People take pride in the upkeep of their automobiles. From brand new Audis to used Kias, meticulous care is often the mantra spoken by car owners. Car appearance plays a significant role in determining how well an owner takes care of an automobile. One of the factors that can irrevocably alter a car's appearance are the unseemly dents that appear out of nowhere. An owner can drive through the countryside and not notice what caused the large pock marks that are located on the driver's side door panel. Once the shock subsides, the time arrives to take measures for removing the car door dents.
Owners can remove the car door dents themselves or take their cars in for professional dent repair. Since the second option can drain a monthly car maintenance budget, people should consider some do-it-yourself techniques for repairing car dents. Before they hop online or visit the local auto body shop, car owners should learn about the types of car dents, the common causes of car dents, a few simple ways to remove easy-to-fix dents, and the multi-step process that auto body specialists use to repair the most difficult car door dents.
Types of Car Door Dents
Most drivers are unaware that automobile body repair specialists classify car door dents into three broad categories. Drivers just want the dents repaired. However, for a car body specialist to remove the unsightly pock marks on the sides of car doors, they must first discern which type of dent they have to remove. Regardless if the dents riddle the car doors on a Fiat or Chrysler, the first step in dent removal involves carefully defining the type of dent.
Dings represent the most common car door dent. The small, sometimes unnoticeable dents can be caused by several factors that include another car door swinging open or debris from roadside sources. Dings usually appear towards the centre of a car door and they require little technical expertise to repair. Most drivers remove dings on their own.
Round dents result from larger rock and hailstone damage. Even larger objects, such as rugby balls and footballs can cause round car door dents. The way car owners decide to repair round dents depends on the size and the depth of the dents. Larger, deeper dents require the skills of an accomplished auto repair professional.
Uncommon and difficult to remove, crease dents almost always result from car accidents. Crease dents create a score along the car door and the door's metal bends at numerous places. Repairing crease dents to return a car door to its original contour can be so difficult that some auto body repair professionals recommend installing new panels.
Common Causes of Car Door Dents
Many car body repair experts recommend that drivers bring their automobile into a shop to repair car door dents. They believe most drivers do not have the technical expertise to remove the dents, or worse, cause more damage than the original dent indentations. Because of the intricacy of removing car door dents, the best approach to fixing the dents involves taking measures to prevent the dents in the first place. Knowing the common causes of car door dent damage goes a long way in helping drivers formulate preventive strategies.
The increase in smartphone use while driving not only has increased the number of vehicular accidents, it has also led to an increase in dent damage caused by drivers backing into objects or hitting stationary objects from the side. Just a little bump against a stationary object, such as a mailbox, can cause deep dents that can be nearly impossible to remove unless a new panel replaces the damaged panel.
Hail is a tough car door dent cause to avoid, since many storms suddenly develop out of nowhere. Yet, drivers can limit the amount of car door dent damage by immediately pulling under an overpass or a building structure. Hail can cause enough damage to a car to render the car completely worthless. Avoid driving in areas that have severe weather alerts.
Vandals can kick, punch, and strike blows against cars to cause immense dent damage. Most of the dents that vandals cause can be repaired, but typically the dents are large and deep. The nature of the dent damage requires the expertise of auto body repair specialists.
Anyone who drives on a gravel road understands that gravel can cause numerous minute dents on the sides of car doors. The gravel can kick up from the driver's car or from oncoming traffic. In either case, wheel flaps are recommended for drivers who spend a considerable amount of time driving on gravel roads.
Simple Ways to Repair Car Door Dents
Virtually every ding, dent, and some round dents can be removed by ways other than the methods used by auto body repair specialists. Car owners do not need to invest in expensive tools nor spend considerable time on the car door restoration process. Here are three simple ways to repair a majority of car door dents.
The ice that dispenses vapour comes in handy for small round dents and dings. Place a small chunk of dry ice in the middle of a car door dent for between 30 and 60 seconds. Make sure to use a thick cloth to prevent freeze burns to the hands. Most small round dents and dings should pop out after 60 seconds.
