The 10 Most Effective Rust Convertors and Inhibitors of 2022
Do you notice rust spots appearing on your car? As vehicles age, it’s a common problem, and many owners have simply resigned themselves to the fact that there’s nothing they can do about it.
That’s simply not the case. While rust is inevitable, letting it spread isn’t. These rust converters/inhibitors can be used to treat the spots that are rusted without needing to sand. You can also prevent them from spreading further.
Not only did we highlight ten great options you can use on your vehicle, but we also came up with a comprehensive buyer’s guide that will break down everything you need to know about selecting and using your rust converter. If you’re tired of dealing with rust on your vehicle, you’ve come to the right place.
Disclaimer – This article may contain affiliate links, this means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases.
- The Top 10 Most Effective Rust Convertors and Inhibitors for 2022
- 1. VHT SP229 – Best Overall
- 2. Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer Spray – Best Budget
- 3. Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter – Premium Choice
- 4. Loctite Rust Neutralizer
- 5. Rust Kutter
- 6. FDC Rust converter Ultra
- 7. PlastiKote 624 Rust Converter
- 8. Evapo-Rust ER012
- 9. MRO Chem Black Starrust Converter
- 10. Permatex 81849 Rust Treatment
- Rust Converter Buyers' Guide
- Last Thoughts
The Top 10 Most Effective Rust Convertors and Inhibitors for 2022
1. VHT SP229 – Best Overall
If you’re looking for the best combination of price and performance, then it’s really hard to top what the VHT SP229 has to offer. It’s a little more expensive per ounce compared to some of the other options on our list, but unless you’re dealing with a lot It is ideal for all projects, and it's perfect for automotive rust.
That means you’re getting everything you need with a top-notch product, but you don’t need to spend near as much as some of the other top-end products on our list. It is very easy to use, and has a flat surface that you can paint onto.
You can use it on any metal or fiberglass component of your vehicle, making it even more useful for automotive applications.
Finally, while it is a bit more expensive per ounce, if you do have a larger project and love this rust converter, and who wouldn’t, they do allow you to purchase it in bulk. Although this lowers the price per ounce, there are other options.
Still, this is a premium product that delivers premium results, and since you don’t have to purchase a ton for your smaller automobile, you still don’t need to break the bank to get it.
There are pros
- Great combination of performance and price
- Buy in bulk
- Easy to use
- Gives you a flat, smooth finish
- Work on aluminum, fiberglass, and body filler
2. Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer Spray – Best Budget
If you’re looking for a product to help you tackle some rust without the need to spend a ton, then the Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer Spray is exactly what you want. Not only is it available for a great price, but it’s also super easy to use and it’s effective.
It doesn’t just cover the rust but neutralizes it too, and it turns into a black finish that is perfect to paint over. The best part of this product is that it works instantly, ending your vehicle’s rust problem in a matter of seconds.
The only problem with the product we have is its price. Have Spray it on. That’s not a problem for most projects, but if you have a small area of rust and want a finer application method, a spray can easily overspray and cover more.
Once again this isn’t always a problem, but it is if you only want to cover a very small or very precise area. Still, at this price point we’re really just finding a reason to nit-pick because this is a high-quality product at a phenomenal price.
There are pros
- Easy to use
- Super effective formula
- Option very affordable
- It is easy to paint on top
- Instantly works
3. Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter – Premium Choice
The Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter clearly isn’t the lowest-priced option on our list, but when you look at everything it does, the quality of results, and how much you’re getting, it’s not a bad deal.
A full gallon is the smallest you can buy. This is sufficient to fill a room that is 200-250 square feet. This means it’ll easily cover whatever rust problems your vehicle has now and in the future.
It does an outstanding job of inhibiting and covering up rust, and it’s one of the safest formulas on the market. It’s water-based which means fewer harmful chemicals, and it’s both non-flammable and non-corrosive.
It also cleans up with just soap and water, so if you do get it somewhere you shouldn’t it’s pretty easy to clean up. However, since you have to purchase an entire gallon of it, you are spending a lot more compared to other options on our list, and it’s probably for more product than you need.
Furthermore, you’ll still need a brush, roller, or spray gun to use it, and you’ll need something to pour the product into to even access it. It’s easy to use, but it does take a little more prep work compared to some of the aerosol options on our list.
There are pros
- The machine paints, primes, converts and finishes in just one step
- Full gallon of product
- It is a remarkable tool.
- It is non-corrosive and flammable
4. Loctite Rust Neutralizer
Work on your car enough and you’re bound to pick up a product or two from Loctite. Their Extend Rust Neutralizer line isn’t their most popular product, but it is one of their most effective, and it comes from a brand you can trust.
