College Professor

Dear Scotty,

I love your videos, think you are a car genius, and wanted to ask you a question about rust developing on my car in Philadelphia. I believe it is surface rust and not rusted out, the rusted metal feels sturdy to the touch.

My Honda Civic 96 DX coupe has developed rust on back left quarter panel on a small spot on the right front fender (see pics). Until this year, it has spent most of its life in covered garages in Georgia and California (where roads were never salted). I have kept it in a garage for 7 of the 8 years while living in Philly and driven it very little. This is my first year uncovered. I drive it about 6 miles per week going back and forth to campus and its total mileage is 144,000. The rust is a result of a bad parking job I did in California in a tight garage––no collisions or wrecks whatsoever.

I love the car and would like to keep it for the next 5 years. It still drives like a clock. I have visited two Maacos, of decent repute, who have offered an inexpensive fix to knock out the rust. They both priced me an estimate of $750 for the rust removal and body work. Of course, Maaco does not guarantee body work on rust and only provides a 90 day warranty.


  1. I wanted to ask you if the use of fiberglass or Bondo in a job like this is structurally safe for repairing the panel and fender rust? They said they would sand out the rust first then use fiberglass or Bondo.
  2. How long will Bondo or fiberglass last? Is welding a realistic option? (I'd rather not pay too much as I am saving for a first house).
  3. Or should I just leave it alone and drive it as long as I can? If I did that, how long, in your view, will my Honda be structurally safe to drive?
  4. If I do go with Maaco, I will probably have them paint the entire car with a base clear coat and universal sealer. Do you recommend me doing so? Again, I just want my car to last longer and be safe, and am not sure if Maaco work is recommendable, or should I just leave it alone.
  5. Any other advice or things I should tell the shop before doing the work?

Thank you so much for your time and expertise, Scotty. I am truly grateful.

Best wishes, and ringing that bell!

Comments (11)
No. 1-3
College Professor
College Professor

Yeah it has, how long do you think it will last once we do the fiberglass combo? I’m hoping to keep the car for a while

College Professor
College Professor

Thanks Dan, I’ll call both and let them know my preference, I’ll let you know, you think the fiberglass combo can last a long time? What’s your estimate, it’s surface rust, metal still very sturdy

dirty dan
dirty dan

judging by the picture it would probably be best to take it into a professional to get done.