The ugly truth about rust is that it’s inevitable.
That’s a hard truth to hear especially when it comes to the truck that you love.
Yes, you can take steps to slow it down. But it will be back again and again.
The best method for keeping your truck frame from rusting is to is to remove existing rust and then apply a paint that will protect it from the elements.
Using a product that is precisely formulated to protect a truck frame from developing rust is the best way to keep rust at a bare minimum.
Truck frame paint is designed to keep moisture at bay, prevent salt from finding its way inside, and to keep rust from rearing its ugly head.
Want to stop rust from eating away at your trucks frame? Let’s take a closer look and see which truck frame paint is the best before you take another trip.
POR-15 might be the best known name in the rust preventative industry. Many professionals say that this product is the best all around, optimum, anti-corrosive paint that money can buy.
This is a direct to metal rust preventative top coat paint. It won’t tear, peel, or develop unsightly wrinkles. If you are interested in using a rust preventative base coat, POR-15 Rust Preventative would be the perfect accompaniment.
But I say using a rust preventative base coat always makes sense.
This paint will dry in approximately 60 minutes, but it is suggested that you wait 8 hours for the second coat and 24 hours before using the truck.
The company states that this will be completely cured and reaches maximum hardness in 3-4 days, depending on outside temperatures. This product is UV resistant, has superior color retention, and has a reputation for excellent adhesion.
You can use POR-15 on bare steel, aluminum, or any other type of metal surface. It cleans with solvent and, of course, POR-15 Solvent works best being made for removal of their product.
- It’s highly durable so it will last longer
- POR-15 has excellent adherence properties so it sticks better
- It’s the best value for the money vs. the competition
- You must apply it exactly as directed. So no shortcuts.
- It needs plenty of drying time to get the full effects. Again, no shortcuts.
- It can be difficult to apply
- Paint must be removed if not applied correctly
POR-15 is the best truck frame paint for those who want to do the job right the first time. Yes, it may be time consuming, but how much is your truck frame worth to you?
This is another product that claims you can paint directly over the rust. They do recommend that you use a wire brush to remove loose rust and other corrosion first.
This paint product dries rock hard so it shouldn’t crack or peel off. Magnet Paint claims that this paint is unaffected by other compounds such as battery acid or hydraulic fluid. But if you have this type of contamination on the frame, power wash and remove it to ensure good adhesion. After the paint is dry, these items should not affect it.
It’s important to note that this product is NOT UV friendly, so don’t apply it where the sun might damage or weaken it. Magnet Paint cleans with paint thinner. This takes a full 72 hours to cure so plan this project accordingly!
Pro Tip: You can prevent the lid from sticking to the can by coating the can or lid edge with some petroleum jelly.
- Magnet Paint is easy to use and follow the directions
- It leaves a beautiful glossy finish
- It’s quite economical as a small amount of product seems to cover a large area
- Some users complain that the can is sealed so tightly that they broke it trying to open it
- It isn’t UV friendly
- It takes a long time to dry.
If you want a glossy finish and you don’t want to apply undercoats or several coats of paint, Magnet Paint Chassis Saver is the one for you.
Of course, there are instances where you really don’t need an entire quart of frame paint. You might be hoping you can find a spray can that will allow you to handle those small jobs or work in small spaces.
VHT Satin spray paint is what you are looking for.
This product is an epoxy coating that does not require a primer. Epoxy deprives rust of oxygen, the compound that it must have to grow. You will still need to prep the surface since this doesn’t seem to adhere well to rust.
It can withstand temperatures of 250 degrees, it’s UV resistant, it dries completely in 24 hours, and is perfect for frames, tools, equipment, generators, or trailers.
- The spray can makes it very easy to use and apply
- It looks incredibly professional
- It’s is UV resistant so you can use it on other items besides the frame
- The can must be shaken vigorously for 5 minutes and shaken again every few minutes
- Some users say that the paint chipped easily
- Others said the nozzle can become clogged if not shaken regularly.
Overall, VHT Satin Black Roll Bar and Chassis Paint is the perfect paint for touch-ups, smaller work areas, and outdoor equipment.
How Do You Rustproof a Truck Frame?
The elements do a real job on metal truck frames.
