How to Repair a Dent

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Maybe your car is a casualty of the storm that brought baseball size hail the last time. You might have caused the dent yourself pulling out of the tight spot at the busy supermarket last week without realizing it; or maybe someone else did it for you. Whatever the reason, the dent is still there, and you want to fix it yourself but don’t know how. Follow some easy steps that will help you repair minor dents even if you don’t know much about body repair.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber hammer
  • Electric drill
  • Long self-tapping screws
  • Vise-grip pliers
  • Masking tape and newspaper
  • 180, 400 and 600 grit sandpaper
  • Body filler
  • Paint
  • Rubbing compound
  • Wax
  • Pull out the dent and try to get it within an 1/8 inch to the level of the surrounding area of the car body. Strike the damaged area from behind with a rubber hammer if you have access. Use a block of wood to absorb the blows at the other side of the dent and avoid stretching the metal. If there is no access from behind, drill small holes inside the damaged area, then insert long self-tapping screws half way through into the holes. Lock onto the screws using a pair of vise grip pliers and pull the damage area.

  • Sand the affected area. Sand up to an inch of the good area surrounding the dent until you remove all the paint.

  • Mark the damaged area with grooves using a standard screwdriver to help the filler hold on to the dent surface.

  • Prepare and apply the filler paste according to the manufacturer instructions following the surface shape of the area you are repairing and let it harden.

  • Remove the excess of the filler using a body file or 180 grit sandpaper wrapped around a small block of wood. As you get close to the desired level, switch to 400 and 600 grit. Wash off the dust from the repair area surface with a hose and let it dry completely.

  • Apply a light coat of primer to the affected area. After applying the primer, if there are any bad spots standing out that you want to fix apply more filler repeating steps 4 and 5.

  • Drive the car inside your garage or make sure the outside temperature is warm, dry and the wind is not blowing.

  • Mask off the trim, handles or other parts of the body close to the affected area using masking tape and newspaper to protect them from spray paint.

  • Apply several thin layers of primer to the repaired area following the manufacturer instructions. Sand the primer with 600 grit sandpaper until the surface is smooth.

  • Apply thin layers of the desired paint on the repaired area following the product manufacturer instructions reaching up to two inches into the good surrounding area until a thick layer is achieved. Allow the paint to settle.

  • Apply a fine rubbing compound to blend the new paint with the original paint and work a coat of wax to finish the job.

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