Truck Frame Rust Repair Cost

Last Updated on December 29, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

One of the big problems with a used car, but also a new one, is the appearance of rust spots on the frame. Careless treatment of rust points results in enlargement of the affected area until complete destruction of the affected frame element.

Rust occurs as a result of a chemical process in the metal that comes in contact with oxygen. The oxidation of the metal occurs as a result of the removal of the paint layers due to an unpleasant event, hits, pebbles thrown by other cars, bad intentions, etc.

These days, the majority of trucks and cars are made of high-durability metals such as titanium, steel, or aluminum. These types of materials offer excellent protection from environmental weathering which means they will last you longer than a vehicle that doesn’t have this feature.

Though, even these materials can rust during the time and cause serious problems to your truck. You should fix a rusted truck frame as soon as possible.

How much does it cost to repair the truck frame rust?

The truck frame rust repair is influenced by some factors such as:

The extend of the damage – the size of the rust damage has a great influence on the cost; large surfaces will require more labor and materials, while the simple rust damage areas will be easier to repair and, in the end, cheaper. Expect to pay a higher price to repair the penetrating rust areas, or even to replace them.

The age of the car – it is more than obvious that the age of the vehicle will affect the cost. There will be more rust-damaged areas on an old car compared to a newer one. Also, it may be harder to treat for rust older materials.

The type of metal – the costs also depend on the type of material the truck frames are made of. The majority of the truck frames are made of stainless steel, while others may use higher-quality and protective materials such as titanium alloys or aluminum. The costs of these ones are higher compared to the stainless steel. In order to protect the truck frame from future rusting, you may need to re-galvanize it.

You might also like our articles about the cost of car rust repair in general, car paint, or car hood paint.

However, the average cost to repair the rust on a is around $1,550. The price can start from under only $110 for small spot removal and go up to more than $5,100 for large rust-damaged areas.

Expect to pay even more than $10,500 for severe truck frame rust.

It would be very easy to repair the small rust spots that are only a few inches in size and you can do it at home yourself. Though, large affected areas will require the help of a professional.

Truck frame details

The majority of modern vehicles have a unibody design, which means that they are made of only one metal body without a frame. However, the trucks are designed in a different way and have a separate body built on the top of a frame.

Trucks are more resistant and much better at hauling heavy loads thanks to their two-body design. But, this means that both, the body and the frame can be affected by rust damage.

Rust is one of the biggest problems of the truck frames because these parts are the closest to the ground and get into contact with a lot of moisture and dirt.

Even though the majority of the modern trucks are made of very resistant materials like titanium or stainless steel they can still be affected by weather conditions.

Truck frames are made of many different parts such as:

  • Cross rails
  • Frame rails
  • Covers
  • Subframes
  • Rail extensions
  • Crossmembers
  • Rail patches
  • Torque boxes

As this issue can affect very important elements of the frame that connect to the axles, wheels, and the body, truck frame rust is a very serious problem. It would not be safe to drive a truck that has a rusted frame because it may break while on the road.

What are the extra costs?

In case you don’t want to hire a professional to repair the small and medium rust problems you can do it yourself. Before performing this job you will have to purchase a rust removal kit that you can find at a local autobody store or online.

In most cases, the removal kits come with some sort of solution used to remove the rust and some sort of body patch material to fix the damage or holes.

The cost of a typical rust repair kit would be anywhere between $12 and $55, with an average cost of almost $35. For a professional kit, you will have to pay anywhere between $110 and $210. These come with solutions and applicators.

In the table below you will find the average costs for some of the most known truck rust removal kits.

Product Price
POR-15 Stop Rust Kit – Gloss Black $30
3M Bondo Rust Hole Repair Kit $45
MROChem Black Star Rust Converter $60
Bondo Metal Reinforced Filler $30
FDC Rust Converter Ultra $55
AGS Rust Solutions Rust Prevention Paint $50
Corroseal-82320 Rust Converter $30
Bondo Professional High Bond Filler $55
Evapo-Rust Water-Based Rust Remover $25
STA-BIL (22003) Rust Stopper and Inhibitor $13

Rust Repair on ElementAs you can see, it is affordable to purchase a rust removal kit and you can do this job at home yourself. Though, you will need some more tools like a mask, a wire brush, gloves, and sandpaper.

Also, you will have to buy the necessary materials to repaint the affected area after removing the rust. Expect to pay around $110 for paint materials including the preparatory materials, the paint, the primer, and the paint gun.

There are situations when the whole frame is affected by rust and has to be replaced because it would be nearly impossible to repair it.

The mechanic will update the vehicle’s chassis and main connectors as well when replacing the frame.

Be prepared to pay around $8,500 on average to replace the whole frame of a truck. You may pay even more than $15,000 to replace the entire truck frame, depending on the make and model of the vehicle.

These high costs are motivated by the complex work that the mechanic has to perform. He has to rebuild the whole assembly and modify it in order to fit the sizes of your vehicle.

In this situation, you may ask yourself whether it is worth replacing the truck frame. It may be a better option to purchase a new vehicle if it is not a classic model that you want to repair or has a sentimental value for you.

Important things to consider

The cars can be affected by rust on three levels known as surface rust, scale rust, and penetrating rust.

Failure to fix the rust points in time results in enlargement of the affected area until complete destruction of the affected body element. In order not to end up in a situation that requires a change of the element, here is what you have to do:

  1. The first step is to wipe off the rust and the surrounding area with a cloth soaked in white alcohol (a product obtained by distilling raw oil, used as a solvent in the paint and varnish industry). Remove damaged paint. Sand the rusty area until you reach the clean metal.
  2. The next step is to wipe off the resulting dust with a cloth soaked in white alcohol, then apply a thin layer of zinc spray to the clean metal. It is very important to dry it completely. Then apply primer, not an anti-rust solution, using a fine brush. The surface to which the primer is applied should be about 1 cm larger than the area affected by rust. The primer must dry very well. It is recommended that the primer be allowed to dry at least as indicated by its manufacturer!
  3. Next, use an old knife or a flexible piece of plastic to apply a thin layer of putty. To make your work easier and get the expected result, try to work clean, smoothing well, without leaving too much excess putty. After the putty has dried, take medium-grained sandpaper and sand it until it reaches the level of the surrounding paint.
  4. The final step is to cover the putty with spray paint to match the body color. Apply a thin layer of paint. It is applied evenly and quickly, passing over the original paint. After 24 hours, apply another coat. In order for the result to be impeccable, after a few days, you can polish the area.

How can I save money?

You should always check the truck frame for any rust spots and repair them before affecting a larger area.

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