How to use a slide hammer for dent removal

Written by jenny carver
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Slide hammers are the most popular and effective tool used in removing dents from vehicles. Body shops and collisions centres use them on large and small dents. You can purchase a slide hammer at any automotive supply store. It looks nothing like a carpenter's hammer but is a long rod with a heavy handle that slides up and down the rod, which is what works to pull the dent out. Anyone can use a slide hammer to remove dents and repair their damaged vehicle.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Slide hammer
  • Drill
  • Grinder

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  1. 1

    Drill several holes in any dent that needs repair. Drill holes, spaced about three inches apart, inside the dent. The size of the hole should be the same size as the screw tip on the end of the slide hammer.

  2. 2

    Place the slide hammer into one of the holes and screw the tip of the hammer into the hole. Make sure the tip is screwed in and secure.

  3. 3

    Slide the handle of the hammer close to the car and then pull it back away from the car. The more pressure you place on the handle when pulling, the harder the hammer pulls on the metal. Do this several times until the sheet metal begins to take the correct form and shape.

  4. 4

    Rotate the slide hammer and place it in different holes in the dent. You can use each hole several times if needed. Rotating the slide hammer allows you to pull the metal out more evenly.

  5. 5

    Pull the metal with the slide hammer until it is mostly back to its normal shape. It won't look exactly perfect but should be generally close.

  6. 6

    Grind the surface of the dent to remove the jagged pieces of metal left from the holes. Grind them until they are smooth. The dent is now ready for further repair and repainting.

Tips and warnings

  • When pulling on the slide hammer, it may pop out of the hole. This is OK and can be repaired later. Drill another hole and repeat the steps.

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