them. Phosphoric acid rust converter turns the iron oxide into an iron phosphate inert layer. In contrast, the tannic acid reveals a bluish-black ferric tannate, which seems like a more stable material.

Aside from these basic ingredients, these solutions also contain an organic polymer. You can get a suitable rust converter from Bunnings, as they chemically act on destroying the rust.

Kindly note that rust converters are not rusted removers, as they act in a slightly different manner. Rust remover is an effective solution that you use in soaking rusty objects or coating rust surfaces. Unlike rust removers, rust converters seem recommendable for folks new to chemical removal of rust.

Rust converters are less likely to evaporate, and there would be no need to cover the applied surface with plastic (as seen in the application of rust removers). If you get stuck between the choices considering rust converter vs rust remover, it will help if you think of your needs.

There is a need to prep the application spot a little with rust converters. Interestingly, there is only a little effort needed for preparing the metal surface before its application.

Then, as you apply the rust converter, the ferric oxide would start changing, and when it gets dried, you can now apply a rust converter paint. The rust converter from Screwfix seems like an excellent option that you can also try.  

Note: if you haven’t tried this before, you may need to learn how to use rust converters to ensure you get a perfect result.

rust converter application
Image Credit: amazon.com

How to Use a Rust Converter?

If you’ve been thinking of using rust converters to get rid of rust and repaint those metals, it will help first learn how to go about the whole process. The process may seem slightly complex, even for folks familiar with the use of chemicals for removing rust.

Remember, rust converters do not really “remove the rust” but convert to a stable black coating that inhibits further rusting.  Nevertheless, I would fully explain how to use a rust converter on a car, gardening tools, gates, trailers, and other metal objects.

Below are steps that you should follow:

Preparing the Metal Surface

Before you get started with the application of the rust converter, it would be pretty beneficial to get the metal surface prepared. Such action would make it work effectively; hence, this step seems necessary.

Good quality of surface preparation would, in turn, reveal a high-quality result after the whole process. The goal is to get out the excess rust with a bristle brush and scrub gently to remove the loose or flaky particles instead of getting them sealed in.

Applying the Rust Converter

Here lies the main job of the day, and you must ensure that you’ve gotten the best rust converter for this purpose. To continue with the process, get your roller or brush handy and start applying. If you are unsure of the right applicator you need, remember that rollers work well for larger surfaces, whereas brushes would seem perfect for small surface areas.

Once applied, allow the solution to dry for a while; this often takes up to twenty minutes. Then get another coat of the rust converter applied. This action would help create a more outstanding result.

Kindly note that it may take up to twenty-four hours to cure and even forty-eight hours for oil-based coatings. So, ensure you let the coat stay for a long period to make it last longer and keep the metal away from further rusting.

Cleaning Up

Once done, you have to clean the messy brush and other tools employed in applying the rust converter. Kindly do so safely.

Note: Before you start using the rust converter, you must read the stipulated guidelines from the manufacturer. Again, it would help to spray the chemicals when the temperature appears above 50 degrees F.

Rust Converter Applications

One excellent solution for fixing that rusty appearance on your metal frame is a rust converter. It is pretty recommendable to apply some and convert the rust to a stable form before starting with your paintings.

There are many metal objects or tools that you can use a rust converter on, and they would appear fine again. All rusty steel or iron object would readily accept this solution, and with its deep penetration, you can get rid of the unattractive appearance.

You can apply it on vehicles and trailers, metal gates, railings, tanks, metal sheets, tractors and lawn equipment, cast iron, mower decks, and lots more. Nevertheless, it is worthy of note that rust converters do not work on stainless steel, aluminum, galvanized metal, or even copper objects.

Also read: How to Remove Spray Paint from a Car

What Difference Lies Between a Rust Remover and a Rust Converter?

Many car enthusiasts are keen on knowing which solution seems better, comparing rust converter vs rust remover. The same applies to folks who are eager to improve the appearance of their rusted metal piece.

