5 DIY fixes for car dents and scratches

Minor dents or scratches on your car don't always require the attention of a professional. Discover five DIY repairs you can try with simple tools and sandpaper.
Are you a keen judge of parking spaces? Do you scope out the entire parking lot before finding the one space that’s safest? What a disappointment then to come out of the store to discover that some thoughtless person has left a dent or a scratch on your carefully parked car!

Dents and scratches on a car can vary in size and complexity. Before taking your car to an expensive auto body shop to repair a minor dent or scratch, learn to recognize the kinds of damage you can fix yourself – and the best methods to make the repair.

Fixing those dents

You don’t have to be a car expert to successfully restore your car’s minor scratches and dents. Restore your vehicle’s appearance, value and curb appeal yourself with these helpful tools:

  1. Plunger:If your dent is fairly large but there is no other damage (like a hole or crease), use either your basic household plunger or a specialized car dent plunger to pop the dent out.
  2. Mallet:If you have a large dent and you have access to the back of the dent (the hood, for instance), gently tap the metal back into place with a mallet. Take frequent looks at the front of the dent to make sure you’re not pushing the metal too far.
  3. Metal work hammer:If you have access to the back of a small or uneven dent, use a metal work hammer, buffered with cloth so you don’t damage the metal. Just as with the mallet, tap the metal gently back into place, checking to make sure you’re not pushing the metal out of shape.
  4. Dent Puller:If you can’t get at the back of the dent, you can buy a dent puller at your local hardware store. This gadget requires you to drill (very, very carefully) a hole into the dent. It should be just large enough to fit the wire part of the dent puller. Then, insert the wire into the hole and pull the metal back into place. You will then need to fill the hole, sand it and paint it.
  5. Buffing out scratches on your car:A shallow scratch (one that doesn’t catch your fingernail if you run your fingertip over it) can be fixed fairly easily at home. Clean the scratch and then very carefully sand it with 2000-grit wet sandpaper (found at most automotive supply stores). While sanding, occasionally wet the area with water. When the scratch is barely visible, use a rubbing compound instead of water. Soon the scratch will be gone.

Be aware that sometimes a scratch or dent on your car will be too major to fix yourself. As a general rule of thumb, the deeper the scratch or dent, the more specialized tools and time it’s going to take to remove it.

5 DIY fixes for car dents and scratches
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