Slightly rusting trailer, what paint?

Hello All,

I picked up a used trailer last night for a very good price. It is only three years old, but has some rust spots on it. Not too bad, very structurally sound. The rust areas make up about 2% of the overall surface. The entire trailer is steel, steel floor, steel fenders, etc.

Question - the rusted spots are small and very scattered across the whole trailer. Most are between the size of a dime and a quarter. There are literally hundreds of them though. The question I have is would a product like rust-oleum, or some other paint on product work to seal the rust and stop it from spreading without sandblasting the trailer, and without sanding all the individual spots?

What are your recommendations? I am not looking for a show trailer, just dont want it to deteriorate further.



A guy on another forum I visit was sucsessfull with this stuff:

I think it requires some prep work though. It would be best to do some sanding, IMHO.

I have had great results using Rust-Oleum products, be sure to sand well, and use the convertor/prep, then paint it with multiple coats.

Assuming this is an open utility trailer, most any spray paint will work fine. I normally paint mine once a year. Just knock the rust off with a wire brush or sandpaper and paint away.

When i do custon metal pieces or have to repaint parts of the frame of my bike i start with a heavy coat of Tempo laquer based primer. a good base for putting down some spray paint color. Its the paint that my dad sells to comercial fisherman when they are paint bulkheads and such. It fights rust and you can get it in a couple colors.

What i would do for the rust is take a wire wheel or a wire brush and clean off a good area around the rust spot. If the rust shows then the moisture has gotten under the paint so it would be wise to clean up at least an inch or so around the rust spot so you can uncover the hidden moisture.

POR15 is superior to any rustoleum type of paint. I've used it on various projects and it actually creates a hard shell on anything you paint. Its designed to seal any rusted surface. However, the original por15 is meant for under body applications or any application that will not be exposed to UV light. The paint will cloud over time. Check their website, they may carry a durable paint that can be exposed to sunshine without clouding up.


Thanks for the suggestions. The real question is this - the rust spots are small, but they are distributed all over the trailer. To attempt to sand or wire brush all of them would mean to strip the entire trailer of paint. Is there a product that really works that you can spray over the rust and the paint, and it will seal and stop the rust from spreading?

If do not do any surface prep like wire brushing the rust areas to at least knock off the top laer of rust & the loosen paint surrounding those areas you will will be back in th same boat in a very short time. The extra time to do it right the first time will be better than doing it again.

I would check the POR15 website for painting over existing paint. For rust, simply knock the loose stuff off with a wire brush. Por15 can be sprayed but it comes in a regular can. I've brushed it on with very nice surface results.

Use Loctite Extend Rust Treatment. Wire brush loose rust scale and spray all rust. After 24 hours the rust will turn black and you can paint right over the top. Chemically transforms rust into a paintable coating. to for more info and a dealer locator.

All I can say is you have to treet the rust areas befor you paint. I have had a C33 license (Paint Contractor) for years allthough I don't paint any more. Trail Tiger just remember Neil Young..RUST WILL NEVER SLEEP..

If you want the paint job to last for a long time even in a rust belt state, do the following:

1. Remove all the rust by sanding.

2. Scuff up the rest of the paint.

3. Prime the bare metal spots with a quality primer like DuPont Variprime.

4. Paint the whole trailer with DuPont Imron two part epoxy paint.

This is generally what they use to paint heavy equipment, and frame rails for big rigs. Lasts a loooong time, but is not cheap. You'd have to go to an automotive paint supply shop to get it as well. If I remember correctly it's about $100 per gallon plus hardener. I used this method to paint one of my old cj-5 jeeps about 10 years ago (the whole body inside and out), and still not a spec of rust even with the massachusetts winters (SALT!).


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