A few difference exists between both solutions, as they seem to perform almost the same task. For some persons that use the terms interchangeably, it seems like there is no difference between both products.

Nevertheless, there exist some things to learn about each of these solutions. Rust converters are a blend of phosphoric acid or tannic acid or both. The job of this blend is to get rust converted to ferric phosphate or ferric tannate.

Thus, you would notice a black or black-bluish appearance after applying such over the rusty surface as the rust gets converted. If you think of a simpler approach to this problem known as rust, you may want to consider rust converters.

Why is that so? Well, this solution seems pretty easy to handle and apply. More importantly, you only need to perform a few works in preparing the rusty surface before its application. Another good news is that they seem less toxic.

The best use of rust converters is for parts of vehicles or metal gates and railings that you have in mind for painting. So, after converting the rust and maybe applying a rust converter primer, you would go ahead to apply an oil-based coat.

On the other hand, Rust removers appear hazardous and corrosive, and as such, may seem like a daunting task for folks who are new to the use of chemicals for rust removal to try. These solutions have their acid more concentrated, and applying such on surfaces consumes much time.

While using a rust remover, you must take care to prevent the acid from eating through the main metal. In essence, you have to keep good surveillance and ensure that the chemical only acts on the rust.

Once it starts getting to the metal surface, there would be a need to take everything down. You may need to apply multiple treatments for its effect. The best applications of rust removers are on projects that need to resurface a metal, revealing a rust-free result.

It would help if you do so for items you want in their pure metal state and have no painting decision. So, there you have it! Would you rather have the rust converted or use a rust remover? Well, the choice depends on your need.

Rust Converter Pros and Cons

The different methods of dealing with rust on metals come with various advantages and disadvantages. It is pretty important to note these pros and cons to ensure you make the right choices.

Many folks seem happy with the use of chemical solutions for removing rust, as they can get the desired result in no time. Nevertheless, such a corrosive solution may damage the metal surface if one is not careful.

As mentioned above, rust converters do not exactly remove the rust from the metal surface but convert it to a form that seems more stable. That seems fair, right? Still, here are some advantages and disadvantages of using rust converters.


  • Easy to use: Applying rust converters seem pretty easy to apply, as you only need to coat the rusty area using a brush or roller. Some of these products come in a spray bottle, which makes the whole process easier.
  • Preparing the work surface is less work: Before you start applying the rust converter, you may need to remove some of the flaky surfaces, and it seems easy. You only have to do so quickly with a bristle brush.
  • The result seems permanent: It is a good thing that rust converters create a chemical bond, as they turn the rust into a stable form. Thus, the new form does not react with moisture or oxygen, and as such, there are fewer chances of the rust-converted area rusting anytime soon.


  • It appears solely effective in the areas that seem rusty: Since most rust converters act as a rust preventer, it seems like a good option for fixing the rust and preventing it from occurring in the future. Nevertheless, you can only apply this solution to the rusty area, and it wouldn’t work on the galvanized parts of the metal piece.
  • The need to paint the metal surface: Ordinarily, the rust converters leave off a black appearance on the spot applied. If the existing color is black, you may not need to repaint it. But, supposing your car is red and only a part seems rusted, you may need to get red oil-based paint to create a uniform appearance.


Q: What is the best rust converter?

A variety of rust converters are available in the market and products like VHT SP229, Corroseal, and Rust-Oleum. There is a list of other products that seem pretty fine and affordable too, and you can find the best rust converter for the truck frame. Nevertheless, you can find these mentioned products reliable. 

VHT SP229 seems like an amazing option that comes with a simple and easy-to-use design. Using this product, you only have to spray on the rusty spot. Kindly note that the complete line of VHT SP229 comes with excellent interior and exterior automotive dress-up applications. Still, you can also try other suitable products that you find.

Q: Does the rust converter work?

