Undercarriage rust repair cost: Is it worth repairing undercarriage rust?

By: Mr. Jeremy Lessaris / Read more about us.

When you see a rust spot on the undercarriage of the vehicle, you must take it seriously and look forward to fixing it. The cost for undercarriage rust repair can vary from $150 to $2,000 or more.

The repair cost basically depends on how extensive the rust is underneath the vehicle. However, leaving the rust how it is means the rust will gradually spread all over the undercarriage and the frame as well.

Meanwhile, in the most extensive situations, it’s better to replace the rusted parts instead of repairing them. We’ll break into all these things in this article.

How much does it cost to repair undercarriage rust?

On average, the cost to repair the undercarriage rust of any vehicle ranges from $250 to $400. However, the cost can be as little as $150 and can also make you spend up to $3,000 if it’s too extensive.

Although you may not often look underneath your vehicle and worry about the rust damage, it can have a serious effect on the vehicle’s performance.

The components that make a vehicle’s undercarriage are –

  • Exhaust system
  • Front and rear axles
  • Transmission system
  • Brake lines
  • Muffler
  • Gas tank, etc.

Any type of dirt, debris, mud, or rust can affect the components badly. However, it’s a matter of concern that most of the users don’t even know what actually creates undercarriage rust.

Most of the undercarriage parts of a vehicle have steel, aluminum, or titanium construction. However, the presence of iron in these metals makes them prone to rust.

When the iron comes in contact with moisture, the oxygen makes a chemical reaction with it that is known as oxidation. And oxidation consequently results in the rust in these several undercarriage parts.

Now depending on the extensiveness of the damage, it has three different rust repair categories –

  • Minor rust repair
  • Moderate rust repair
  • Major rust repair.

Repair cost

Minor repair cost$100 to $180
Moderate repair cost$220 to $500
Major repair cost$700 to $3,000
Labor cost$50 to $150

Minor rust repair cost

The minimal size of rusty spot underneath the vehicle requires the least expenditure for the repair. You are not supposed to pay more than $150 to $180 even if you hire a technician for the job.

However, the cost mostly stays below $100 when the owner does it himself.

  • Having rusty spots of 2 or 3 inches.
  • A simple dent or perforated spot.
  • Easy to heal the damage.

Minor rust means there’s a rusty spot on any parts of the vehicle’s undercarriage. This doesn’t include any dents or perforated spots on the car.

A simple degreaser is enough here to wash that particular spot and get rid of the rust. Even if there seems a little dent, it won’t take much labor to fill that little 2 or 3 inches spot.

Moderate rust repair cost

When damage due to rust has reached the depth or there’re several rusty spots noticeable, you can expect to pay from $250 to $500 to fix or repair it including the labor cost.

However, the damage here is not as simple as it was in the minor rust category. Therefore, it’s often suggested to go to a technician to get your vehicle out of this situation and not extend the damage anymore.

  • A thick layer of rust.
  • 6 to 15 inches of rusty area.
  • Holes were created due to the extensive rust.
  • Sometimes need replacement of parts.

The type of damage one can notice in this situation is having a large rusty layer on any undercarriage part. Even if you try using a grinder to remove the rust, the layer will eventually come out.

The thick rusty layer can often create holes in any crucial part, which can cause a bad impact on the performance.

Moreover, having small to large holes due to the extensive rust is another common thing here. Sometimes, it may not be enough to fill up the hole to uphold the performance,

And in that circumstance, you have to replace that particular part, which can surely double the entire repair cost.

The major rust repair cost

Although you can still take the repair process as a cost-effective process, it won’t remain anymore when there’s major damage. Repairing this damage will eventually charge you more than $1,000.

Well, the cost was excluding the labor cost and that brings us to the decision that major repair is a costlier process any day.

  • The rust has reached its peak.
  • Rust it touching the vehicle’s frame.
  • It has affected the bumper.
  • The parts are almost done working.

So, these particular situations define that the vehicle is no more in the situation for use. The severe damage has a long-lasting impact on the other parts of the vehicle as well.

It has taken up the coating on the frame under its gulf. Moreover, the shiny, polished bumper is now subject to dents and rusty surfaces.

What’s the cost to replace any undercarriage rusted parts?

Here comes the most difficult task choosing whether to repair or spend more than $5,000 to replace any undercarriage rusted parts. However, the type of damage will eventually let you decide.

Meanwhile, replacing any of the rusted parts is an expensive process compared to the repair. Muffler, transmission system, axles, etc., are crucial parts of any vehicle that is known to all.

But what may be unknown is the replacement cost. So, check out the chart below.

Undercarriage rusty partsReplacement cost
Front and rear axles$800 to $1,800
Transmission system$2,000 to $3,700
Exhaust system$800 to $1,500
Muffler$750 to $1,100
Brake lines$1,200 to $2,000
Gas tank$1,300 to $3,000

Replacing front and rear axles

It’s not every time the situation that your vehicle needs a replacement for both front and rear axles. The front axle replacement cost ranges from $600 to $850.

On the other hand, rear axle replacement cost ranges from $550 to $1,000. Meanwhile, the axle shaft replacement can charge you up to $900 on average.

