Trucks suffer through all forms of wear and tear while on the road, especially their frames. Truck frames are constantly exposed to the elements that cause them to rust. There are many ways to remove rust by hand, but rust converters get the job done quickly.
The best rust converters for truck frames will be affordable, only require a thin coating, be easy to apply, be eco-friendly, and will remain on the metal even in harsh weather conditions.
We’ll cover the best rust converters for truck frames in the rest of this article. But first let’s go through a brief overview of rust converters and how they work.
Rust Converters: A Brief Overview
Rust forms whenever iron reacts with oxygen and water. The best way to get rid of rust is to remove the rust and prevent it from returning.
Cleaning rust by hand, whether with aluminum foil or homemade solutions, is very time-consuming. You have to gather all sorts of supplies, assemble them together, apply the products, and get to work scrubbing at the rust for hours. If your frame has rust in multiple places, it can take longer to get off, and you may need to purchase more products to remove the rust from those areas.
Chemical cleaners provide an easier way to remove rust. You only have to spray it on, let it soak, and then scrub it away. However, some cleaners are not eco-friendly, and you can still spend hours trying to remove the rust if the cleaner is not strong enough. And once the rust is finally gone, there’s a good chance it can come back. You will have to spend more money on buying products that can prevent the rust from returning to the frame.
Rust converters are a unique alternative to getting rid of rust. Whereas most products remove surface rust and leave behind a protective coating, rust converters convert that same rust into a barrier. Rust converters use two ingredients, tannic acids, and organic polymers, to turn useless rust into a powerful defense.
Tannic acid chemically reacts with rust to break it down and changes it into a firm, dark, colored material called a tannate. Then, the organic polymer, 2-Butoxyethanol, or another organic polymer ingredient, creates a protective barrier over the tannate. The transformed tannate can be painted over to hide its appearance and provide an extra layer of defense.
Rust converters come in many different applications. Some converters come in gallons, air canisters, spray bottles, or gels. Some can be removed before paint is added, and others need a layer of paint for extra protection. Some are even made with eco-friendly materials. The big difference between rust converters and regular rust removing methods is that rust converters keep the rust from coming back for a very long time.
Depending on your truck frame and the amount of rust present, you will need either a converter with multiple functions or a simple one to get the job done.
7 Best Rust Converters for Trucks
Take a look at some of the rust converters below to see which one is right for you. Each product comes with its own pros and cons so be sure to take these into consideration. Results vary depending on the use of the rust converter, so be sure to test it out before applying to the whole surface.
1. Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter
Corroseal converts the rusted iron into magnetite (a magnetic metal), which can be used as a protective barrier against future rusting. It also primes the metal, so you get two jobs in one. You can add a layer of paint over the converter to provide extra protection.
Be sure to apply some Rust Converter Application Cleaner to the metal to get it prepped up for the Corroseal rust converter. Afterward, you will only need to apply a thin coat of the Corroseal Rust Converter over the rust. You can apply it with a brush, sponge or roller. Follow the instructions and wash the converter off as directed. You can buy the Corroseal product by the quart, gallon, or in five-gallon containers to suit the size of your product.
Unlike other products, Corroseal is water-based and has no flammable or corrosive substances. It is easy to use without the need for scrubbing or sanding. It should not damage the metal or paint on your frame if used correctly. You can also use this product on a variety of tools, automobiles, household tools, and industrial equipment.
There are a few cons that you should be aware of. Corroseal must be applied and rinsed off correctly, or you will have a messy result. It cannot be used on freshly galvanized steel or freshly blasted metal. Corroseal is not a cheap product, but if you want quality over quantity, then this is the best one for the job.
2. POR-15 Metal Prepping Rust Converter
The POR-15 Metal Prepping Rust Converter is another liquid converter that is easy to use. Like the Corroseal product, it is water-based and non-flammable. The coating left behind is a chalky white color, which can be painted over once it has finished drying. This rust converter works great on automobiles. Simply spray the product on the frame and wait for about 20 minutes. Afterward, just clean it off with soap and water.
The POR-15 comes with other lines of products such as the POR-15 40101 Cleaner Degreaser and the POR-15 45404 Rust Preventive Coating. You can use the Cleaner Degreaser to clean and degrease your frame, wood surfaces, glass surfaces, and more. The Rust Preventive Coating stops rust from spreading and provides a rock-hard coating for your truck frame. You can find more POR-15 products here.
Pros for the Por-15 is that it cleans up flaky rusts with ease and does not require a lot of time to work. Since it is a water-based product, you just need soap and water to remove it—no need for steel wool or other cleaning items. You can combine this product with other POR-15 products to enhance its cleaning abilities.
The POR-15 products all come with manuals on how to use them, so make sure to follow these steps to avoid any issues. Some reviewers say that this product reacts differently to certain metals such as mild steel or cast iron. Be sure to test a bit of this product on the metal and watch for any tarnish. The POR-15 may also leave behind a white residue after removal.
3. FDC Professional Grade Rust Converter
Although the FDC Professional Grade Rust Converter is not as eco-friendly as the first two, it is very effective in rust removal. One gallon can cover up to 500 square miles of surface area, and this product can handle the toughest of rusting. This product not only handles rust and moisture but other types of corrosions too.
FDC strongly advises that you shake the product before applying it. You can roll it, brush it on, or spray the product on a surface based on what you need. The product is easy to use and apply, just make sure to follow the directions. After the average drying time of 20 minutes, the iron turns into a black polymer substance. You can use FDC on multiple surfaces such as household items, boats, automobiles, railings, and other metal structures.
