How to Repair a Dent in a Fuel Tank

Written by jonathan pfeiffer
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How to Repair a Dent in a Fuel Tank
A dented fuel tank can compromise the look of a vehicle. (Car fuel filler cap image by Christopher Dodge from

Dents in a fuel tank can be unsightly. The fuel tank is often visible on vehicles such as motorcycles and watercraft. There are two methods for removing dents from fuel tanks. Dry ice works better on older, single-skinned tanks, while a hot glue gun, stick and filler are needed for more modern tanks.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Dry ice
  • Cotton cloth
  • microfibre towel
  • Thick gloves
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue stick
  • Stick
  • Body filler
  • Spray-on paint stripper
  • Air compressor
  • Spray gun
  • Fine-grit sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Clean and remove any debris, dust and dirt from the dent and the area surrounding it.

  2. 2

    Don a pair of rubber gloves. Position dry ice in the centre of a clean, dry cloth. Fold the cloth over the dry ice so that none is exposed. This method works best on a warm day, as the temperature difference will cause contracting of the metal, popping the dented portion back out.

  3. 3

    Move the cloth-covered ice around the dented area slowly, from the outside toward the centre. Once you reach the centre, allow the ice to remain there and check the effects occasionally. Depending on the severity of the dent, this step may take some time. Dry the area with a microfibre towel once the dent is repaired.

  1. 1

    Heat a glue stick in a hot glue gun. Apply a glob of hot glue to the centre of the dented area, then thrust a stick into the glue. Allow several seconds to pass and pull straight up on the stick. It is important to pull on the dent versus yanking on it. Done properly, the dent will pull out a bit, leaving it less deep. After pulling, allow a minute or so to pass, yank on the stick and it will come right off.

  2. 2

    Remove the paint from the fuel tank using a spray-on aircraft stripper. Apply the spray to the paint in a well-ventilated area, since this product is toxic to breathe. Wipe the painted area down after a few minutes and the paint will come right off.

  3. 3

    Wash the tank thoroughly with water to remove any paint stripping residue left behind. Apply body filler to the dented area in thin layers. Spread the layer, allow it to set up, then shape it, allow it to harden, and sand it down to a smooth finish. Repeat these actions until the filler is smooth and the dent disappears.

  4. 4

    Clean the tank and remove all fingerprints, dirt and dust. Prime the tank using an air compressor and a spray gun; this may take multiple coats. Repaint the tank using multiple coats of paint and then adding several clear coats to protect the paint followed by many levels of wet sanding.

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