How to Repair a Small Dent


Basic Dent Repair Steps


Preparing for filler

  • The first thing you want to do is start with a clean surface, soap/water & wax remover before you begin. 
  • Bring the metal back to shape as best as you can with the least amount of damage possible to the metal. If you can access the backside of the panel push the dent out and use a hammer and dolly to straighten out the metal. If you cannot access it you can use a uni spotter to weld on pegs to the metal that you can use with a slide hammer to pull out the dent.
  • Once you have your metal as straight as possible, remove the paint down to the metal. Use a grinder or coarse sandpaper on a sanding machine.


Applying your filler

  •  Mix you bodyfiller according to the data sheet of the product your using. Typically you will need to add 2-3% creme hardener to your bodyfill before its ready to be applied. Mix using downward pressure to squeeze out any possible air pockets that can lead to pinholes.
  •  Using a spreader, apply your filler to the metal you exposed in the preparation. It is better to gradually apply your filler rather then to blob it all on at once.
  • Your filler has a period of time around 7-10 minutes after applying where it isn\’t fully dry but not too wet. On larger dents you can take advantage of this by shaping your filler using either a cheese grater or some 40 grit sandpaper on a block. When using a block the 40 grit will cause your filler just to flake off and not actually gauge the filler with the scratch. If your 40 grit causes sandscratches then you\’ve waited to long and you should not continue doing this.
  • Block sand your filler with some 80-120 grit until the edges have leveled out
  • If you filler is not straight at this point, reapply and repeat this process.


Apply a Finishing Putty

  • These are the same as a regular bodyfiller but are thinner and designed to sand easier. Mix and apply the same way as your bodyfiller.
  • You can catch this filler in a semi-dry stage too, but at this point you should only use 80 to quickly smooth out the area.
  • Once dry, switch to a 120 and sand until your filler is almost perfect. At that point you can switch to 180 and sand until perfectly straight.
  • Inspect your filler for pinholes and other imperfections. If you find anything you should repeat this process or reapply a very tight skim to the affected area.
You can also apply an epoxy primer to the metal at the beginning for maximum corrosion protection. This is a debatable topic, the bodyfiller manufactures don\’t advise it but the paint manufacturers do.


After this is complete you can begin your preparation steps

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