Unlike the body, the chassis is going to start rusting the instant you’ve stripped it, and it should be treated within a few hours of being stripped before an invisible layer of rust takes hold.
There are various ideas on how you should treat your chassis to prevent corrosion among other damages. When originally manufactured, most chassis come with two coats of paint.
The original paint has excellent rust-resistant qualities, but the paint is still prone to chipping if hit by something or when exposed to the elements. If the paint is not thick enough, a chipped area will start to rust and then spread.
One advantage of using the best chassis paint on the frame is that it gives a much smoother finish and can be painted over again if necessary.
Here is our roundup of the top chassis paints on today’s market.
7 Best Chassis and Truck Frame Paint Reviews
1. POR-15 45404 Rust Preventive Coating
The POR-15 45404 comes highly recommended as a rust inhibitor paint, which bonds very well to a rusty, textured surface.
This formulation chemically neutralizes the rust, and it forms an extremely hard and durable material once it hardens.
You can use it on the frame and on bare metal parts. You can even use this paint on bare steel sliders. Apply two coats of POR-15 and a top coat of your choice.
The POR-15 will not break down in the presence of UV rays, but its semi-gloss appearance will fade in the presence of UV rays over time.
So, if you don’t want to end up with flat paint, you need the topcoat plus an extra layer of paint. Top coating may not be necessary in areas that are not overly exposed to UV light.
This POR-15 paint has a unique curing process. While most paints evaporate to dry, POR-15 dries much faster in the presence of moisture.
Its chemistry is the opposite of conventional paints. However, we advise you to use a degreaser and metal prep in order to get the chassis ready for POR-15 paint properly.
You can prep the chassis by first removing loose rust and degrease with a water-based degreaser. Then use a metal prep to neutralize the rust.
Things We Didn’t Like
- The semi-gloss appearance is vulnerable when exposed to sunlight for a long time, especially if you fail to apply a top layer.
- Getting the lid off may also be a difficult experience, depending on the can you receive. Some users have also complained of a leaking container.
2. Magnet Paint UCP99 Chassis Saver
Chassis Saver UCP99 is a gloss black, high solid frame paint that is VOC compliant. This product does an excellent job of stopping truck and automotive corrosion.
This is a moisture-curing polyurethane formula that has a viscosity of 65 to 75 KU at 75°F. It has a flashpoint of 108°F and a maximum VOC of 2.09 pounds per gallon.
Its unique rust removal qualities allow you to apply it directly over the rusted area after less thorough surface preparation.
In fact, you only need a hand scraper or a wire brush to get rid of scaling and rusting. This formula bonds to rusty surfaces to form a strong and flexible gloss finish.
This chassis paint has a remarkable drying time of 3 to 4 hours, tack-free time of 5 to 6 hours, Mar free time of 6 to 10 hours, and a full cure duration of 24 to 48 hours.
Chassis saver has proven to give the best results when applied over rust. So, it is wise not to remove the rust from the surface completely.
Things We Didn’t Like
- The pot life of this paint is quite short. If you open the lid before you are ready to use, moisture can easily contaminate the paint, forcing it to harden in the container.
- You can’t use this product for cosmetic coating because it is not immune to direct sunlight. To avoid fading, you will have to add a topcoat.
3. POR-15 45004 Gloss Black Rust Preventive Paint
This is a high-performance rust preventive coating that can be applied directly on seasoned or rusted metal surfaces of your chassis.
It is a non-porous, gloss black coating that not only seals, but also protects surfaces of a vehicle’s frame from salt, chemicals, and water.
Its weight per gallon ranges from 9.0 to 9.2 pounds. Its viscosity ranges from 550 to 600 centipoise, and it has a flashpoint of 123°F.
The theoretical coverage of this paint is 250 to 450 square feet per gallon concerning the surface. Its dry film thickness ranges from 6 to 7 mils DFT, which is applied in 2 to 3 wet coats.
When prepping the surface for application, you can use a water-based cleaner to remove oil, grease, and any other foreign objects from the surface.
