Will a Rusty Satellite Dish Still Work?

It might. The dish part of the satellite dish catches the signals coming in from space and reflects them to the receiver. The receiver is the only electronic part of the satellite dish. The dish part only acts as a mirror.

Rusty parts of the dish won’t prevent the signal from being reflected, but the problem is that the reflection must be done with precision. The signal needs to be aimed carefully into the direction of the receiver. If the rust is bad enough that it alters the direction that the signal gets reflected, it could weaken the connection or even all together stop the signal from reaching the receiver.

If there is rust, what can be done? This depends on the amount of rust. If the rust is misshaping the dish, or causing holes, it’s time to get a new dish. Before throwing it away, make sure you own the dish and haven’t just leased it from your service provider. A quick phone call to customer service should clear things up and might even mean a free dish replacement.

If the rust is only superficial and doesn’t seem to be so bad that it’s affecting the signal, you can consider painting it (again, if you own it - please check first). Paint can cover the rusty spots and won’t affect the reflection since the signal bounces off of a metal mesh inside the dish, not the surface.

Make sure you choose a non-metallic, matte-colored car paint. Being non-metallic, and matte-colored prevents the signal reflection from being warped. Being a car paint means the paint is suitable for outside use and won’t be affected by weather.

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