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Auto Body Repair: How to Fix Your Car Body at Home with Simple Tools

Scratches, dents, roughness, rust, etc. These are common problems that affect your car body. The body is the most vulnerable element of the car, and for good reason: it is the first contact of external impact.

While some drivers pay little attention to the exterior condition of their vehicles, others enjoy driving in a car with impeccable bodywork and without the slightest hitch.

Whether you are part of one or the other group, your body will in any case be scrutinized during the technical control. It is therefore better to maintain it properly, to avoid having unpleasant surprises.

1. Identify the problem

Different problems call for different solutions.

The bodywork can be damaged in different ways:

  • Is it scratched? What is the width of the stripe? Is the paint peeled off?
  • Is the car squeaking? What is the diameter of the bump? Is the bump accessible from the inside?

Depending on the type and depth of the impact on your bodywork, you will need to apply a specific treatment or even several successive treatments.

When your car body is scratched

You had a minor crash and your auto body is scratched. So you want to repair it without calling a professional.

Many products exist today and allow you to hide the scratch:

  • Car Paint Marker: For small touch-ups, a car paint maker can be used to iron over a slight scratch in order to seal it and thus protect your body. It is a very simple solution to use and has the advantage of being inexpensive. You just have to make sure to buy a marker of the same color as that of its body. Apply the latter to the scratched area, pressing firmly. Once done, let dry for several hours then sand the treated area if necessary.
  • Anti-scratch product: Practical and effective, the anti-scratch is a product that is applied to the scratched area to erase traces. This treatment can be used to seal and hide small and medium scratches. To apply it properly, take a cloth and apply the scratch eraser to the area to be treated. Using the cloth, spread the product evenly, and then let it dry for about 30 minutes. Once dry, wipe and polish the product with a soft, clean cloth.
  • Complete treatment: If the scratch is deep (paint and varnish erased), it will be better to apply a treatment in several stages. First, use fine-grit sandpaper to clean off any paint chips that may be present on the body. Then apply the pencil or a scratch-erase product following the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the product is dry, polish it with polish and a soft, clean cloth.

When your car body is dented

As a result of an impact, your body may show dents. Not only is it not very aesthetic, but it also negatively impacts the value of your vehicle. Although we recommend calling in a specialist for a better result, it is always possible to straighten your bodywork yourself with a minimum of tools:

  • With a suction cup: As simple as it sounds, this not always effective method consists of having a suction cup to come and suck the bump. The use of a lubricant such as petroleum jelly allows better grip of the suction cup on the bodywork around the bump. By a suction effect, the suction cup will allow you to straighten your bodywork to its initial state. Try again several times crossing your fingers to get a result.
  • With a hairdryer: Temperature variations expand the metal. By using this phenomenon to its advantage, it is possible to remove dents from its bodywork. The principle is simple: heat the bump to the highest possible temperature, for example using a hairdryer. Once the maximum temperature is reached, cool the bump area with a compressed air spray (at best), or a bucket of very cold water (at worst). The thermal shock associated with the large temperature variation will cause the sheet to return to its initial shape.
  • With a hammer: If it is possible to access the dent from the inside, you may be tempted to use a hammer to make the dent stand out. This rustic method is to be done with precaution. If possible, use a rubber mallet to avoid damaging the sheet metal. Then, get a metal plate to place on the side opposite to the one on which you strike. Finally, strike in small, close blows. No need to hit hard as this risks deforming the sheet. By taking your time and taking all the necessary precautions, you will obtain a satisfactory result. All you have to do is apply the finishes to remove any scratches and varnish the body.

There are also many dent repair tools and kits for sale on the internet. These allow a better result to be obtained but require a certain investment. For example, you will find this complete dent removal kit from the Fly5D brand sold for $99 on Amazon. The equipment used by professionals costs much more: count $233 for an inertia hammer-suction cup and at least $585 for a straightening station.

In general, we recommend that you call in a professional to help with your auto body repairs, particularly when it comes to important or delicate repairs. Professional auto body repair shops have the appropriate tools and know-how that guarantee a better result than during basic repair. On average, a repair by an auto body repair mechanic will cost you less per hour depending on the complexity of the intervention. Note that nothing commits you when you request a quote, so you can consult several auto body repair shops to compare prices, then decide to use the services of a professional or do the work yourself.

Auto Body Repair at Sams Auto Body and Paint

Auto body repair at professional repair shops
Auto body repair at professional repair shops

When a new vehicle arrives with us, our experts examine its body. They draw up an exploded view. Not only does the latter serve to provide maximum transparency to customers on the vehicle, but it also makes it possible to precisely estimate the value of a vehicle, and therefore to adjust its starting price.