A car is one of the most expensive purchases you will ever make. You always want to protect your purchase, but sometimes accidents happen. Those accidents can leave your car with dents, dings, and scratches that will make your ride look less than fresh.
Regardless of what happened, car dents – even the small ones – can reduce the value of your car. If you are in the market for a trade-in or want to take care of it yourself, fixing a car dent can be a manageable do-it-yourself project.
So, how do you fix a car dent? It honestly depends on several factors. We will break them down so you can decide if you can address the issue or if a trip to the body shop is in your future.
Assess the Damage
With the average cost of dent repair in Australia being between $80 and $200, assessing the damage is step one in coming up with a plan to fix it yourself.
So, take a look at the dent. Are you dealing with the damage to the plastic bumper? Perhaps you are looking at a ding in the metal paneling or some paint damage. The location of the damage will determine your next course of action.
The size of the damage will likely come into play as well. Not everyone is skilled enough to fix a more sizable dent. That is when a professional needs to get involved.
Call the Body Shop for Help or An Estimate
The process of fixing a car dent might seem intimidating for you, so no one will blame you if you opt to give your nearby or favorite auto body shop a call.
The cost of any repair work will vary depending on the size and location of the dent. A small dent may not cost you much, but severe damage outside of your scope of experience may give you sticker shock. You might even be lucky enough to get some free work done if the dent is small enough – it all depends on your relationship with the shop owner.
Dent repair may need to be done by a professional if there is damage to the paint. This information is especially true if the paint job on your car is custom; not all colors are equal with car paint.
However, if you feel wily and want to give dent removal a shot, get yourself educated! Several other methods can help you pull the dent using common household products.
Use a Plunger
Alright, we know this might be a method that will gross you out, but hear us out on this one. If a plunger can use suction to unclog a toilet, then the same concept can be used to pull a dent. However, there is some prep work necessary for this to work. You will need to get a pot of boiling water ready while you grab your plunger.
Apply water to the dented area and gently push and pull the plunger. Continue pulling until the dent comes out. However, if you find this method is not working effectively, it is time to try something else. Luckily, we have a few affordable options that do not involve a visit to the hardware store.
Use a Vacuum Cleaner
A vacuum cleaner can provide enough suction effect to pull the dent. Make a hole in the base of a plastic container first. Any container will do, but a disposable container is best because you will throw it away after using it.
Cover the opening with the container and let the vacuum cleaner draw air out of the opening. With enough luck, the dent should pop out. If you are unlucky, however, it is time to return to the drawing board.
Use a Hair Dryer
Grab a hair dryer and heat the dent for about 30 seconds. From there, grab a piece of aluminum foil and dry ice. Place the dry ice inside the aluminum foil and rub the dry ice over the dent. The quick change in temperature on the metal will help pull the dent out.
This method can also work wonders if you are dealing with a dent in the plastic bumper. Considering plastic is moldable with optimal heat, a hair dryer can make the plastic bumper pliable enough to mold it back into place.
Buy a Paintless Dent Repair Kit
If none of the household product methods worked, it is time to invest in a paintless dent repair kit. A paintless dent repair kit will set you back anywhere from $40 – $50, depending on how many accessories you get in the kit. These kits include a gadget made to attach to the dent via a suction cup.
The bridge portion of these instruments has a hole in the middle, and they also feature various-sized pulling attachments. The dent can be removed by slowly pulling the suction cup away from the dent.
With these kits, the dent is popped out with very minimal effort and will likely avoid you having to make a costly trip to the shop.
Bondo is every car guy’s favorite product for simple repairs or gashes in the car’s plastic or metal. This product is similar to the stuff you use in your home to fill holes in the wall. Mix a small portion of the product equal to the size of the dent you are trying to fix and let it dry. Once dry, sand the area down. You will need to figure out the paint situation for that area, however.
A do-it-yourself approach to fixing car dents is an affordable option with the correct tools. With all the household options we went through, one of those should work without buying a paintless dent repair kit or making a trip to the body shop.
Still, if you have to drop a few dollars to make sure your ride looks as fresh as the day it drove off the lot, then understand that no one here will judge you. Sometimes, a professional is the only way to make your car look like it came from the assembly line.