How to Repair Car Dents

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How to Repair Car Dents

Dings and dents to car body panels are hard to avoid and are a common occurrence. Whether it is a bump from another car door, a runaway shopping cart in the parking lot, or a bigger dent from contact with another car's bumper, dents to a car are aggravating and costly. With the right materials, some basic tools, and a bit of technical skill, vehicle owners can repair car dents and save some cash in the process. Depending on the type of dent, owners can use multiple methods to pop out the panel and restore its original appearance. Having the right tools and materials can help the process to go smoothly.

Tools Needed to Repair Body Panel Dents

Occasionally smaller car dents can be popped out without damage to the paint surface on the exterior of the vehicle; this process is called paintless dent repair. More severe damage to a body panel often requires drilling, pulling, filling and painting body panels. Depending on the repair method, different tools are necessary.

Tools or Materials


Paintless dent repair tools

Popping out small panel dents

Drill and drill bits

Drilling holes for slide hammer

Slide hammer

Pulling out large dents in heavy metal panels

Welder and welding rods

Welding rods to dents for drill-less dent pulling

Suction cup dent puller

Pulling dents on flat panels

Locking pliers

Pulling welding rods attached to body panels

Body Filler

Smoothing body panels


Various grits for sanding body panels and filler

Sanding block

Holding sandpaper and providing a flat working surface

Slide hammers come in various sizes. Unless the panel is on a heavy vehicle or truck, smaller slide hammers are sufficient to pull a car body panel. Small garage welders are capable of properly attaching welding rods for body panel pulls.

Paintless Dent Repair

Small dents or parking lot dings that have not broken the paint can often be repaired with a paintless method. The ability to pop out a small dent depends on whether it is possible to gain access to the backside of the panel in which the dent exists and whether the dent is on a flat surface or a contoured body seam. Mechanics can remove door dings by pushing out from the inside by removing the interior door trim panel or drilling a small access hole for the dent removal tool in the door latch panel. Consult a repair manual for the vehicle for proper trim panel removal instructions or to be certain not to drill into interior door components.

Repairing Larger Dents

Larger dents or dings that involve a contoured panel of the vehicle generally require the use of a dent puller and body filler to restore the panel to its original condition. Suction dent pullers can often pop out a larger dent. Slide hammers can remove dents in heavy panels but require drilling holes in the panel for the screw attachment to grab.

Prepping the Dent Repair for Painting

After pulling the dent, filling holes, and smoothing the body panel with body filler, mechanics need to prep the surface for painting. Use 80 to 250 grit sandpaper to remove excess filler and sand down to a smooth straight surface even with the undamaged portion of the panel. Using 400 grit sandpaper gives the surface a perfectly smooth finish to accept the paint. Sand slightly into the paint around the panel repair for proper paint adhesion when blending color into the surrounding area. Always use a sanding block when performing finishing sanding work on body panels to keep a flat surface under the sandpaper. When the repair is complete and the mechanic has performed a proper finish prep, the surface is ready for paint to restore the vehicle to its original appearance.

How to Buy Dent Repair Materials and Tools on eBay

You can perform dent repairs if you have access to the materials and tools necessary to do the job. Sellers on eBay offer these items at competitive prices. Entering the item you are looking for into any eBay search bar displays all listings that match the keywords. Shop for tools on the eBay Deals page to get discount offers on many popular hand tools. Use PayPal to fund the purchase of the items you need to perform the dent repair and be assured of the most secure method of transferring funds between you and the seller. Repairing a car panel dent yourself not only saves the cost of paying a body tech to perform the job, it allows you to be sure you get the best results.

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