The recommended number of coats that you should apply is two, and allow 2 to 6 hours to dry before you touch with a small finger drag.
This coating efficiently adapts to the shrinkage and expansion of the chassis, due to temperature changes. It has an effective heat resistant of up to 232°C.
Things We Didn’t Like
- This coating is highly sensitive to direct sunlight. You should consider applying a topcoat if you’re going to expose it to direct sunlight for an extended duration.
- Hardened paint may jam the lid. At times you may need to pull it off with the help of a pair of pliers. Also, the state of the container may be poor.
4. Rust Bullet RBA53 Automotive Rust Inhibitor Paint
The Rust Bullet RBA53 won’t just protect the chassis of your car, but it will also repair and protect all the parts of your vehicle that are vulnerable to rusting.
This formula has a metallic gray finish that will give your chassis a unique sheen. This product can be sprayed, rolled, or brushed with automotive spray systems.
One gallon of this coating can cover about 400 square feet for every coat you apply, depending on the texture and porosity of the substrate.
The Rust Bullet paint is easy to apply. It is much thinner compared to standard coatings, making it easier to apply using HVLP automotive finish guns, roller, or brush.
You don’t need a topcoat or a primer because you can use the Rust Bullet paint as a standalone rust protective coating. All you need is a two-coat application.
Unlike most rust removal and protective paints on the market, the Rust Bullet RBA53 is tough and reliable, even when exposed to direct sunlight.
Things We Didn’t Like
- This paint takes pretty long to cure. You would have to give this coating about 72 hours to cure completely before you expose it to UV light, water, or any other substances.
- You might receive defective paint cans, which have solidified before use. Also, any inadequate preparation of the surface may lead to bubbling or flaking of the paint after a short duration.
5. Magnet Paint UCP970 Chassis Saver
Do you want to restore the original appearance of your chassis? Look no further than the UCP970 Chassis Saver. It will help you achieve a silky smooth sheen.
This moisture-curing polyurethane paint gives your truck frame an antique satin black finish. The pigment type may vary by color, but the unique one is carbon black.
This version of Chassis Saver has a viscosity of 400 to 700 centipoise at 24°C and a flashpoint of 42°C. Its maximum VOC is 2.09 pounds for every gallon of the coating.
This product has exceptional rust stopping qualities. You can apply over a rusty chassis after the marginal preparation of the surface. You can also achieve optimal results by sandblasting the surface.
This stuff chemically bonds with the rusted chassis, creating a non-porous, glaze-like finish that won’t peel, flake, or chip easily.
It works by isolating and encapsulating metal from moisture and oxygen, preventing rust from forming. This product is unaffected by hydraulic fluids, battery acids, and diesel fuel.
Prepping the surface isn’t entirely difficult. Just use a hand tool or a wire brush to remove scale and lose rust. You can also use the same tools to remove bubbling, peeling, or loose paint.
This paint takes roughly 3 to 4 hours to dry and 24 to 48 hours to cure completely. It has a tack-free time of 5 to 6 hours and a Mar free time of 6 to 10 hours.
Things We Didn’t Like
- The pot life of this product isn’t impressive. Its pot life depends on the moisture and humidity it is exposed to. It can easily be hardened if left open.
- The UCP970 Chassis Saver is not UV resistant. You can’t use it for decorative purposes. You must add a top coat to improve its durability.
6. Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel Paint
The chassis is the framework of your car, but when left untreated and unprotected from elements, it can rust and have the opposite effect.
Instead of sandblasting or use excess muscle to get rid of loose rust, there is a more effective solution that makes restoring your chassis simple and easy.
The Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel Paint is all you need. It provides a gloss regal red finish, but other finishes are available, including satin black, and leather brown to mention a few.
The recommended dry film thickness for every coat you apply ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 mils, and the theoretical coverage is 90 to 140 square feet at 1 mil DFT.
You can finger drag the paint after 2 to 4 hours and handle the surface after 5 to 9 hours. Consider recoating after 24 hours have elapsed.
