- Do It Yourself Auto Repair
Easy DIY Car Dent Repair
How to Repair Car Dents Yourself
Sometimes accidents happen in life from which we have need of a little madness to extricate ourselves successfully.
-- François De La Rochefoucauld
Your car has a dent and you want to repair it yourself. Some people will tell you that you’re crazy to think you can fix a dent yourself, but fortunately, you have a couple of options for easy do-it-yourself car dent removal. The tools and methods described herein will sound a little crazy but will give you a decent chance of successfully getting rid of certain kinds of car dents. Curious? Read on.
Pulling Out the Dent
There are many excellent tutorials on the Web that describe intricate and difficult methods that include drilling holes for pulling out dents. However, some kinds of dents lend themselves to an easier way of pulling them out: mere suction. Simply go to an automotive store or shop online for a suction cup dent puller that does not require any drilling. There are quite a few of these to choose from and the prices for them are not that bad, usually ranging from $15 - $30.
Suction cup dent pullers work by forming a strong seal against the car’s surface. You press the suction cup against the dented surface and then pull the dent out. If you look at reviews for these devices, you’ll find that a good number of those using them either completely removed the dent or at least decreased its severity.
You’ll have better odds of using a suction cup dent puller successfully if the dent is on a flat surface of your car, such as the hood, trunk, or a door. Rounded surfaces are not easy to use a suction cup dent puller on because of the difficulty involved in forming a strong seal against the curved surface. The odds of success further increase if you moisten the suction cup with a little bit of water prior to applying it to the car’s surface. The moisture will strengthen the seal and make the suction more powerful, giving you a better chance of pulling out the dent.
If you attempt to remove a dent with suction puller and it does not work satisfactorily, there is one other option at your disposal: pushing out the dent.
Pushing Out the Dent
Pushing out the dent is an option when pulling it out does not work or is not feasible because of the dent’s location. A dent on the round corner of a bumper, for instance, would be poor candidate for pulling out with the non-drilling method. In fact, using the push out method, I was able to repair just such a dent -- a volleyball-sized one on the rounded corner of a front bumper that was impervious to the pull-out method.
Pushing out a dent requires the use of a few odd tools. First you need access to the rear of the dent, so you can push out against it. This means that you might need a screwdriver to remove any panel that might prevent access. Second, you need to find something you can use to heat the material’s surface to make it more pliable. I have found that a hair dryer will work well to heat the surface. Third, you need a mallet so that you can push out against the dent without causing further damage.
Gather your tools and start by heating the dent from the exterior for a few minutes. When the dented area feels very warm, try pushing out on it from the interior side with the mallet. If the material gives but won’t go completely, heat it for some additional time. (Sorry for the vague suggested times – this part is trial and error.) Then try again. Eventually you should find that the material easily pushes out from the interior side with the mallet. You should be able to get the dent out completely, or at least a goodly amount. You may want to apply cool wet rags afterward to help set the material.
Repairing car dents yourself is possible, if the dent is not too complicated or extensive. If you feel that the dent on your car meets these criteria, why not give do-it-yourself repair a try? You might save some money and learn a new skill.