Your truck’s bed is the functional gear hauler you’ve dreamed of – whisking gear, lumber, dirt bikes, mulch and gravel from point A to B. It’s only a matter of time until your truck’s bed begins to show signs of wear. No big deal, right? While those dings and dents that adorns your truck’s bed from a life well lived might add character, it’s only a matter of time until it begins to rust.
A little rust isn’t a big deal. But once it starts to spread (it always does) it becomes a bigger problem. Whether you’ve got a small rust spot, or the iron worm has lived a long life in your bed, LINE-X can help.
Keep reading to learn how to repair a rusty truck bed for good!
Like most things in life, there are different methods to do it. This DIY method to remove rust from your truck bed assumes you don’t have special tools or an unlimited budget. (But wouldn’t that be nice?)
In addition, this rust repair method assumes there’s only surface rust, maybe some mild pitting. Truck beds that are rotting or missing significant amounts of metal will require a different approach, such as welding in patches and using body filler, which we do not cover in this blog.
How to Repair a Rusty Truck Bed
Rust-free truck beds don’t have to be a distant dream. It’s possible with a little elbow grease, time, money, and patience. To begin, you’ll want a clean and dry area to work in with good lighting. If your bed is really rusty, it might be best to find a weather window to work outside unless you don’t mind grime and dust from the rust removal process in your garage.
Once you’ve found a good location to remove rust from your truck bed, gather the following tools and materials:
- Angle grinder
- Angle grinder attachments
- Wire wheel
- Sanding discs in 80, 120, 220, and 400 grit
- Chemical rust remover (optional)
- Soap, water, and a sponge to wash the truck bed
- Masking tape and paper
- Automotive paint and primer
If you don’t have an angle grinder, all of the prep work can be done by hand with a wire brush and sandpaper. Protect yourself and wear the necessary personal protection equipment during rust removal, such as a respirator, eye protection, and gloves.
Rust Removal Process
Begin by removing the rust with a wire wheel on an angle grinder. Work slightly past the rusty area and into the paint to ensure no rust is hiding underneath the paint.
Next, use a sanding disc on the angle grinder to smooth out the rough surface and feather the repair area into the surrounding paint. Begin with an 80 grit and slowly work your way up to 400 grit. Feathering the paint is tricky but not necessary if you decide to go with a bedliner instead of paint (which we cover below).
If you’re using chemical rust removing agent, use it before you clean the truck bed or follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Once the area is rust-free, you’ll need to thoroughly clean it with soap and water followed by a degreasing agent. Thoroughly dry the area before moving on.
One of the hardest parts about repairing rust in your truck bed is making the repair area blend into the original paint. This may not matter if it’s a beater farm truck, but your daily driver is a different story. If you daily drive a beater farm truck, more power to you. The best way to blend a rust repair area into the original finish is to repaint the entire bed, but if that’s too much work, keep reading.
Your local auto parts store should be able to help you find the right paint and primer for your truck. Tell them you’re repairing a rusty truck bed since there are specialty primers for these types of projects. Every car paint is different, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.
Mask off areas around the repair to prevent overspray. Apply primer followed by paint once it has cured. Give yourself plenty of time and the right weather to do this. You may need several coats, and some paints require a few hours between coats before re-application.
Another option is to have the entire bed coated in LINE-X bedliner. Not only will this cover the repair area, it gives your entire pickup truck bed protection from scratches and dings that could lead to rust in the future.
Truck Bed Rust Repair Near You
Repairing rust in your truck bed isn’t for the faint of heart. If you want clean, professional-looking results you’ll need to invest in the proper paint and prep supplies. Without experience and proper technique, it’s very difficult to match the repair area to the original finish. If you’re OK with that “character,” or it’s a farm truck and no one minds that odd-looking patch of paint in the bed, then a DIY repair will work.
If you’d rather let a professional take care of the job from start to finish, your local LINE-X dealer can help. From removing the rust, patching holes, prepping the bed, and coating the bedliner, we’ll take care of the entire project.
If you’d like to reduce the cost of adding a bedliner on a rusty truck bed, consider removing the rust yourself. Once you’re finished, take your truck to your local LINE-X dealer to finish the job with bedliner. Keep that rust from spreading and request a quote today!