How to fix a dent in a car

How to fix a dent in a car

A dent in the car – so easy to come by and oh, so expensive to get fixed. Almost makes you want to save those expensive panel-beating rates and do it yourself, doesn’t it? Oh, if only you knew how. Well, fixing minor dents is actually not that difficult. With the right tools you can do it yourself – really. Here’s how to go about it:


Before you attempt to fix that dent make sure you’ve got the right tools and materials. You’ll want to have a couple of hammers, one ball-pein, and the other claw. Also have on hand a block of wood, an electric drill, HSS drill bits, self-locking grips and self-tapping screw, an abrasive sanding disc or wire brush, body filler kit, sanding paper, cellulose body stopper, clean rags, and a hair-dryer.


  • (1) The first step is to beat out the dent. Try pushing it out with your hands. Often the dent will simply spring out. Failing this, hold a block of wood on the outside of the dent and use a ball-pein hammer to gently beat out the dent from the inside, doing so until it is just below the level of the rest of the panel.
  • (2) If the inside of the dent is inaccessible, mark the center of it, then drill a small hole with an HSS bit. Now screw in a long self-tapping screw until about half an inch sticks out. Grip the end of the screw with either the end of a claw hammer or a pair of self-locking grips.
  • (3) Now sand down the area with an electric drill fitted with a wire brush or sanding disc. Remove all paint from the dent.
  • (4) Apply filler to the dented area with a plastic spatula.
  • (5) After allowing the filler to harden use a rasp to shape the surface. Move to coarse sand paper wrapped around a sanding block. As the shape becomes closer to it’s finish, move to a finer grade of paper.
  • (6) Check for any imperfections in the finish with your fingers. Fill these with cellulose stopper.
  • (7) Give a final rub down with fine paper.
  • (8) When you are ready to spray paint the area, cover light clusters, windows and surrounding body-work with masking tape and brown paper sheets.
  • (9) Apply aerosol primer. From a distance of about 8 inches, spray a thin coat, all the time moving the can back and forth. Apply two more coats of primer. Lightly rub over with fine paper when completely dry.
  • (10) Now apply a top coat, spraying in horizontal lines and working your way down from the top. Apply two more coats. Allow to dry thoroughly and then rub down with fine paper. About an hour later apply your final respray.

And there you have it. Fixing your own dents will require a large amount of patience and attention to detail but it will avoid putting a dent in your wallet and that makes it well worth the effort.

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