Whether a car is new or old, having a dent in the door is unsightly. Dents can range from a small ding created by the driver or passenger of a car parked a bit too close to larger dents, such as those created by an encounter with a wayward shopping cart or even from a minor car accident.
The first thought of many owners may be to live with the dent because it would cost too much to have a body shop work on the car, and the chances are that the price to fix the dent would be just shy of the insurance deductible. Owners may deem the damage not worth the expense and hassle. However, even someone not skilled in doing body work on cars could potentially fix a dent in a car door.
Most experts would argue that fixing dents is best left to the experts in a body shop; however, with the right tools and right skills, the do-it-yourselfer can get the job done at a fraction of the cost.
Do-It-Yourself Dent Repair
Don’t let a little dent intimidate you. With the right tools and the right techniques, you could possibly save yourself plenty of time, money, and hassle by fixing it yourself.
Before getting started, owners should realize that there are different methods of repair for different types and locations of dents. Some dents and locations require tools specific to car bodywork, while other types of dents and locations may only require methods that may be accomplished with simple tools commonly found in most households. There are even door ding kits available for smaller jobs, that include everything an owner needs for working on dings.
Locate the Dent
The location and extent of the dent will have an effect on the best repair method to get the job done. For example, dents that do not have any paint damage, as long as it is a fair distance from a crease or panel edge, may use a paintless dent removal method.
Shallow dents that are not near a crease could be fixed with common household items.
To begin, use a hair dryer to heat up the area around the dent, making sure to keep the dryer at least 6 inches away from the paint. Drivers may choose to use aluminum foil on the area to prevent heat damage to the paint.
Once the area is heated, quickly cool the area using a small piece of dry ice or canned air duster held upside down while spraying. The dent may pop out with the rapid change in temperature.
Another option is to use the dry ice first, placing a small piece directly into the middle of the dent. Remember, do not use bare hands to handle dry ice. Hold the dry ice up to the dent for 30 to 60 seconds, and the dent may pop out.
Paintless Dent Removal
If the heating and cooling method does not work for smaller dents, another affordable option is using paintless dent removal tools..
Paintless dent removal is done by entering the inside of the door by way of the gap where the window sits, then, in the dent area, gently pushing the dent out from the inside. This method will not work on dents that are excessively deep, creased, or those that lie on a panel edge or crease.
Typically paintless dent removal is done by auto body repair shops or through companies that have expertise in this method; however, with the proper skills, a do-it-yourselfer could use this method.
Classic Repair Options
The tried and true way of fixing dents requires much more effort, and less common tools. Depending on the extent of the damage, it still may be cost-effective to do the work at home.
The key is having the right tools, and having them on hand before starting the job.
Gather the Tools
Before starting the project, owners will need a body hammer and a dolly to bump out the dent. Depending on the size and scope of the dent, owners may need a variety of body hammers, as they come in a range of shapes for different purposes. A standard hammer is not ideal for this job and may cause more damage rather than repair damage.
A dolly resembles a small anvil, and this tool is available with various shaped surfaces. Owners hammer the dented metal against the dolly to restore the shape of the door.
If the damage is greater, owners may also need a sander with a 36-grit disc for use in removing paint before working on the damaged area. Putty knives and body filler squeegees are needed for the application of the filler, and a body working file will be used for the leveling the filler once it has partially hardened. Next, owners will smooth the filler with a stroke sander,, then apply paint by using an air compressor and spray gun.. Once the paint is dry, a buffer or polisher will help in shining up the paint.
Using a Dent Repair Kit
There are many dent repair kits on the market, from those used in paintless dent repair to sets of hammers and dollies. Some of the most common dent repair kits for smaller jobs include either a suction tool or a pulling tool. Both use the same general concept of creating pressure to force the metal that is dented back into linear alignment with the door.
Suction Cup Method
Another method to try is the suction cup method. Found in a dent removal kit, which may be purchased through eBay or an auto trader, start by placing the suction tool over the dent. The tool looks like a suction cup with a string at the other end that is pulled to apply pressure between the interior of the cup and the car’s metal.
For owners who do not want to purchase a kit, they may use a plunger for the same effect as the suction tool. As long as it is not a complicated dent, the metal may pop back in place.
For those who opt against using a suction tool, they may use the dent pulling tool,, which is also found in a dent repair kit. Place this tool over the dent and pull hard to pop the dent out. If it protrudes out, use a small rubber hammer to push it back in linearly with the rest of the body. If possible, before using this tool, place a board or a block of wood behind the metal.
How to Buy Tools for Car Dent Repair on eBay
To begin your search for tools to use for repairing car dents, start by typing in keywords on eBay&’s home page for the items you need. You may also begin your search in eBay Motors: Parts & Accessories..
The type of tools you’ll need will depend on the type of repair you are doing. For example, a smaller dent may only need a hair dryer to apply heat to pop it out, whereas a dent repair kit or more extensive set of tools may be needed for a bigger job.
Once you have narrowed down your search to the tools you’re looking for, click on the listings that are of interest to you. Be sure to carefully read the description of the items to determine if they are appropriate for the job. Read the description carefully and learn if there is a return policy.
Also, take an opportunity to get to know the seller. By clicking on the seller’s eBay handle you will be able to read feedback from past customers to determine the seller’s reliability. eBay’s most trusted sellers are listed as PowerSellers, as they sell have a history of positive feedback and volume sales.
There are two options for fixing dents in car doors: Take the car to the body shop, or attempt to fix it at home. With the right tools, proper instruction, and a door that cooperates, it’s possible to fix a dent much more cheaply at home than for what a body shop would charge.
There are several methods that may be used to repair a dent, depending on its location and extent of damage.
Simpler methods include using a piece of dry ice or dry ice in combination with heat from a hair dryer to create a quick temperature change that could cause the dent to pop itself out. Along the lines of simpler methods, kits utilizing suction tools or pulling tools may also get the job done.
More complex methods used are paintless dent repair, which involves getting into the inside of the door and gently pressing the dent out, as well as the conventional methods for repair. This method uses hammers and dollies to pop the dent out, and may require extra tools to prepare the damaged area for painting.