How to Do Your Own Auto Body Dent Repair

January 27, 2012

Auto body dent repair can be done on your own provided that you are comfortable with the steps and processes associated with this type of repair. Such a repair should be done to your car for small to medium size dents that do not require the replacement of a panel or door and can easily be performed.

If you have some minimal DIY skills, performing your own auto body dent repairs should be easy to do. If you are reading this article and have never picked up a tool of any type, you would be better served taking the car to a service center such as MAACO to have the repair done.

Determine the Extent of the Damage

If the area in need of repair does not contain any ripples or bumps you should be able to perform the dent repair. Damage area that is dented more severely requires the use of tools and techniques that you may not have access to or are beyond the scope of your skills. For such damages, take the car to an auto repair shop.

Performing the Repair

Clean an area that is 4 to 6-inches around the dent in all directions. Dry the area with a towel to ensure that it is completely clean and free of dirt and debris. This will make it easier to use the tools necessary to repair the damage, such as a plunger and drill.

Tools and Materials Needed

You will need the following tools in order to perform the dent repair:

  • Drill
  • Squeegee
  • Twist Drill Bit (about 1/8-inch)
  • File
  • Dent Plunger
  • Sanding Block
  • Sandpaper
  • Disk Sander
  • Sanding Disks
  • Newspaper
  • Masking Tape
  • Cloth
  • Metal Primer Spray
  • Acetone
  • Auto Body Glazing Putty
  • Auto Body Filler
  • Sanding Mask

Repairing the Dent

Take the plunger over the dent and depress until a tight seal is formed between the panel and the head of the plunger. Take a good grip and gently pull the plunger in order to pop the dent out of the metal. You will need to sand the area with a disk sander, wiping away the resulting dust with a cloth. Clean the area with the acetone solution.

Fill the dent with the auto body filler, which is applied using a squeegee. The coat application should be about 1/4-inch thick. Once you fill the dent area, allow some time for it to cure. Take off any excess filler using a file until it matches the depth of the panel’s surface. You should continue sanding the area with the block sander and a low grit sandpaper until it is perfectly smooth and matches the car’s shape.

Cover the area of the panel that was not sanded with newspaper and masking tape. Spray metal primer onto the dent and allow it to dry. Use a higher grit sandpaper (220) to sand the area, feathering the edges. Apply the glazing putty with the squeegee in order to remove any remaining surface scratches. Prime the area again, repeating the steps and sanding it off. This competes the dent removal and now you should be ready to paint the car.