How to Bang Out Car Dents

How to Bang Out Car Dents

Bodywork used to be easy—you got a dent? Just bang it out. However, banging on a plastic or fiberglass body panel is likely to do nothing but make the dent worse or even punch through the panel. So basic auto bodywork depends in large part on what your car's made of—find out the material of your panels before going any further.

If your car's panels are made of metal, which is pliable, you can bend small dents back into shape. Either an indentation will pop back to its convex form, or you can rework the shape of the metal. If you have plastic panels, duct tape your dents together as best you can and head for the nearest auto body shop. If you are feeling ambitious, consider ordering and installing your own replacement plastic panels from the dealer. Many plastic panels on modern cars simply click into place.

TOOLS:

• Auto body or planishing hammer

• Wheel chocks

• Metal dolly

1 Level the dent. Starting on the outside of the panel, use an auto body hammer to lightly pound the ridge of raised metal around the dent. You don't need to flatten it completely, but do your best to return this ridge to the level of the surrounding panel. Be aware that this will likely hurt the paint, and so if you're reworking a dent, you might also have to repaint.

How to Bang Out Car Dents

2 Hammer the back of the dent. With the car on a flat surface, in gear or in park, block the tires with wheel chocks and put the parking brake on. Reach under the wheel well to access the back of the dent. You may be able to access a dent in the front fenders by raising the hood or in the back fender by opening the trunk and removing panels. If you hammer straight into the back of a dent, you will almost certainly end up punching through the metal. Instead, reach around to the front of the dent and hold a metal dolly (which looks like a metal bar of soap) against the outside of the dent while you hammer against the inside. If your arms aren't long enough to reach both sides of the dent, you'll need a helper to hold the dolly while you hammer. Hammer the dent, from the front and back if necessary, braced against the dolly, until it smooths out.

How to Bang Out Car Dents

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