Replacing transmission system

If you don’t maintain the transmission properly, there will be problems like difficulty in gear shifting or gear slipping. You can get a minor repair for $1,200 to get rid of the transmission issue.

However, often repair doesn’t solve everything, and then you have to move to one of the most expensive replacement parts of a vehicle. Transmission replacement can cost you up to $4,000.

Replacing exhaust system

You don’t often need to replace the exhaust system as the average longevity is up to eight years. However, the replacement cost can be as little as $400 and as high as $1,500 regardless of cat-back and axle-back exhaust systems.

However, galvanized steel and aluminum are two of the most common metals used to construct the system.

Meanwhile, a muffler is a component that reduces the noise in the exhaust system. And for the replacement, you can expect to pay at least $900 including the labor charge here.

Replacing brake lines

You have to decide whether to replace all four brake lines or a single one at first. Replacing a single brake line may cost you $300 to $500. However, don’t forget to add the labor cost.

Meanwhile, the entire brake line replacement cost highly depends on which type of vehicle you have, the model, and the year.

Replacing gas tank

If you are replacing the gas tank on a low-end vehicle, then you can expect to pay nearly $900 to $1,200 for a complete replacement.

In the opposite circumstance, the gas tank replacement can charge you up to $3,000 for the latest Audi model.

Cost to prevent undercarriage rust

To keep your vehicle’s undercarriage rust-proof in the long run, prevention is the best way for you. Rust-proofing or undercoating can cost you somewhere from $350 to $500 on average.

There’re two options to get the job done here. One is to do it yourself or take the help of a professional. In terms of professional dealerships, the total cost can be doubled sometimes.

Undercoating makes the bottom of the vehicle and the related parts highly rust and corrosion-resistant to uphold the performance in the long run.

The cost to repair rust on the car frame

Repairing rust on the car frame always stays on the costlier side as the cost ranges from $2,000 to $3,500. However, the cost depends on the rust type, vehicle year, model, etc. things.

If you have made up your mind to do the removal job on your own, that is going to save a lot of bucks for sure. Any professional will charge you an hourly rate.

However, the intensity of the rust may not support mere repair every time. Consequently, the repair turns towards replacement. Meanwhile, either replacement or repair can reduce the vehicle’s resale value.

What impacts the undercarriage repair cost mostly?

Anyone, who has come through previous sections of this article, can calculate the repair cost for his/ her own car or truck. However, it still remains a mystery for many of our readers what really impacts the repair cost?

Our research team has worked hard to give a clear answer and solve the mystery.

Bad the rust is down there

The condition of the rust is the most crucial factor that decides the cost of the repair. The cost is minimal when there’s a small rusty spot underneath the vehicle.

In case the spot becomes larger or it changes into a dent, you can expect to pay double the previous charge.

However, a thick layer of rust or holes due to rust can charge you the highest amount of money for the repair.

Undercarriage metal type

Aluminum, steel, and titanium are three of the most used metal underneath any vehicle. However, steel has more portion of iron in it, which makes it prone to rust.

However, aluminum and titanium are costlier and also need protective layers after repair. Therefore, these two metals turn out comparatively more expensive than repairing steel.

Hours does a repair take

Unless the damage is minimal, it’s hard for the owner to repair on his own. And when a professional is handed over the task, he’s going to charge you based on the repair time.

Repair or replacement

You can decide on the rust condition, but consulting an expert can make it easier. But what you need to know is that replacing any parts underneath the vehicle is more expensive than repairing it.

What type of vehicle it is?

The area of repair is large is a truck than it’s on a car. Therefore, the vehicle type impacts the cost. Moreover, removing rust from an aged vehicle is far more a difficult task.

Can you fix the undercarriage rust yourself?

Yes, you can fix the undercarriage rust yourself as long as it remains a simple rusty spot or dent. Doing the job yourself might take a while compared to a professional, but it’s a cost-effective option any day.

What kits do you need for the repair job?

If you consult a professional, he is supposed to bring the tools required for the job. But when you are all on your own, you must collect the following tools first.

  • Wire brush
  • Grinder
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint scraper
  • Degreaser
  • Water hose
  • Rust converter
  • Paintbrush
  • Metal coating etc.

Is it worth repairing undercarriage rust?

You can’t think of getting a good performance from the vehicle in the long run as long as the undercarriage has rusty parts. So, it’s anytime worth repairing the damage underneath the car or truck.

But what makes you think about the repair is that the high cost can bring you a replacement for the same part. Fair enough because sometimes the damage is so dense that it turns impossible to take it back to the previous look.

When the rusty layer is so extensive, there can be irreparable holes. In that circumstance, it’s better to replace the part instead of repairing it.

The entire damage may let you spend a lot of money to uphold the vehicle’s performance. However, one must know how to calculate the cost before taking it to any technician.

  • Extensive rust underneath can be costlier.
  • A small rusty spot or dent leaves an affordable repair option.
  • Professional charges on an hourly rate.
  • Rusting on old cars is hard to remove.
  • The vehicle’s model has an impact on the repair cost.

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