jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter)
jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter) Reader
2/13/21 2:55 p.m.

Like many of you, I have a car that sits more often than I’d like.  Projects take time, you can’t race every day, etc.

In my case, this is exacerbated by the fact that I moved from a relatively dry place (California) to a place with more moisture and salt air than I know what to do with (Hawaii) and rust now is a constant issue I am dealing with.  It’s becoming a real challenge since my car is stored outdoors at all times and there is a steady trade wind filling my car port with salt-laden sea breezes. If you’re a person, it’s absolute paradise. If you’re a car though, it’s hell.

Cans of rust oleum are my friend for sure, but one thing I’m struggling with is my brake rotors. They are relatively new, and have maybe a thousand miles at most, so overuse is not an issue. What is an issue is rust.  Here’s what they look like at the moment:

Clearly this is not as bad as it could be; it’s mostly surface rust at this point.  But I am concerned because I know it only gets worse from here, plus it’s unsightly (let’s face it, I’m vain) so I’d like to do something about it.

I’m not worried about rust on the face of the rotor itself, since that gets scrubbed off shortly after I hit the road, so what I am referring to is the rust on the hub and the edge of the rotor where the cooling vanes are. So what say you hive? I’ve searched but found nothing definitive, so is there a paint or surface prep you recommend for keeping this rust in check? Or do I just put on my big boy pants, and get better about getting some heat into my brakes and drive it?

I thank you in advance for your collective wisdom! 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
2/13/21 3:04 p.m.

Looks like a better than average brake system to those of us in Michigan....wink

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
2/13/21 3:07 p.m.

On a serious note....I have painted the hats of rotors with black BBQ paint in the past. The rust on the edge of the rotor will eventually get thick enough around here that the leading edge of the caliper will knock it off. 

corolla2tcte27
corolla2tcte27 New Reader
2/13/21 3:10 p.m.

Clean with wire brush then POR 15. 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/13/21 6:48 p.m.

Seriously speaking... mine look worse than that in the morning on my daily driver.  I parked the van tonight at 7pm, and when I go out to it tomorrow at 9am, they look worse than that.

That amount of rust will be gone before the end of your driveway.

I had a car that sat for a full year with totally rusted rotors.  I took it out, got it up to about 45, mashed on the brakes.  Looked brand new by the time I got home.

 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UberDork
2/13/21 7:05 p.m.

My Ralliart wagon sat for a few months this summer. Less salty than Hawaii, but probably just as humid. 
 

I've tried heating them up as much as I can with street driving, but the rotors haven't been truly flat since. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/13/21 7:12 p.m.

Hey, the Garage Rescue Miata's brake rotors look like that! I haven't touched the rotors yet (hello, deadlines) but Tim McNair, our favorite pro detailer, recommends this recipe:

Rust reformer

Wire brush

Eastwood high temp grey, silver or black

 

I hope to clean them up soon (deadlines). 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/13/21 7:17 p.m.

BBQ paint, wipe off the friction surfaces with a rag with brake cleaner on it, drive and enjoy. If the visual rust on the hat and periphery of the rotor does not bother you, skip the first two steps.

There is no way to keep the friction surface from rusting. It's cast iron that gets cleaned down to a bare unoxidized surface every time you drive.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
2/13/21 10:35 p.m.

Edited because I realized you meant the rust on the hats, not the friction surface.

 

I'd give them a dunk in Evaporust or similar.  I have a 3 gallon pail of some such material from Summit (Metal Rescue?) that would easily be able to do one at a time, even came with a parts pail.  I recently did a rusty water pump housing in it and it came out great.  It leaves a kind of finish coating but I wouldn't trust that, some high temp paint would be better.

 

I really like the stuff because it does not remove any base metal, just the rust.

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr PowerDork
2/13/21 10:40 p.m.

Drive it.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
2/13/21 10:43 p.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

My Ralliart wagon sat for a few months this summer. Less salty than Hawaii, but probably just as humid. 
 

I've tried heating them up as much as I can with street driving, but the rotors haven't been truly flat since. 

Okay, un-editing smiley

 

You want to work the brakes COLD, not hot.  Hot pads deposit material on the rotors, cold pads are abrasive and remove metal.

 

I've been getting hellacious morning brake grind, even in the mid afternoon when I leave work for lunch.  A firm application on dead-cold brakes clears them right up.

jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter)
jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter) Reader
2/14/21 3:52 a.m.

Thanks for the feedback y’all!  Since it’s mostly an appearance issue I think I’ll just hit them with some bbq paint (except the friction surface of course) and not worry about it anymore.

Oh, also I should really drive my car more.  That’d for sure fix it!

jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter)
jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter) Reader
2/14/21 4:21 a.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

I'd give them a dunk in Evaporust or similar. 

I think I’ll keep it simple and just wire brush them since all I’ve got for the moment is surface rust. And besides, I’m too lazy to pull out the bearing races and I’m not willing to see what will happen if I dunk those in the tank. But man that Evaporust stuff... is that some serious majik or what?!?

My favorite part is when the rust is all gone but the paint is still there! Awesome awesome stuff. 

JBinMD
JBinMD New Reader
2/14/21 11:40 a.m.
jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter) said:
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

I'd give them a dunk in Evaporust or similar. 

I think I’ll keep it simple and just wire brush them since all I’ve got for the moment is surface rust. And besides, I’m too lazy to pull out the bearing races and I’m not willing to see what will happen if I dunk those in the tank. But man that Evaporust stuff... is that some serious majik or what?!?

My favorite part is when the rust is all gone but the paint is still there! Awesome awesome stuff. 

Evaporust is great for removing rust but does nothing to protect the bare metal.  If it were me I wouldn't paint them, I would quickly wire brush off the loose rust and liberally apply ospho to the non-friction surfaces.  It's shocking how well it prevents rust from forming on bare metal for months and months outdoors.  

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