Further, Loctite Because they know that their audience is vehicle owners and car enthusiasts, the product's 8-ounce weight is better than the other larger sizes. And since you’re not purchasing as much, you’re not spending nearly as much either.
It doesn’t use a spray or aerosol application style, but it does come with an applicator that makes it very easy to apply to very precise areas. It does a great job and turns the surface into something that’s easy to paint over too, which is nice for high visibility areas.
It’s a product that works great for everything on your car, and it’s available for an outstanding price. With everything that it has to offer it might be a challenge to see why it didn’t crack our top three.
There are 2 reasons why this is so. First, it’s not as easy to apply to larger areas, and you’ll likely need to purchase more than one product. Second, it doesn’t work as well on heavily rusted surfaces compared to some other options on our list.
Loctite ExtendRust Neutralizer instead is a better option if the rusting has been detected early enough to prevent it from getting worse.
There are pros
- Accessible pricing
- It’s a very reliable brand
- It is easy to use in specific areas
- It doesn’t work on heavily rusted surfaces
- It is not easy to apply for larger areas
5. Rust Kutter
RustKutter's unique feature is that it comes with a spray can. You can spray to apply other options, but they’re in an aerosol container.
Having it in a typical spray bottle allows you to spray it onto an area if that’s how you want to apply it, but you can always pop the top off and use a brush or roller to use it too. This gives you a little extra versatility that other options don’t offer. Sure you can pour some of the larger options into a spray bottle, but then it’s on you to track one down – Rust Kutter comes with everything you need.
Of course none of this would matter if Rust Kutter wasn’t an effective product, but it does an outstanding job neutralizing and covering rust for you. Even better, a little product goes a long way, so a single bottle should be more than enough to cover any rust problems you’re having with your vehicle.
Rust Kutter's price is an unfortunate compromise. It’s not super expensive compared to some of the gallon container options on our list, but it is more expensive per ounce. But to get one of the best rust inhibitors on the market that can tackle every portion of your project, it’s well worth a look.
There are pros
- Easy to apply
- You will receive it in a spray bottle
- Super effective formula
- Even a small amount of product will cover large areas
6. FDC Rust converter Ultra
If you’re dealing with a larger amount of rust or if it’s a more severe rust problem, the FDC Rust Converter Ultra might be just what you need. It comes in a gallon container so you get a lot of product, in fact far more than you’ll likely need.
That’s because each gallon can cover a total of 500 square feet, which is more than enough to cover your entire car or truck! The rust convert's ability to handle heavy rust is what sets it apart.
It’s also easy to break down for small projects, and it is easy to scale up for larger tasks. Rust Converter Ultra is made in America by the same manufacturers, which allows you to help local businesses.
However, it is a slightly more expensive option since you have to purchase an entire gallon of the stuff, and you’ll still need some sort of brush or roller to apply it. It’s a great deal, but if you only have one small project getting Rust Converter Ultra is probably a little overkill.
There are pros
- You get a variety of products with it.
- Made in USA
- Perfect for large and small projects.
- Option that is more expensive
- It is best to use a brush, or roll, for application
7. PlastiKote 624 Rust Converter
For the environmentally conscious, there’s no better choice for your vehicle’s rust problems than the PlastiKote 624 Rust Converter. This formula uses non-toxic and inflammable ingredients, however, the formula does not contain any hazardous chemicals.
Organically, it converts rust into a paintable surface. This is exactly what you need in your rust converter and inhibitor. Of course, nobody wants an environmentally friendly product if it doesn’t do a great job.
PlastiKote 624 Rust Converter Does They do an excellent job. You will get a beautiful vehicle as well as a product that you are proud of.
PlastiKote 624 Rust Converter, 16 oz.
- Iron is organically converted from rust
- No bubbling, foaming
- Non-toxic, nonflammable, environmentally...
- It will not result in bleed-through...
PlastiKote 624 rust converter was the reason it fell off our list. It’s a more expensive option per ounce, and you’re not even getting a ton of product.
PlastiKote's 624 Rust Converter proves that environmentally friendly products often cost more. So while we’d love to put it higher up on our list, there are simply far more affordable products you can use to get the same results.
There are pros
- Easy to apply
- Environment-safe, nontoxic, and not-flammable
- It is a wonderful tool.
8. Evapo-Rust ER012
If you’re working at an automotive restoration shop or you need a lot more product for some other reason, then Evapo-Rust ER012 is an excellent choice. It comes with a full gallon of product, but it’s available for a price comparable to the 16-ounce options.