Between the salt of winter (and salt air if you live near the coast), the humidity of summer, and spring rains, the frame on your truck takes a beating over time.
The good news is that rust can be almost entirely eliminated if you are willing to put in some real elbow grease.
First, remove as much rust as humanly possible. This means using a grinder with a wire brush wheel, a regular handheld wire brush, a 5-in-1 scraper, or whatever favorite tool you have to remove rust. You will need to get right down to the bare metal to rust-proof your truck’s frame.
Pressure wash the frame to remove any dust and allow it to dry completely.
Cover items that you don’t want primer or paint on, such as the catalytic converter or exhaust pipes. Aluminum foil and tape makes a great cover.
If you want, you can apply an epoxy primer and allow it to dry completely. Then use POR-15 or you can apply the POR-15 straight out of the can. While they state that you can apply it right over the rust, I’m still old school enough to tell you that regardless of what the can says, you still need to remove as much rust as possible.
For best results, use about 3 coats. Allow enight time to dry between coats. Check your frame once a year for any new rust spots and repeat the process above.
How Much Paint Do I Need to Paint a Truck Frame?
This depends on how many coats you intend to put on and how big your truck is. On average, a typical Ford F-350 using three coats of paint will use about 2 gallons, roughly 2 quarts per coat.
Will Rust Spread if Painted?
Unfortunately, yes. Rust will still spread even if painted.
Even if the entire surface is coated, rust will start anywhere that a scratch develops. Even on the most minuscule piece of unprotected metal, or even a pinhead-sized chip in the paint will give rust the foothold it needs to get started.
You can sandblast that rust off the frame or spend several weekends removing rust by hand and repainting. But eventually, something is going to cause a chip or scratch in the paint and give rust the opening it needs.
Some products say that you can paint right over the rust. But the rust will work its way through the paint. It’s just a matter of time.
The best way to prevent rust from eating your truck frame is to remove it, paint the frame, then inspect the frame at least once a year for chips and scratches.
Remove any rust you find and then repaint over the area.
Does Epoxy Primer Stop Rust?
Yes, epoxy primer stops rust.
An epoxy primer works by sealing out oxygen from the metal surface. Without oxygen, rust cannot form or grow. Two part epoxy primers are the best choice. They contain zinc phosphate which only increases the anti-corrosion properties of the epoxy.
Of course, epoxy primers used over bare metal will seal out oxygen. But this isn’t true if you already have rust forming on the frame. Epoxy primers adhere mechanically.
That means that it will grab on to and hold tight to just about any solid textured surface. Rust is weak and while it has texture, it easily rubs off on your fingers and flakes off in larger chunks.
So, an epoxy primer will PREVENT rust from forming on bare metal. But it won’t stop rust from growing if you try to paint over it.
The best way to get the longest-lasting paint job on your truck frame is to first remove the rust.
How Do You Clean a Truck Frame for Painting?
Prep work is always the ugliest part about painting a truck frame.
A pressure washer is a great way to start. Remove as much of the loose rust, oil, dirt, and other debris from the frame.
The rust will need to be removed and there are a variety of ways to do this, including:
- Using a ball-peen hammer to lightly pound on the rust and remove the larger pieces
- Using a handheld grinding wheel and a wire brush attachment
- A handheld wire brush or other manual scraping tools
- Applying a liquid rust remover, such as Evapo-Rust
Regardless of the method you use, you need to remove as much rust as you can see and reach. Consider removing parts to gain better access to the frame if necessary.
Once you are certain that the rust has been eliminated, pressure wash one more time to remove dirt and dust. Allow to dry completely before applying epoxy or paint.
Wrapping It Up
For overall value and usefulness, as well as an outstanding reputation, I recommend POR-15 Top Coat Chassis Paint.
I do recommend the use of the rust inhibitor underneath. Simply because I hate it when rust starts to show through the paint after all my hard work with a wire brush.
Many frame paints can be weakened by exposure to sunlight.
But not POR-15.
If you want to use it on other applications such as generators or farm equipment, you can feel confident about doing so.
Remember that prep and patience are everything when it comes to painting your frame. Do all the necessary prep work and be patient while the paint fully hardens.
You will be rewarded with a job that not only looks professional but one that lasts like the dickens.
After careful research, I don’t think you are going to find a better one than POR-15.