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Vehicle: VW sedan (unibody)

I've noticed significant corrosion approx 2cm / an inch in diameter underneath the front passenger door sill plastic cover. Basically as soon as I pressed on the rust with a single finger, it crumbled and I ended up with a small hole, I then removed some other weak bits around it to end up with the following:

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enter image description here

The rest of the car's body is actually in good condition rust wise, there's nothing other than a rock chip or two on the hood. The outer door sills and the pinch weld area where the jack points are all look good.

I've also checked under the other door sill panels and there's nothing, so I assume this one was damaged perhaps when someone was getting in and then left for years.

  1. How bad is this in terms of structural integrity? I've seen this question: How serious if corrosion on the inner sill of a Ford Focus?, but my understanding is that the rusted panel in my case isn't actually the inner seal, that would instead be the white piece visible through the hole (which I've inspected and it's in good condition).

    It obviously needs to be fixed, but is it a case of don't drive it until it is?

  2. The only reasonable repair here is to cut all rust out and weld in a new piece, am I correct? I'll likely be giving some body shops a few calls, but I want to know where I am with this.

I'm treating this as a project car, so I'm considering repair options even when it may not necessarily be economically viable otherwise.

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How bad is this in terms of structural integrity?

From what I see, this will not affect structural integrity much if any at all. There shouldn't be any issue driving the vehicle.

The only reasonable repair here is to cut all rust out and weld in a new piece, am I correct?

Yes. Absolutely.

The big thing to remember is, the rust won't magically go away. Until you do something about it, it will continue to eat at the door frame and sooner or later will cause structural issues. The other thing to remember is, you're only seeing part of the rust. I'll guarantee you there's a ton more sitting inside the metal you can't see. Rust is like cockroaches ... if you see some, there's always more hiding where you can't see them. The sooner you take care of this completely, the better off you'll be in the end.

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    I'll guarantee you there's a ton more sitting inside the metal you can't see. - This means inside that same body panel around the hole, where the bubbled up paint is and beyond - correct?
    – user4520
    Commented Apr 28 at 13:11
  • @user4520 - Inside around the hole as well as out. Commented Apr 28 at 16:53

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