It is also one of our most cost-effective products per ounce, which is no easy feat. It’s also easy to use, and it uses a non-toxic and water-based formula that reduces the risk of you damaging other components if it gets on them.
Still, even at this phenomenal cost per ounce, we couldn’t put it any higher up on our list, and it has everything to do with how effective it is. For smaller problems like rust, you may need to apply a second coat.
And when you’re trying to fix more severe rust problems, that’s simply a deal-breaker. But if you’re only touching up smaller areas, then Evapo-Rust ER012 is perfectly fine and can save you a ton of cash.
There are pros
- More affordable per ounce
- It is simple to use
- You get a lot of products with it.
- Water-based, non-toxic solution
- It is not as efficient as the more costly options
9. MRO Chem Black Starrust Converter
There are more expensive options, then there’s the MRO Chem Black Star Rust Converter. This stuff costs as much for a quart that other products give you a gallon for, and if you go for the 2-gallon option you’re spending more than three times as much.
You are still getting top-quality product which is certainly worth the extra cost. You can instantly turn rust in the coating of polymer resin. The coating is durable and easy to paint, making it great for areas with high visibility.
It’s also super easy to apply, making it easier to finish the job with the exact results you’re looking for. It can be used on metal, fiberglass and body filler. This allows you to apply one product on any surface to repair rust issues on your vehicle.
So sure you’re spending a lot more than any other option on our list, but you’re also going to love the results which makes it far easier to justify the higher price tag.
There are pros
- Buy in bulk
- Paint over is easy
- It is very easy to use
- You can use it on any surface
10. Permatex 81849 Rust Treatment
Permatex 81849 Rust Treatment might be the last product on our list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth checking out. For starters, it’s an affordably priced product, which is a huge deal if you don’t have the largest budget.
It can be applied by spraying or brushing it on a particular area. You have the option to decide whether you need a fast or precise application. It’s also an automotive-specific rust treatment product, and that means it works great on metal, fiberglass, and body filler, just about anything that rusts on a vehicle.
Moreover, it both treats the rust and acts as a primer, so if you are looking to paint over the affected area, it’s ready to go right after Permatex 81849 Rust Treatment dries – typically after 24 hours.
But while there’s a ton to love with this product, it did fall to the bottom of our list for a reason. First, it’s not great for larger projects simply because it comes in a smaller container size. But more important, it’s not as effective as the options further up the list.
While it can handle smaller spots of rust, if the rust gets a little more severe then it’s going to take a little more Permatex 81849 Rust Treatment to tackle the problem and fix it for you.
There are pros
- Accessible pricing
- Spray it or brush it onto a surface
- They both treat rust and act as primers
- Use fiberglass or body filler.
- It’s not as effective as other products
- Not great for larger projects
Rust Converter Buyers' Guide
With so many great rust converters and inhibitors, it’s only natural to have a few questions about what you need and which option is the right one for you.
We completely understand, and it’s why we came up with this comprehensive guide to walk you through everything you need to know to get the perfect product for your vehicle the first time.
What you need to do about Rust
When you see a little spot of rust on your vehicle, it’s not something you’ll want to ignore. The problem with rust is that once you have a little, it doesn’t take long to get a lot.
Rust is a disease that spreads rapidly, especially if it's given the right conditions. The worst part is that even though our products can stop rust spreading or eliminate it altogether, eventually the rust will consume entire components. Once it has rusted through, the inhibitors or converts may be of assistance.
So, if you do see a little rust on your vehicle, it’s in your best interest to treat the area right away to prevent more expensive problems in the future.
What is the Rust Conversion Cost?
If your vehicle has some rust, it’s only natural to wonder if a rust converter can do the trick or if it’s time to replace the component. Consider how much rust is on the vehicle's surface.
Large areas of surface rust are perfectly fine for a rust converter, and as long as it’s surface rust they can fix the problem for you. The problem arises when it’s no longer surface rust and it’s gone a bit deeper and ate through more of the material.
Rust converters can only convert rust from the area that’s still there, they’re not going to rebuild any components. That’s really the key factor to consider when trying to determine if a rust converter will work for your job.
If you could sand off the rust and repaint the surface a rust converter will work, but if sanding off the rust would result in a structurally deficient component, then it’s not the way to go.
Which amount are you able to afford?
You don’t want to purchase more than you need, but you also don’t want to get halfway through the job and realize you didn’t get enough. We completely understand, and that’s why we wanted to give you a little guidance and clarification here.
In short, as long as you’re working on an automotive project, you shouldn’t need more than 10 ounces of product for your job. That’s more than enough rust converter to cover an Complete exhaust system, and it’s unlikely that you need it for an entire exhaust system.
