How do I Repair a Bodywork Dent?

Written by j.d. richards
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There are two basic ways of repairing a bodywork dent on your car: pulling it out or pushing it in. A simple household plunger or a small dent puller can achieve the former. For the latter, you'll want to use a rubber mallet or, lacking that, a metal mallet wrapped heavily in cloth. Neither method requires repainting. In the best case, the bodywork will look good as new. In the worst case, some warping will still be noticeable in spite of the improvement.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Plunger
  • Rubber mallet
  • Suction dent puller

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    Plunger Method

  1. 1

    Apply petroleum jelly around the mouth of the plunger to strengthen its seal.

  2. 2

    Firmly mount the plunger mouth around the centre of the dent. Create suction by pushing the plunger handle into the mouth.

  3. 3

    Tug sharply on the handle, in a direction perpendicular to the surface of the bodywork. The bodywork will usually pop back into its original place.

    Rubber Mallet Method

  1. 1

    Access the reverse, or convex, side of the bodywork dent, if this is possible. This might mean simply opening the bonnet of your car; or you might have to remove the interior panelling on a door.

  2. 2

    Wrap the head of the mallet in cloth if you are concerned about damaging the interior of your vehicle's bodywork.

  3. 3

    Tap lightly on the dented area, checking the indented side of the bodywork frequently to measure your progress. Tapping too hard or too hurriedly can cause the surface to pop out farther than its original position.

    Small Dents

  1. 1

    Obtain a suction dent puller. These are available for around £6 from automotive shops and retail websites.

  2. 2

    Wash the dent and surrounding surface with soap and water. Attach the dent puller over the dent according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  3. 3

    Pull the dent puller away from the car slowly but firmly. The dent should pop out, potentially leaving a minor wrinkle from the force of the impact that created the dent.

  4. 4

    Open the handles to release the suction and separate the dent puller from the car.

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