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Doug, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Mitsubishi
Satisfied Customers: 8607
Experience:  Mitsubishi employed and Factory trained ASE certified technician
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2004 Mitsubishi Outlander: fender around the rear wheel..wheel well

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The fender around the rear wheel well of my 2004 Mitsubishi Outlander is begining to rust. How can I stop the rust?

Unfortunately what you have done is your only affordable option and is not 100% effective.

You can sand down the area to bare metal in a 2" perimeter around the rust, then grind out the heavy rust. Once clean treat it with a rust converter (a product designed to neutralize rust). You will need to get this from either a higher end auto parts store or an auto paint supply store. The back side of the panel will need to be treated as well.
Once this is done, the metal can be leveled with a body filler and repainted. As I mentioned before however, this is not always 100% effective. The problem is that the rust is formed from a chemical reaction occurring in the metal, and in order to stop the reaction from occurring where the rust has not surfaced, the affected metal needs to be removed.

To rid yourself of the rust completely involves a bit more work (on a professional level). You will need to first check the back side of the panel for any signs of rust not visible on the outside, and then cut and remove 2" perimeter around any signs of rust. Once removed, the remaining sheet metal will need to be stripped another 2" perimeter around the opening so that fresh sheet metal can be welded back in. This is where the professional comes in; the panel will need to be made from scratch (a replacement rear quarter panel is over $600 and not really an option due to price). Once the panel is created and fitted, it will need to be sealed with a rust inhibitor on both sides, leveled with body filler, primed and painted on both sides.

If you have anything larger than a inch or so spot of rust, replacement of the metal is the only safe bet. If it is a very small spot you can try a repair again, just be aware that it is important that you grind away the rust completely (watching for rust-through). treat it with the rust converter, level and paint it.
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