Rust converters seem pretty effective, much more on the rusted areas. In essence, they may seem less effective on the galvanized metal areas. So, kindly focus on applying them on the rusty surface.

It would help if you prep the surface a little before application to help reveal a better result. If there’s a need, apply a second coating after the first has dried. Such action would help keep the rust away from the metal for a long while.

Q: Can you paint over the rust converter?

There may be no need to paint the metal after applying the rust converter, as the rust gets converted into a black or black-bluish color. Still, you may get into some painting if there is a need for a different color. It is recommendable that you consider the use of oil-based paints in such a case.

Such paints seem pretty reliable and resistant to moisture, sunlight, salt spray, and other harsh weather conditions. Kindly note that the rust converter coating may need at least six hours to get dried. If you are considering a second coating, it takes longer; only paint after 48 hours.

Q: Should I use a rust converter or remover?

The issue of using either a rust converter or a rust remover depends solely on your needs. If you are keen on resurfacing a metal piece and revealing its pure state without the need to paint, you may use a rust remover.

Nevertheless, if you want the rust to change form (into a stable non-rust form) and consider painting the metal, you should try the rust converter. Remember, rust converters work on transforming rust into an inert substance that is paintable. On the other hand, rust removers would get the rust stripped from the metal.

Q: Do you wash off the rust converter?

There is no need to wash the rust converter after its application. You can only wipe using a damp cloth after the solution appears to have dried. Such action would get out the excessive rust converter that still lingers on the metal surface.

It prepares the metal for painting, and once you’ve done that, you can start allying the oil-based paint. Kindly note that you can only wipe with a damp cloth when the rust converter is dried and not before then. The only things that need washing are the application tools (the brush and roller).

Q: How long does Rust Check Rust Converter take to dry?

The rust converter does not take long to dry, as it may appear dry in 20 minutes. Nevertheless, it would be best if you let the rust converter sit on for a longer time. Doing so would reveal an outstanding result. You can wait for about 24 hours before you think of doing anything to the metal.

Then, you can also apply a second coating if you wish and still endeavor to let it dry and stay for a while. If there is any need to get the metal surface repainted, I would advise that you wait until after 48 hours.

Q: Does Waxoyl kill rust?

Waxoyl treatment on rusted metal works well in preventing it from spreading further. In essence, it is a protective coat that can keep the metal panels from rusting in the future. It works well for folks seeking a great rust preventer that would stop that ugly appearance from occurring.

Thus, it seems like a pretty good anti-rust coating for your cars, gates, and other metals exposed to harsh environmental conditions. For most car undersealing, experts use underseals alongside various Waxoyl products

Q: What is the best rust remover for metal?

WD-40 is a household name when it comes to talks about removing rust from old metal parts. Thus, it seems like one of the best options available in the market, formulated with industrial strength.

It seems like an ideal match for restoring vehicles, farm equipment, trailers, and rusty tools. Nevertheless, there are a variety of other effective products like Evapo-Rust and Rust Kutter in the market. Such products would take down the rust on the metal piece.

Q: What happens if you paint over rust?

Painting over rust doesn’t seem like the right thing to do, as the rust would continue to spread underneath. You would agree with me that rust itself is an unattractive appearance, with those flaky metals that you see.

Thus, it would be a terrible idea to paint over the rust, making the whole issue worse. The metal starts appearing weak and degrades to the point where it begins to disintegrate. So, it would be best to remove the rust or use a rust converter to make the rust appear paintable.

Final Thoughts

Rust starts to form when the metal has contact with moisture, and when there is no regular maintenance, the issue becomes worse. Soon, the metal starts degrading, and you would notice a flaky appearance. Rust is never a good thing, and its appearance on your car or tools seems unruly.

Nevertheless, you can apply a rust converter to get the issue under control. What is a rust converter? It is a superb solution that converts the rusty metal surface into a non-rust form. This piece holds great details on the use and application of rust converters.

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Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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