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I have a 2006 Ford Focus 1.6 auto 5 door hatchback with bubbling paint and showing rust where the rear wheel arch meets the body sill. Can this be repaired or do I need a new wheel arch and respray, or a complete sill and wheel arch.

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  • If there is a hole it needs more work or replace...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented May 26, 2019 at 10:08
  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Commented May 26, 2019 at 13:01
  • Without an image of the affected body panel(s) any answer will be pure speculation. Use the edit button to upload an image of the damage.
    – Zaid
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 12:54
  • Unfortunately the only way to find out is to start removing paint and / or poking around with a tool such as a sturdy screwdriver. With the panel still covered with paint you won't have any way of knowing how far the corrosion has progressed. Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 13:06

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The rust you can see is usually dwarfed by the rust you can't see. A lot of cars have rusty rockers and wheel arches because of the way manufacturers used to construct these parts, which was basically two pieces of sheet metal (inner quarter panel and outer quarter panel) folded together and spot welded. Because it was spot welds, and not a continuous seam, it allowed water and dust to infiltrate into the space between the two pieces of sheet metal. The water itself isn't as much the problem as the dust, which traps the water against the steel, promoting corrosion.

Unfortunately, the correct way to repair rusted body panels like this is to cut out the bad sheet metal and weld new sheet metal in its place. Some cars that have commonly rusted areas have patch panels produced by the aftermarket for this specific purpose.

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