A professional can charge as much as $25 for removing a small dent from a car. The fact is: anyone can remove minor dents and one need not even have complicated or expensive tools and gadgets for the task. Minor dents in a car can easily be removed using tools and materials that are usually available in most households. Let us take a look at some easy ways to get dents out of car panels.
1. Plunger or suction cups
A suction cup or a plunger used for unclogging drains and toilets can also easily remove small and large, shallow or deep dents. Simply wet the dented area and install the cup. Now pull on the handle of the suction cup or plunger. You can also mount a suction cup on a slide hammer and give a quick blow to pop out the dent. For very large and deep dents, you can use vacuum suction cups. These operate on electricity or remote power source and create negative pressure or vacuum to quickly remove larger deeper car dents.
For faster dent removal, try pouring a bit of hot water on the dent before applying the suction. Alternatively, spread some Vaseline/petroleum jelly to lubricate the area and pull out the dent with suction.
2. Using a slide hammer
Consider investing in a dent removal tool called the slide hammer; it is indeed the easiest and most effective way to pull a dent out of a car fender. It is readily available in auto parts shops for less than $20. Note that this is a slightly complicated method for removing dents, but it definitely works and shows great results.
Use an awl to punch some holes in the dent, at a distance of a half an inch apart. The slide hammer has a screwed tip that you can thread into each hole. Slam the sliding arm back against the hammer’s handle and straighten out the dent. A single blow will do the trick. Go on to the next hole if needed and repeat the steps.
3. Bare-metal the spot
Professionals use the following steps to get a big dent out of a car door panel:
- Using regular electric drill attached with a grinding disc, drill the area three to four inches beyond the dent.
- Buy a plastic filler and a hardener from an auto part shop or online. The filler is available in quart or gallon sizes while the hardener comes in a tube and costs less than $10.
- It is very important to mix the hardener and filler properly. Use the mixing instructions given on the product label. For most dents, you will need a glob of filler no larger than the size of a large lemon and a strip of hardener about an inch-long. Mix the two in a metal container or on a cardboard sheet.
- The mixture sets very quickly and on hot days, you have only 5-7 minutes before it sets. Avoid working on very cold days or in humid conditions. The mixture will not set properly.
- Use body repair compound plastic applicator to apply the mixture. You need to only apply a light coat until it is built up to an eight or quarter of an inch above the surface.
- The filler should be set but not hardened. You can test this by scratching it with a fingernail; it should not come up in a glob but you should be able to scratch it.
- Next, you need to use a tool called Surform which is a plane attached to different kinds of blades.
- Carefully shave off 80-90% of the built-up filler and let the repair set. This will take 30-45 minutes.
- Follow this with sanding using a 40 or 100 grit sandpaper attached to the sanding block.
- Apply primer and then auto-body glazing putty.
4. Spot weld dent pullers
Spot-weld dent pullers also remove car dents easily. However, you need to grind the dented area and remove all of the paint to allow an electric current to flow through the welder and car body. You can set the time on the dent puller to the correct time in seconds based on the thickness of the metal. Most modern dent pullers have a large magnet that will stick and ground the welder to the bare metal.
5. Boiling water
For mild to moderate dents, pour boiling water on the car dent metal and use a suction cup to pull it out. This method works on small dents. For larger dents, you can try the technique as well, but you will need greater suction in removing the larger dents. Use a power vacuum suction device but make sure that it won’t cause permanent damage to the vehicle.
6. Heat gun or hairdryer and compressed air
The heat gun or hairdryer method of removing car dents works exactly as the boiling water on the car dent metal technique. All you need to do is apply continuous high heat on the metal for several minutes. (If your hand hurts while holding the dryer, you can place it on a chair’s handle so as to direct the stream of heat on the dent.) As the metal heats up, it will become more malleable and also expand. For dents on the lower side of the car, you might have to use a hammer or pliers to push out the metal outwards from the other side. In tougher cases, try using a can of dry ice or frozen CO2 on the heated parts of the dent to help them pop out.
7. Using a vacuum cleaner, pot, and tape roll
This is an easy method to fix a small dent in a car. You need a pot or a bucket and a vacuum cleaner for this job. Make a hole at the bottom of the pot or bucket. Place the bucket or pot over the dent. If needed, tape the bucket/pot to the dent so that it stays in place. Switch the vacuum pressure on and soon your car will be dent-free!
8. With wooden dowels and hot glue
This is a cheap and easy method to get a dent out of a car bumper. Wooden dowels are readily available in home improvement stores. Screw-in some nails through the dowels and glue their round surfaces on different parts of the dent. The nails should be large enough so that you are able to hold them and pull them outwards to remove the dent. Allow the glue to work in order to ensure that the dowels stick firmly to the car dent. After 10 minutes, pull the dowels out using the nails. This should remove the dent as well. You will need to repeat the procedure at least 4-5 times, each time placing the dowels in different parts of the dent. For clarity, watch this video here to get an idea of how to pull a dent out with this method.
If most cases, these methods work but if you do not see the results you are hoping for, it is best to take your car to an auto repair professional.