Combined with an air duster, a hair dryer can pop out a small dent within 60 seconds. Blow the hair dryer directly on the dent for about one minute, and then spray the air duster on the dent for another 10 to 20 seconds. The heat from the air puts pressure on the metal and most times, the metal contracts enough to force the dent to pop out.
Car door dent repair kits are another economical way to avoid paying an auto body professional to remove car door dents. The kits include a few tools that help force a dent to pop out, without further scratching the car door surface. Car owners can find dent repair kits at affordable prices online, especially at the ecommerce shop, eBay.
Repairing a Car Door Dent the Professional Way
Some car owners have the technical skills and patience to fix more serious car door dent damage. They understand which tools to use and the steps to follow for changing an unsightly dent into part of a car door's original shape. A growing number of auto body repair specialists provide demonstrations that include the following steps.
Push the dent forward using a flat blade tool or pull the dent out from a level surface to match the surrounding panel contour. Pulling is the preferred method, if the car owner cannot gain access to the dent from the rear of the car.
After a dent is pushed or pulled out, the dent may require additional levelling. Car owners accomplish this using a dolly to gain access to the underside of the car. Using a small ball peen hammer, the goal is to create an even surface by pushing out smaller bumps within the dent.
While wearing safety glasses, drill small holes into the dent. Use the smallest size bit and start at the centre of the dent. The small holes relieve metal tension, which makes it easier to sand the dent properly.
Sand down loose paint flecks by using 120 grit sandpaper. Sand until all of the wax and oils have been removed.
With a bondo or body filler, build the dent surface higher than the surrounding car door area. Feather out the filler as the bondo or body filler moves away from the centre of the dent. Make sure the filler dries before moving onto the next step.
Wrap the 120 grit sandpaper over the right sized block and sand the raised dent surface slowly until a smooth surface level is achieved. Done properly, sanding should render the dent undetectable to the human eye. Sometimes, more filler is required to compensate for too much sanding. The dent finish should be smooth to the touch.
Spray the entire dent area with a premium primer. Use glazing or spot putty to fill any remaining pin holes or thin scratches found in the filler. Only a small amount of putty is needed to finish the job. After the putty dries, sand with 120 or 320 grit sandpaper to finalise the smooth dent surface.
The final step is called the wait-and-check step. Give the refurbished dent a couple of hours to settle and return to ensure the integrity of the job remains intact. Car owners may find additional fissures in the putty or imperfections within the dent, itself, that require further repair.
How to Buy Your Car Dent Repair Materials on eBay
If you decide to repair car door dents, you must purchase a few items to perform the job admirably. Whether you apply dry ice to a small ding or need to push out a large, round dent, you need to buy a few tools of the trade. The best place to shop for auto repair tools is on eBay, where buyers utilise a search engine to find the sellers who match their shopping needs. You can find hand tools or power tools on eBay by typing specific keywords into the search engine. For instance, type "drill bit" to find sellers offering the small size bits you need for creating pressure relief holes. eBay search results typically include numerous possible sellers. You goal is to vet each seller, and then choose the seller who fits the buying criteria.
The eBay seller vetting process requires you to analyse each of the seller product pages. An enlarged product photograph prominently displays the features and imperfections of the tool under consideration. You can also review seller buying terms, including the methods of payment accepted and delivery terms. You may need a tool for a rush job and a seller can only promise delivery in 14 days. One of the best tools for analysing seller credentials is to review the customer feedback that eBay compiles on seller product pages.
The explosion of the Internet has allowed car owners to find do-it-yourself information about car repairs. In addition, many of the tools found in the shops of accomplished auto body professionals are now available at car part and accessory shops. However, one type of car repair job may require more knowledge and patience than the average car owner has. Removing some car dents requires state-of-the-art tools and the deft handiwork of the best auto body repair specialists.
The complexity of a dent repair job depends on the size and depth of the dent. Dings most likely only require a little tapping of a ball peen hammer. Repairing large, round dents with deep impressions involves a multi-step process of pushing out the dent, smoothing the car door surface, sanding over the dent, and then evenly filling the dent with putty. Sometimes, the dent requires repeating of one or more of the repair steps. Since car door dents can be caused by multiple factors, one of the first repair skills car owners should learn is how to repair dents in their car doors.