Car repair is a very complex and technical process. And as much as you’d probably want to do some DIY touches, you have a lot of work to do to know how to repair body damage on a car. It’s more than just buffing out a tiny scratch or popping out a dent with hot water. For a proper repair, you have to know the exact damage, its extent, and the right approach to fix it.
In this post, we’ll share with you how to fix major body damage on a car, including the tools used, necessary steps, and additional tips.
Steps on how to fix car body damage
Did you bring your car to an auto body repair shop? In case you’re wondering, here’s what the technicians will do to restore your car’s original glory:
1. Assessing the damage
The very first thing repair technicians will do is assess how bad the damage is. They will visually and physically inspect your vehicle to spot any hidden damage that may not be easily visible.
Through this, the auto body technicians can identify the right approach to repair your car. It will also help them plan the repairs and find any replacements if needed.
In most cases, your car’s body may sustain dents, scratches, or indentations. This can be superficial or deep, which will impact the repair process.
Aside from that, rust is also a common car body damage. If you don’t get this fixed, it will spread further until it compromises the structural integrity of your vehicle.
2. Preparing the essential tools and materials
Before they repair car body damage, the shop technicians will prepare all the needed tools and equipment. And if your car needs replacement parts, they will order it from your vehicle’s manufacturer or get an after-market alternative.
For the most part, these are the tools that auto body shops use for repairs:
- Safety goggles protect their eyes from debris and chemicals during repair.
- Disposable gloves to keep their hands clean and protected.
- Dust mask to prevent the risk of inhaling harmful particles.
- Technicians will use sandpaper with various grits to buff off the damaged areas of your car.
- Paint touch-up pen. If your vehicle only sustained minor scratches, a touch-up pen might be enough to fix the problem.
- Dent removal tools. For paintless dent repair (PDR), technicians will use a hammer, dolly, and suction cups.
- Body filler. If your car’s dent or scratch can’t be repaired through PDR, it will be patched with a bondo filler to even out the holes or scrapes.
- Putty knife. This will be used to apply the filler and other substances evenly on your car’s damaged area.
- This product is used after repairs to prepare your car’s surface before a paint job. It ensures that the paint will stick well and not peel off easily.
- Paint. Technicians will use computer software to match the original color of your car’s body paint.
- Clear coat. After applying the color-matched paint, technicians will usually apply a clear coat to restore the shine and sleek look of your car.
- Polishing compound. A polishing or buffing compound is used to further enhance the shine of your car’s paint. This is the final touch after all the repairs and paint jobs are done.
Take note that there are a range of other tools and supplies needed to fix car body damage. It all depends on the method the technician uses and the specific damage to your car.
3. Repairing Minor Scratches and Paint Chips
Dings and scratches are probably the most common damage car owners face. Fortunately, the repair process for this is simple and you may get your car back on the same day.Here’s how an auto body shop typically performs the repairs:
- Cleaning the Damaged Area. As with any car body damage repair, it all starts with cleaning the affected area. This way, dust and dirt won’t get in the way of the products that will be applied later.
- After that, your technician will proceed to sand the scratched area to eliminate rough edges and deep-seated dirt. They use fine-grit sandpaper for this step.
- Paint Touch-Up. If there’s no other damage underneath, your technician will proceed to apply a paint touch-up. It can be using a pen, a brush, or a spray tool.
- Finishing Touches. Once the scratch has been covered up nicely and the paint has dried, your technician will proceed with the final touches. This includes applying a clear coat and then polishing the area to seamlessly blend with the surrounding paintwork.
4. Fixing Dents and Dings
Dings and dents are frustrating, but the truth is that your car will likely sustain this at some point. And if the time comes that you’ll need professional car body damage repair for it, here are the process you can expect:
Dents and dings can be frustrating, but with the right techniques, you can remove them and restore your car’s body to its original shape. Here’s how:
- Assessing the Dent. First, your technician will check the dent and see how bad it is. This way, they can find out if it can be fixed through PDR or if it requires a more abrasive method.
- Using the Suction Cup Method. If your car’s dents aren’t too extensive, the technician will use suction cups to pop the metal back to its original shape.
- Hammer and Dolly Method. If the suction method won’t work, another method that can be used is called the hammer and dolly method. With this, the technician will place a metal block on the backside of the dent and gently tap on the other side with a hammer. This will cause the dent to pop out.
5. Dealing with Rust Spots
Rust or corrosion is a very common car body damage. Your vehicle may sustain this from years of use or a small scratch that was not fixed right away.
To remove rust from your car’s body, a technician will have to do the following:
- Sanding the area. First, your technician will have to remove the layer of rust that’s already formed on your car. This is done using coarse-grit sandpaper where the edges will be feathered to ensure that the transition will be seamless.
- Applying a Primer. After sanding, a primer will be applied to the affected area on your car’s body. This is done to seal the area and prevent future rusting.
- Painting the area. Once the primer is fully dry, a fresh layer of paint will be applied to the affected area. Your technician will perform color matching to ensure that they got the right shade.
- Applying a Clear Coat. Lastly, a clear will be applied to restore the shine of the repaired part of your car. The area will also be buffed for added shimmer.
6. Addressing Larger Body Damage
Body damage on cars isn’t always as minor as a dent, scratch, or ding. It can also be massive, which will require a more complex repair.
Some of these damages include a crumpled panel, shattered windshield, twisted frame, or a crushed bumper. All these usually occur after a collision or any major fender-bender on the road.
In that case, we recommend calling a car collision repair shop for the best solution. A collision repair expert will assess the damage and create a custom repair plan that suits your car’s condition. Also, they will ensure that your car’s body is road-worthy.
The one who helps fix a banged-up car also needs some level of protection. After all, car repair has its own share of risks, which can be minimized through the following:
- Wear personal protective equipment. Your technician will go in full-battle gear with safety goggles, protective clothing, industrial mask, and gloves. This way, they won’t be heavily exposed to harmful fumes, flying debris, or sharp edges.
- Observe proper ventilation. The steps to repair body damage on a car often uses various products and chemicals. This is why technicians have to maintain proper ventilation, so they won’t inhale the toxic fumes.
- Secure the vehicle properly. During repair, your car will be suspended on stands or ramps. This is a fairly dangerous situation and technicians observe proper lifting techniques to avoid freak accidents.
- Use proper tools and equipment. The reason why we don’t recommend DIY car repair is that makeshift tools may cause more damage to your car. Worse, it can result in serious physical injuries. Instead of putting yourself at this risk, you should leave the work to professionals.
Fixing body damage on a car is a serious business. It involves multiple processes that require not just specialized tools, but also a great level of expertise. So if your car sustains any body damage, it’s important that you seek an auto body shop that meets both these standards. This way, your car will be restored properly and you’ll be safe on the road while driving.