3 Tips for DIY Auto Body Collision Repair

January 27, 2012

Auto body collision repair after a fender bender does not always require a mechanic. Depending on the severity, accident damage can often be repaired by the do-it-yourselfer. In fact, the newest line of collision repair products can help an amateur achieve professional results at substantial savings.

Tip 1: Use the Internet to Shop for Parts and Supplies

Replacement parts to repair accident damage are most easily obtained using the Internet. Any of the major search engines will direct you to sellers of new and used parts, salvage yards, auction sites, whatever it may take to put you together with the parts you need. Whether it be replacement door panel skins, engine parts, trunk lids, taillight lenses, or any body or mechanical parts, use the Internet to find local, national or international suppliers. Salvage yards are almost universally Internet accessible and by using the net, price comparisons for new or aftermarket parts makes shopping easier and price negotiation more effective.

Tip 2: Make a Template, Then Fill and Sand

When repairing fender bender damages, most mechanics realize that professional results can only be achieved by sanding the affected area, filling with fiberglass filler, then repeating the process several times, sanding and filling, until the surface is smooth and even. A trick of the trade is to make a cardboard template of the contours from an undamaged area and to keep sanding the high points. Filling the low points until it matches the template. For a collision repair where metal work is required, seek out a local welder, or better yet, take a welding class at an adult education center.

Tip 3: Spray Paint and Clear Coat in Short Strokes and Several Coats

The finishing touch to collision repair is in the painting. The newest paints are specially made for the do-it-yourself mechanic. These paints cover well and resist runs. Consider investing in a high-quality spray gun, but unless you have several auto body collision repair jobs, renting an air compressor should be just fine. Be certain the areas to be painted are clean and dust-free and always wear protective gear. When applying color, use short, even strokes, keeping your arm parallel to the area to be painted and six to twelve inches from the work. Avoid applying too much paint at any given time to avoid runs. Better to make several light coats over an area than to concentrate too much paint into one coat. Finally, several layers of clear coat, sprayed over time, will bring the best results to your collision repair.

The newest products and the Internet make auto body collision repair affordable and accessible to the do-it-yourself mechanics, without giving up that professional look. A repair that you can do on your own saves money now, and since it avoids an insurance claim, saves money on your future insurance premiums as well.