Since your chassis is heavily rusted, you will first have to prime the surface with rusty metal primer. Then topcoat with gloss regal red protective enamel.
Rusty metal primer provides a sound base for the application of stop rust enamel on a heavily rusted chassis surface.
Things We Didn’t Like
- The paint seems to be thinner and watery, which may make you doubt its performance. Chances of receiving a badly dented container are high.
7. KBS Coatings 4401 Rust Seal Gloss Black
This is a good quality chassis paint that instills superior rust preventive and protective qualities to your chassis by following three simple steps.
This is an insoluble formula, but sadly there is no information on its chemical and physical properties. One thing that we know for sure is that it is a medium hazard, flammable liquid.
The performance of the Rust Seal paint relies on a three-step process that starts with a clean cleaner degreaser for getting off any grease and grime from the surface.
After degreasing, you can prepare the surface for painting with a metal prep, which is supposed to be a matching compound for the paint.
Once you have completely rinsed off the degreaser and metal prep, you can go ahead and apply the Rust Seal paint.
The paint is a self-leveling formula. So, you can brush, roll, or spray it on the prepped surface. It is a single component; so, there is no catalyst, and it is impervious to battery acid in diesel fuel.
The paint performs very well up to 600°F and has a moderate UV stability.
Therefore, you still have to topcoat this product underneath your vehicle.
Things We Didn’t Like
- The Rust Seal paint seems to be very watery, and as such, you may doubt its rust protection and prevention properties. It may also be highly flammable than stated in the safety data sheet.
Things to consider before buying a Chassis or Truck Frame Paint
If you’re looking for a permanent solution to prevent rust from forming on your chassis or new metal on your vehicle or to stop existing rust permanently, then you need top-quality paint.
You have probably come across numerous products on the market, and you have possibly read a lot of reviews about them.
You can only be able to choose the ideal product among the many if you know exactly what you’re looking for. Here’re a few buying tips to help you with your selection.
Automotive paint formulation is a very technical and scientific industry. The best chassis paint manufacturers conform to increasing environmental standards and health safety.
When manufacturers create new coatings for the auto paint industry, they must meet all of the strict regulations associated with personal user safety.
For example, the best truck frame paint products are expected to be VOC compliant in all states in America. Low VOC paints are typically preferred.
As soon as you open the lid, the vapors in the paint off the gas or generate that familiar paint smell. A strong off-gassing may be fatal.
Solvent versus Water Based Auto Paint
There are two primary forms in which automotive paints are manufactured: solvent-based and water-based paints.
Solvent-borne auto paints are based on hydrocarbons, and they might have strong odors, might be flammable, and might have strict exposure limits.
On the other hand, water-borne auto paints may be non-flammable and non-toxic because they contain a lower percentage of solvent.
A wider range of solvents is available. Therefore, solvent-based auto paints have more control of drying time compared to water-borne coatings.
Water-borne paints may fail to dry under very humid conditions, unlike their solvent-based counterparts. Water-based paints are also vulnerable to rain damage.
Single-Stage versus Two-Stage Coating
Single-stage or one-part is what the name implies in that there is one coat of paint in which the color and the gloss are combined and applied to the chassis as one.
The two-stage or two-part application involves two stages with the first being a color and the second being a protective coat. The first coat is usually applied after metal prep.
Chassis Surface Preparation
One of the most important factors to consider is the chassis surface preparation because this can significantly impact the performance of the chassis paint you use.
The best chassis paint would require minimal surface preparation. However, most truck frame paints may require you to prepare the surface adequately.
General surface preparation usually requires you to use a water-based degreaser to remove oils, grease, and dirt. You might even have to use a wire brush before degreasing.
On the other hand, rusted chassis surfaces need you to use a wire brush to remove scaling, rusting, and bubbling or peeling paint.
However, you are supposed to be careful not to over remove the rusting, since some products, such as the Chassis Saver need a rusty, rough texture to form a strong bond with the surface.
