Black Strips on '95 Escort Roof

I have a 95 Escort. I had thought those black strips that run the length of the roof were plastic .. but the paint started coming off of them this past winter and it looks and feels like rusted metal
underneath.
So, I have two questions .. WAIT! THREE questions:
1. Am I right? Are they metal or am I imagining things? 2 How worried should I be about this rust? Should I have them replaced? 3. If I should replace them, is this do-able (and worth doing -- money-wise) by an average schmoe with a toolbox and an afternoon to kill (AKA "me") or do I need to bring it to shop?
Thanks much for any help!
Jeff
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its a 95 man... and its an escort.. does it have a lot of miles? if so.. let it rust.. if not then fix it.
if it were me i wouldnt dump any money in a 10 year old car though
Kenny

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Remove all the old paint (it comes off easily) then sand down the metal until all the rust is off, then repaint with them on the car. New ones are way too expensive, and you can't remove the existing ones without bending them, making them unusable again.
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What are those black strips for anyway?

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Aerodynamics? High-speed stability, maybe?

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