How to Strip a Car to Metal in Preparation for Paint or Welding

There are a number of ways to get your classic ready for restoration. Traditionally, shells were sanded or sandblasted back to bare metal. In recent years, chemical dipping and high-temperature baking have both become popular ways of removing paint, under seal and rust. Each method has advantages and pitfalls and it’s hard to say which, if any, is the best. Sandblasting can’t get to the insides of seams and box sections – which is arguably a good thing if they’re filled with old rustproofing that’s still doing its job perfectly well. Chemical dipping gets absolutely everywhere and thus may open up gaps in spot-welded seams. Extreme heat is likely to fill sills and other closed sections with rusty debris.

There is a further choice, which is to manually strip back only those areas that are actually corroded or damaged. Either sand it back to bare metal and treat it with rust remover, or (carefully!) use an acid stripper. This means the areas of original paint that’ve been providing effective protection for 50 years can continue to do so. Repairs can be made in stages, which will make the project more manageable. If the shell isn’t a basket case, this would perhaps be our preferred option.

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9 Responses to “How to Strip a Car to Metal in Preparation for Paint or Welding”
  1. Larry

    I’m doing a ’79 TR7 that appears to already have had a poor repaint. In the aircraft industry we always used zip-strip taking care to protect rubber/plastic areas with 300-MPH metallic speed tape.

    Would recommend over mechanically sanding the old paint off to bare metal?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, and thanks for contacting Skill Shack with Practical Classics.
      Skill Shack works in partnership with Practical Classics Magazine, which can provide in-depth answers to your question through their ‘Ask Our Experts’ pages. If you’d like to direct your query to practicalclassicshelpline@bauermedia.co.uk our team of experts will be able to help.
      Kind Regards,
      The Skill Shack Team

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    • Customer Service

      Hi, and thanks for contacting Skill Shack with Practical Classics.
      Skill Shack works in partnership with Practical Classics Magazine, which can provide in-depth answers to your question through their ‘Ask Our Experts’ pages. If you’d like to direct your query to practicalclassicshelpline@bauermedia.co.uk our team of experts will be able to help.
      Kind Regards,
      The Skill Shack Team

      Reply
  2. julian

    Your help please. Are there any liquid products available for diy use which will remove / kill corrosion pitting in aluminium panels that cannot be removed for blast cleaning?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, and thanks for contacting Skill Shack with Practical Classics.
      Skill Shack works in partnership with Practical Classics Magazine, which can provide in-depth answers to your question through their ‘Ask Our Experts’ pages. If you’d like to direct your query to practicalclassicshelpline@bauermedia.co.uk our team of experts will be able to help.
      Kind Regards,
      The Skill Shack Team

      Reply