How to Replace Auto Body Panels

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Many times when a car is damaged in a collision or has a rusted area that is beyond repair, the damage is confined to one body panel. Attempting repairs or taking the car to a body shop can become expensive. With many companies offering replacement body panels to the public for almost any make or model of vehicle, replacing auto body panels in your driveway has become easy. With the use of a new body panel and a few tools, it can be done in less than an hour.

Things You'll Need

  • Ratchet
  • Socket set
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Replacement panel
  • Remove the old or damaged auto body panel. Reach the panel by looking under the vehicle and removing the plastic protective skirting using a Phillips screwdriver. Several Phillips screws hold the skirting in place. Remove the screws and pull the skirting back out of the way.

  • Look behind the panel and locate the bolts that are holding it to the car. There are several metal tabs that come off of the panel and attach to the car, usually located along the bottom, top and sides. Reach behind the panel from the bottom and open the hood or truck. Remove the bolts completely, but save them and the nuts to use on the new panels.

  • Pull the old panel off of the car. Notice where the tabs and bolt holes are located and compare their positions to the new panel to make sure the new panel is going to fit properly. Most replacement auto body panels don't come with hardware, so you must use the old bolts and nuts. If one is lost, take one that you have to a hardware store to compare sizes and buy replacements.

  • Insert the bolts through the tabs and tighten the nuts onto the bolts with the ratchet and a socket, to replace the auto body panel on the car. Replace the plastic skirting underneath the vehicle and replace the Phillips screws.

  • Photo Credit detail of vintage british car, fender, wheel, and image by Bo Widerberg from Fotolia.com
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