Chassis / Truck-Frame Paint Alternatives
Chassis Saver Paint vs. POR 15
Both the Chassis Saver and POR-15 paints form a strong bond with the chassis surface. So, you should never come into contact with them.
Prepping the surface is normally recommended, but these two products can be applied directly on to a rusted chassis, and they will still give good results.
They’re both moisture-cure polyurethane. So, you must apply a top coat to prevent fading when exposed to direct UV light for a long time.
According to the automotive community, Chassis Saver paints tend to have superior UV resistance compared to POR-15.
As far as the application is concerned, POR-15 provides the finest results when applied using a spray gun, while Chassis Saver provides excellent results when applied with a foam brush.
Both of these paints have a tendency of hardening when exposed to air. So, we advise you to buy a container that you can use once to avoid wastage, such as a 1-quart container.
Chassis Paint vs. Epoxy
In most cases, an epoxy coating is applied to freshly sanded or sandblasted chassis surfaces before applying the best truck frame paint you can find.
Much like chassis paint, you can use a brush or a spray gun to apply epoxy, and it is allowed to dry effectively before painting.
There are several reasons why you should use epoxy. For starters, this product is known to help the best truck frame paint to adhere to the chassis surface more efficiently.
Without epoxy as a buffer, the truck frame shiny surface may not bond very well with the paint. This may lead to flaking, peeling, and finally rusting.
Chassis / Truck-Frame Paint FAQs
Q1. How Long Does Chassis Saver Take To Dry?
You are supposed to allow three to eight hours of drying time between coats. Of course, the duration depends on humidity and temperature. You should be able to feel no tackiness when you touch a coat before you apply the next layer. Avoid heavy coats because this can cause bubbling while curing.
Q2. Can You Paint Over Chassis Saver?
Yes, you can paint over chassis saver. Within twenty-four hours, you can effectively apply a finish over Chassis Saver. You can ensure the topcoat is properly bonded by scuff sanding the Chassis Saver surface.
Q3. What is Chassis Saver?
This is a single component, VOC compliant, high solid chassis paint that is formulated for underbody coating to help stop and prevent chassis rusting and corrosion.
Q4. Do I Need a Topcoat for this to Protect from UV Fading?
Your chassis paint may fade if the finish is old and has been in bright sunlight too much also if there is a paint pigmentation problem. Keep the truck paint protected from bright sunlight by using the best chassis paint from a reputable manufacturer. But you can effectively prevent fading by applying a topcoat.
Q5. Will the Sun Destroy My Paint If I Don’t Topcoat It?
Most moisture curing polyurethane paints will be damaged if exposed to direct sunlight for extended durations. The paint may suffer bubbling or flaking.
Q6. Are Paint Vapors Dangerous to My Health?
You must be concerned with vapors emitted from solvents and paints and particles produced during sanding and rust removal. Vapors and particles are highly toxic and flammable. They can harm your lungs, and that’s why it is advisable to use low VOC chassis paints.
Q7. What Makes This Type of Paint So Special?
There are a number of things that make chassis paint special. First, this type of paint does easily penetrate rusting and bonds to the metal surface mechanically. Second, chassis paint isolates metal surfaces, locking out moisture and oxygen in order to stop and prevent rusting and corrosion.
While all paints will provide some level of protection for a while, it’s only a matter of time before moisture softens the paint and penetrates the surface, attacking the metal below.
That’s where you need the best chassis paint, such as POR-15 or Chassis Saver. Now, the secret to effective rust preventive coating is in the curing process.
Traditional paints dry through evaporation, but our top seven choices dry faster when moisture is present, and the performance of most of them is strengthened by exposure to moisture.
The idea is to use the best truck frame paint that combines incredible hardness, toughness, and flexibility. Such a coating will be practically indestructible.
Also, remember to choose a product that is safe to use. In this case, we insist that you choose a low VOC chassis to paint to minimize damage to your lungs in case you accidentally inhale the stuff.
Pat mastrincola says
The master coat 3 coat polyurethane system outperforms all the products you tested.