DIY Paintless Dent Removal

Written by tanya martinez-cardenas
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DIY Paintless Dent Removal
Minor dents can easily be repaired with paintless dent removal. (Zerstörtes Auto image by Angelika Bentin from

Instead of paying professionals hundreds or thousands to fix a minor dent on your car, try fixing it yourself. If your car runs fine, but it's not worth a whole lot, a paintless dent repair could be a project you could tackle with a few tools you may already have. If you need to buy the tools, they still will cost you less than an auto repair visit.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Gloves
  • Suction cup dent puller
  • Buckshot-filled leather bags (2, preferred)
  • Dolly and hammer set
  • Car jack
  • Lug wrench
  • Vice grip pliers (optional)
  • Body filler (optional)
  • Sander (optional)
  • Plastic punch
  • Plastic or nylon hammer
  • Slide hammer glue kit (for door repairs)

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  1. 1

    Remove the tire on the side the dent is located. Using a lug wrench, pry off the hub cap. Loosen the lug nuts before you lift the vehicle. Most cars have a spot under the car that fits the factory car jack perfectly. Place the car jack under it. Slowly raise the car by turning the jack handle clockwise. Lift the car until there is enough room to remove tire, then stop. Take off the loosened lug nuts and tire by pulling on them. Move both the tire and hubcap off to the side so they are not in your way. Now you can start working on the dented fender.

    DIY Paintless Dent Removal
    Placing the car jack in the right spot avoids car damage (changing the wheel image by Radu Razvan from
  2. 2

    Grab the suction cup dent remover from your pile of tools. Imagine a big circle enclosing your dent. With the suction cup, work from the outer part of the circle to the dent in a circular motion by placing your suction cup on the targeted spot, then pulling. Continue repeating this action until you reach the dent itself. For additional help, use the leather bags full of buckshot by tapping on the inside with enough force to push out the dent. The leather bags act as a hammer, and they are used here for their ability to fit into small spaces. In conjunction with the leather bags full of buckshot, pull on the outside of the car frame with the suction cup. If the dent pops out, you're done. If not, proceed to the next step.

  3. 3

    Remove the fender by taking off the plastic trim and the entire headlight to find the bolts. Withdraw any clips and fasteners gently because they can break. Continue to remove the bolts until all of them are taken off. The fender will now come off easily.

    DIY Paintless Dent Removal
    Fender and headlight bucket (blue sports car front end image by Michael Shake from
  4. 4

    Grab the hammer and dolly for attempting to remove the dent. Hold the dolly behind what you will hammer. Use small, short taps. It's a good idea to use the dolly, leather bags full of buckshot and hammer simultaneously to tap out the dents from the backside. This should significantly reduce the dent or wipe it out completely.

    DIY Paintless Dent Removal
    Hammer and other tools assist in your dent repair. (tool bag and tools 1 image by Warren Millar from
  5. 5

    Put the fender back in place by carefully replacing all the bolts you removed. You shouldn't need any tools, just screw them back in place. If needed, you can hammer and sand out the finishing details on the fixed dent. Feel free to add body filler where needed.

  1. 1

    Gather your plastic punch and plastic or nylon hammer, as suggested by Sean McMullan, a professional paintless dent remover. There is no need to worry about taking off the bonnet and boot because you have easy access on most of these parts. Roofs tend to be lightly lined, so be careful not to tear any lining as you work.

    DIY Paintless Dent Removal
    Dents on roofs, trunks and bonnets are easily repaired. (car image by jeancliclac from
  2. 2

    Pull the dent out from outside with the plastic punch or a suction cup (if this is all that is available). Use the nylon or plastic hammer to push the dent further out from the inside. Using these tools will keep paint chipping to a minimum.

  3. 3

    Repeat Step 2 until you get the results you want. If you run into problems, stop what you're doing and call a professional.

  1. 1

    Grab the slide hammer glue puller kit. Ron Harris, owner of Concourse Auto Salon, says it's the perfect kit for novices to use on their door dings. Place the glue tab or tabs, depending on how big the ding is, on the targeted spot. Follow the instructions on the kit for more detailed information. Wait for about 15 to 20 minutes, then use the slide hammer in the kit to pull the ding out.

    DIY Paintless Dent Removal
    Car doors are one of the most common places for dings. (interior panel of car door image by JoLin from
  2. 2

    Remove the glue tabs.

  3. 3

    Use isopropyl alcohol to clean the glue residue left on the car from the tabs. If the ding doesn't completely come out, refer to a paintless dent remover professional.

Tips and warnings

  • Light can have an effect on your finished product. Make sure the light is behind you as you are working on a vehicle.
  • If you create new dings as you are working or feel unsure about what you are doing at any point, stop to avoid creating more problems for yourself. Call a professional.
  • Take extra precaution with your wrists and back. Take breaks often to avoid injury.

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