If you are completing a larger project you can purchase up to 20-ounces, but it’s probably going to be a little more than you need.
Are You able to Paint It Over?
Yes! A rust converter has the advantage that you can treat any area as many times as you like. You don't have to do it all. Can be done doesn’t mean you Have To be done.
Most of the rust converters on our list also act as a primer, so if you’re looking to paint over them, then they’re ready to go as soon as you’re done.
Keep in mind, however, that Most Most of our products dry in black. This means if you’re treating your vehicle in a visible area, it’s not going to dry clear or match the color of your vehicle. It will dry black, and there’s a good chance it’ll be pretty noticeable.
However, since most of the time rust occurs on components underneath your vehicle, the black appearance that they give off usually isn’t too big of a deal, and there’s no real reason you need to paint over it.
RELATED : Five Ways to Get Car Paint off (5 Methods)
Aerosol vs Liquid
When you’re looking at purchasing a rust converter, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want an aerosol or a liquid. Although both are excellent at converting rust into a liquid, each has its pros and disadvantages.
Aerosol products are easy to apply, which is why there's a benefit to using them. Simply point your sprayer at the desired area, and then spray. It is easy to cover large areas quickly and can be returned for another coat within seconds.
Spray cans also allow for easier application in hard-to-reach areas, since they can be sprayed directly to it instead of having to reach the surface. It is possible for rust to get in all sorts of places, so this can be a big benefit.
However, if you’re looking for a precise application like you often need in high-visibility areas on your vehicle, aerosol cans might not be the way to go. They’re notorious for “over-spray” which can discolor some of the surrounding areas that weren’t dealing with rust in the first place!
These are the places where liquid rust convertors flourish. Because you have control over the application tool, it is possible to apply liquid rust as accurately as you want without worrying about any misapplications.
However, if you’re trying to apply it in hard-to-reach places, you’ll need to invest in some sort of sprayer to get the job done. The average cost of liquid rust conversions is less than that of aerosol cans.
If you are a mechanic or have lots of rust to get rid of, liquid options can make more sense.
Water-based and oil-based Rust Converters
Another decision you’ll need to make when picking out a rust converter is whether you want a water-based or oil-based product. There’s no wrong answer, but there are key differences between the two options.
Water-based options are generally more environmentally friendly, and they don’t typically stain and discolor other components if they get on them. However, they typically don’t act as a primer, so if you do plan on painting the surface they’re not always the best choice.
However, oil-based rust convertors do an excellent job of covering surfaces and serving as primers. They’re very easy to use, but they’re generally not as environmentally friendly, and you need to be very careful about what they get on.
There’s no wrong choice here, just know what you’re getting and what you need before making a decision!
Sanding Down or Rust Converters
If you notice rust in your area of concern, it is best to sand the entire thing down and prime it before painting it. It’s an extremely effective repair process, and if you do it correctly it keeps rust from coming back any time soon.
However, there’s no doubt that it’s a labor-intensive task, and the more times you sand something down, the less product you have to work with. Eventually when you’re sanding, you’re going to sand right through it!
That’s why we prefer using a rust converter. You’ll need to pull off any excess paint flaking, but you can skip the entire sanding process. You can use the rust converter to save certain areas or reduce the risk of the entire area rusting.
It’s also a lot less labor-intensive, which means you get the job done quicker and can move on to the next thing! The right rust convertor will prime your machine for you. This rust converter does both steps in one application. It is truly a win-win situation.
There’s nothing wrong with the traditional repair if that’s the way you want to go, but there’s no doubt that rust converters make it easier and are just as effective at stopping the spread of rust.
Applicable PPE Basics and Precautions
It doesn’t matter if you go with a water-based environmentally friendly product or with a flammable aerosol, when you’re applying a rust converter you want to wear the proper protective equipment.
This means always wearing gloves and ensuring that you don’t inhale any vapors. These products are great for removing rust from your car, but they can also cause skin irritation and damage to your respiratory system.
Even if you don’t think that it’s causing a problem right now, they can lead to long-term damage in the future. If you don’t believe us, just check out the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) that are available for each product. They’ll break down all the potential causes for concern, and you can mitigate them by using the proper protective equipment.
If you’re starting to notice rust spots on your vehicle, don’t ignore them or resign yourself to a rusted vehicle. Treat it early and you won’t even have to worry about sanding anything down or putting in a ton of elbow grease.
Just don’t put it off too long, because rust does spread, and the longer you wait, the more likely it’ll start to rust completely through components, leaving you with unsightly holes you have to deal with.
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