DIY: Removing dents from your car

By Whichcar Staff, 03 May 2017 Car Advice

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DIY: Removing dents from your car

So, you drove into a small tree and you don’t want your partner/parents/friends to find out. Here are a few things you can try to pop the dent and hide that little mishap.

We know, we know – those pesky trees are constantly moving! You were just minding your own business, trying to park the car when the tree uprooted itself and jumped straight in front of you causing to slam on the brakes a little too late and leaving a little bingle in the front left of the car you’re driving. And it’s not even your car!

So what do you do?

Naturally, you’ll panic at first. And rightly so – the owner of the car isn’t going to be happy when they see part of the plastic inverted on their car.

Time for some problem solving. You could leave the country, or maybe just confess and tell them about the moving tree, but surely they’ll think you’re insane. There’s always the option of taking it to the nearest panel beaters – but how much would that cost?

Winter’s coming: how should I warm up my car?

Then, the light bulb moment hits, and you remember that video on Facebook you saw last week of a girl pulling a dent out of her car using a sex toy. Surely, if that works there’s bound to be another option to solve your problem?

We’re here to tell you there is, so you don’t have to worry about trying to explain the walking tree.

However, before we get started, WhichCar holds no responsibility for any damage these tricks cause to your car. We highly recommend you take your car to the closest panel shop to get it fixed if you aren’t prepared to deal with repercussions should anything go wrong.

USE A PLUNGER
This handy tool can do so much more than just unclogging a sink. If the dent in the car isn’t too big or deep, then a little suction can save you some coin and return your car’s body to near-normal.

When should I upgrade my car?

The method is simple – throw some water on a cup plunger and on the car’s dent, then start plunging just like you would if you were trying to unclog a drain.

Keep in mind this isn’t the perfect solution and you may still be left with a few small dents in your car.

 

BOILING WATER
If the dent in the car is on a plastic bumper, then boiling-hot water may be your best friend. Popping a dent out isn’t easier but if you pour boiling water over the plastic, the heat from the water should soften it up enough for you to reach behind and push it out.

The plastic will cool down quickly, especially if it’s a cold day, so you might have to keep topping up the hot water to get the ding the whole way out.

This trick will also make life a little easier if you’re using the plunger method.

HAIR DRYER AND AIR DUSTER
This method requires a little more care to protect the car’s paint from overheating or being damaged by the compressed air.

On a high setting, heat the dented plastic and the area around it with the hair dryer for a minute or two, taking care not to hold it too close to the car as the heat can cause some damage to the paint. Then, holding the can of compressed air upside down, spray it onto the dent. The combination of heating and cooling should cause the plastic to contract and expand rapidly, and force it to take its original shape.

How does a tyre work?

You can also use dry ice for this instead of the air duster, but make sure you know what you’re doing first as it can be dangerous to use.

You may want to cover your car with some aluminium foil before spraying it to retain heat and protect the surface, and likewise, thick rubber gloves to protect your own skin.

VACUUM CLEANER
Similar to the plunger, the suction from a vacuum cleaner can help remove a dent.

Obviously putting the end of a vacuum cleaner directly on to a car is a recipe for disaster – not only will you lack the grip, but it’s also likely to cause even more damage to the plastic. So, create your own ‘electric plunger’ by attaching the vacuum hose to the end of a plastic bucket and taping it (make sure it’s air tight) around the dent. Turn the vacuum on and voila, your dent should pop out – but unlike the plunger, this method will work best on dents that aren’t too shallow.