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How to Remove Rust from a Campervan

Campervans are your best friend if you are an outdoor person who loves travelling and communing with nature. They are not only a means of transport, but they are also a moving home-away-from-home. You can trust a campervan to take you to and from your camping trips sufficiently stocked.

And like homes, campervans deteriorate with time and therefore need regular checks and maintenance to keep them in shape. As you use your van throughout the year, it stays outdoors, exposing it to all kinds of weather, both cold, hot, wet, and dry conditions. And because of this, as time goes on, you find that your campervan suffers from mainly two things; rust and mould.

But one of these two campervan blights is more common and deadlier than the other. And it goes by the name of rust. Too much of it can lead to the demise of your van.

Knowing this, we bring you a procedure you can follow to rid rust from your campervan, thereby helping it last longer.

Tools and materials

  • Drill

  • Wire brush head for the drill

  • Sandpaper

  • Rustins rust remover

  • White spirit

  • Primer

  • Hammerite metal paint

  • Gloves and a mask

(Find out the complete list of tools for campervan conversion and maintenance/repair)

Materials for filling up rust holes

  • Welding

  • Fibreglass

  • Body filler kit

  • Metal epoxy putty

Step #1: Sand down the rust

To remove the rust, you will need two things; a drill and sandpaper. But because you don't want to end up creating more damage (holes) to your campervan, get a wire brush head for your drill.

Drill into the rust and ensure that you get it all out. The great thing about using a drill is that it efficiently gets the job done. It is fast and effective.

Once the drill has done its job, sandpaper the hole and a cm around it to ensure that you erase any trace of rust.

Step #2: Apply Rust remover

The duration of time it will take you to remove the rust depends on the type of rust. Light rust takes around 30 minutes to remove, while heavy rust can take you up to 24 hours.

To remove any remaining rust, apply the Rustins Rust Remover. It is excellent for removing surface rust from steel and iron.

To apply the rust remover, apply the Rustins rust remover on a microfiber cloth and wipe or clean the metal with it. It will remove any trace of surface rust from the area. It will also stop the rust from spreading and doing any further damage. How do you know that the rust converter has done its job? When it turns black. But if the rust doesn't change colour, then add another layer of this tonic.

Tip: Always wear gloves, mask, and protective glasses while applying it. It's a flammable vapour that can damage your eyes and burn your skin.

Step #3: Repair the holes

Once you remove the rust, you will have holes from places with heavy rust. So, you will have to fill up these spaces using one of the following methods;

  • Welding

  • Fibreglass

  • Body filler kit

Step #4: Even up the bumpy surfaces with Metal epoxy putty

Removing the surface-rust leaves a rugged or bumpy surface. So, you will have to even them up by filling up these spaces with a substance. And there is no better filler to use than metal epoxy putty.

What exactly is the metal epoxy putty? When mixed, the epoxy forms an industrial-strength polymer compound that you can mould into any shape and use to repair or patch up any steel or iron components. It quickly repairs or rebuilds or patches up things made of metal.

To apply it, mould it in your hands till it’s warmed up, then apply it on the inside and underside of the campervan. Leave it to dry.

After 24 hours, the epoxy will harden or become rigid. When this happens, smoothen the metal surface by sandpapering the excess putty.

Tip: Wear gloves and a mask. Make sure that this protective wear covers your skin to safeguard you from epoxy. It’s toxic.

Step #5: Use white spirit to clean the area of excess epoxy putty

Step #6: Use a primer

Now that the rust is out, you need to repaint your campervan. Before painting it, add a primer layer to the metal (iron or steel). It will protect it against rust.

Step #7: Apply metal paint

For excellent results, use the Hammerite white metal paint. It provides a very smooth finish and protects metal from any weather elements.

When painting, paint both the top and the underside of the epoxy.

Step #8: Apply Underbody Seal to the bottom of the van

If the bottom of your van is in poor condition, you might want to do a proper job with an underbody seal. It gives heavy-duty protection for the underside of your campervan and other high-impact areas that are exposed to various things like stones, water, and corrosion.

For effective application of underbody seal, apply it in all your panels (both the indoor and underfloor panels). This will seal your campervan's metal surfaces against further corrosion and provide it with long-lasting protection against rust.

That’s it.


For effective rust removal, you will need to strip your campervan bear.

  • Remove all the inside panels and the flooring that comes with the van. To do so, use a power drill and Torx sockets (a set)

  • Remove the plastic exterior trim panel rims. When it comes to a campervan, you will never look at a painted car the same. It has so much rust under the paint. And it is essential to remove it before it spreads and does more damage.

  • Leave the campervan bear. This will give you room and help you assess your van correctly. Upon inspection, you will see the affected areas, and once you have marked them, you can start on the rust.

Also, carry out regular checks to maintain a rust-free campervan.

Final thoughts

To become an expert at all things van conversion, take this course. It will turn you into a guru that knows how to build your own campervan, design your floor plan, install campervan windows, fans, fridges and so on.

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