Some pros for this product are:
- It does not require a lot of time to use.
- You will not have to buy multiple products, so you can save money.
- You can use it on any metallic surface, so if the other parts of your truck need some TLC, you can use this product on them too.
- You will not need to remove the converter after it dries, just leave it on or paint over it.
A few cons to this product are:
- The FDC Rust Converter should not be applied in temperatures below 50°F (10°C) or in temperatures higher than 100°F (37.78°C), and you should not expose it to water until it has been painted.
- You will need to do some cleaning for the heavily rusted areas in order for the FDC to be 100% effective.
- You may need to apply a coat of paint after the FDC product dries to help protect the layer.
Finally, if your frame has a couple of holes on the surface, then you are going to need to add more of the product onto those areas.
4. Black Star MRO Chem Rust
Just as the name suggests, the Black Star MRO Chem Rust changes rust into a black resin that prevents further rusting by sealing out moisture. It serves as a primer, making it easy to apply a fresh coat of paint over the rust. Make sure to wash the surface of the frame before applying the product. You can brush or spray the MRO Chem onto the surface of the frame and then paint over it.
A few product pros are:
- This product leaves behind a smooth finish with little preparation and takes about 20-30 minutes to fully set in.
- It endures through the toughest weather and will not come off the metal easily.
- It is not only a rust converter but a primer too, which means you can paint over the product without having to remove it.
Some cons are:
- This product is a little on the pricey side.
- You will need to apply additional layers if you want the product to stick around and keep protecting the frame. Adding a coat of paint reinforces its protection abilities.
- You must not apply this product to areas that do not have rust; this product can leave stains on those areas.
5. Rust Kutter
Unlike the last products, which you had to apply with a brush or roller, the Rust Kutter comes in a spray bottle, which ceases application without inhibiting the effectiveness of the product. This product turns the rust into an airtight phosphate coating. The coating remains on the frame and keeps moisture from getting to the iron. The Rust Kutter does have a longer drying time, roughly between 30 minutes to a couple of hours.
Once the product is dry, wash off the residue and leave the frame to air dry. Apply a coat of paint for further protection. Be very careful of overspray, because this can change your metal into a dull color. If you do have a bit of overspray on the frame’s surface, use a cloth to remove it immediately.
Pros for this product are:
- You can apply this product easily because of the spray bottle. All you need is the product and a cloth, no sponges, wools or scrubbers.
- It can be used on the outer surface of metal components and on their insides.
Cons for Rust Kutter are:
- You need to wear protective gear when using this product. Spray bottles tend to drip, and the chemicals can get on your hands.
- It can stain clothing.
- Since this product is sprayed, you may need more than one bottle of the product to treat areas with a lot of rusting occurrences.
- You can only use this product on areas with rust on them.
6. VHT SP229 Rust Converter
The VHT SP229 Rust Converter only comes in a spray can. It is very easy to use. Just spray it on the surface and allow it to dry. The SP229 Rust Converter sprays onto the frame’s surface clearly and then turns black once it has dried. The black coating prevents the rust from spreading and future corrosion from occurring. After it has dried completely, you can sand down the rough parts and apply a coat of paint over it.
A few pros are:
- The product is super easy to use. You do not have to wipe it off after spraying.
- It can be used on metals, fiberglass, and body filler. You can use this on your entire truck without needing to buy other products.
- The product will only turn black on areas that have rust, so no stain escapes. Sanding down the rough parts leaves behind a smooth finish.
- It is pretty cheap to buy and can be used at any time.
As with the other products, this one has some cons:
- A major con is that it takes a whole day to dry, and cannot be painted on until it is completely finished drying.
- It is best to keep the sprayed surface away from water until it has dried completely. Otherwise, you may have to redo the entire surface all over again.
- The product comes in a comparatively small can, so you may need more than one can to get the job done.
7. Loctite 553472-6 Naval Jelly Rust Dissolver
The Loctite 553472-6 Naval Jelly Rust Dissolver is a gel base that removes rust and stains. It is important that you follow the directions on the bottle before applying this to the frame. Wash the surface of the frame with soap and water. Follow the directions to prepare the gel and brush onto the rusted area with a wire brush or sandpaper to get the rust off. After scrubbing for 15 minutes, rinse the gel and rust away with water and dry with a cloth.
The pros for this product are:
- It is versatile and easy to use.
- You can use this product on other metallic objects.
- The small-sized bottle makes it easy to carry around, so you can apply it anywhere.
- It works well on heavily rusted items, and since it is a primer, you can paint over it once the surface is dry.
The cons for this product are:
- This product comes in a small bottle. This means you will need more than one bottle to get rid of stains on a larger surface area.
- It requires more steps to apply this to metal surfaces compared to the other products.
- If you are using this product on painted or plated surfaces, be careful not to keep it on the surface too long because it can cause the coating to peel.
Rust lowers the life of the truck frame and does not do anything to help maintain it. Rust converters turn the rust into a barrier and prevent further corrosion. These are some of the rust converters that can get the job done:
- Corroseal is a water-based product that can be used on a variety of surfaces.
- The FDC Professional Grade Rust Converter covers many miles of surface area and cuts through the toughest of rust problems.
- Black Star MRO Chem Rust turns rust into a hard resin defense, which is impervious to scratches, corrosion, and rust.
- The VHT SP229 Rust Converter is an easy to apply spray converter that turns any spot of rust into a protective black coating.
- Loctite 553472-6 Naval Jelly Rust Dissolver is a gel that removes the toughest rust problems.
Find a rust converter that works right for you, so you can keep on trucking.