diy ways to fix car dents

Fact or Fiction: 5 Low-Cost DIY Ways to Remove Car Dents

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It’s a lovely day, and you decide to drive to the park to catch some much-needed sun. Upon arrival, you signal to make a left turn to enter and smoothly drive right into the pole in the middle of the entrance. You are so baffled and bewildered that you hit the gas pedal instead of the brakes. The resulting crunch rattles your soul enough to bring you back to reality. Shaken, you get out of your car to inspect what just happened. Your jaw drops, and your hands clutch your mouth as you struggle to keep the expletives and tears from scaring the children. The damage is major, and no amount of heat and water is going to fix this problem. If this happened to you, don’t fool around when you can call your favorite auto body repair shop.

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But if you got a mysterious car dent while shopping for your groceries, probably from a rogue cart or someone’s car door, then no big deal. There are a few DIY dent removal methods that will mostly smooth out a small dent without scratching up that lovely topcoat.

Related: Where Do Mystery Car Dents Come From?

Fact or Fiction: 5 DIY Ways to Remove Car Dents Yourself

Depending on the shape of the impression you can use the heat and cold to return the surface to its original position. Car dings and round dents are the easiest to self-repair because the metal memory is mostly still intact. In a crease type of dent, it is harder to fix on your own and may need professional assistance because these kinds of damages bend or break the metal. But let’s investigate different ways to save you money. Which of these urban legends for DIY dent removal actually do the trick?

1. How to Get a Dent Out of a Car With a Hair Dryer

What Does the Internet Say?You will need compressed air to generate enough cold air to make the material react. The best chance of this working on is a shallow dent where the metal is the thinnest.

  • Get yourself a quality hair dryer and make sure it is plugged in
  • Heat up the middle of the dent until it is too hot to touch or you start to smell plastic
  • Turn the can upside down and spray until the liquid coats the area and it should pop into place

Fiction! The hair dryer alone will not fix the issue. Most cars use a combination of metal and plastic to form the side panels and the bumpers. Results vary with the age of your car, the maker of the vehicle, and the size of the culprit.

2. How to Remove Dents With a Plunger


What Does the Internet Say? The method works on suction power. You can even use plunger-like tools that work the same in case you don’t want poop particles on your vehicle.

  • A cup plunger works best
  • Get a wet sponge to drench the area with water
  • Position the plunger over the dent and use those muscles to apply the pressure

Fact! This method works well for rounded dents and small-to-medium dings. For some, they may even see more of a dramatic result if they apply some heat to the metal and then use the plunger.

3. With Other Suction Tools

What Does the Internet Say?

  • Purchase your desired suction implement (you can even use your GoPro camera mount if you have one lying around). Suction cup tools can be found online for as little as $4-6
  • Wet the surface and apply the tool as directed
  • Pull the dent out

Fact! These tools, in general, are as capable as the plunger. Some of these tools apply suction around the dent and use an anchor to pull out the metal (Pops a Dent anyone?). In these cases, add some heat to the area so that the metal will be more malleable.

4. With Dry Ice

What Does the Internet Say? This method uses the -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit temperature of dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) to pop the dent out. If this is the most convenient option, then handle with care. Wear insulated gloves to avoid frost-bitten fingers or thumbs. In fact, don’t let this substance, which will turn into a gas when melted, touch any part of you without proper insulation and barriers.

  • Store the dry ice in a cooler until ready for use
  • Get your heating tool and heat the surface to as hot as you can get it
  • Put your gloves on and wrap the ice with a towel and place the dry ice in the middle of the dent and keep rubbing the surrounding area with the ice. Hold it there for 15 minutes or longer.
  • The dent should pop into place

Fiction! Even if you see some improvements, the outdoor temperature will make the dent appear again. You may see improvements in the dent, but it’s not a long-term solution.

5. With Boiling Water

What Does the Internet Say? This method is best with a bumper made with plastic.

  • Boil the water
  • Pour it on the dent and surrounding area
  • Reach under the bumper and push out the dent with your hands

Fact! This method does work. The hot water softens the plastic enough so that you can push the protruding part of a concave dent and make it straight with reasonably good results.

How to Tell If DIY Dent Removal Methods Will Be Effective

The principle here is that metal expands when it is hot and contracts when it is rapidly cooled. The heat makes the material more malleable, and the contraction is what is popping out most of the concave dent.

Some of these methods can leave mini creases and ruin the intention to restore the car’s surface. The only way to know if the DIY methods are effective is to test them out. Some folks have great results with the plunger, and some folks say it leaves minor but noticeable damage behind.

Related: 4 Benefits of Paintless Dent Removal and Repair

Some of us do not have the time for testing out different variable ideas, and some of our vehicles need extra love and care that only a professional can deliver. Besides, who wants to test on their precious car anyway? An experienced technician can provide quality paintless dent repair for a reasonable price and have your car looking resale ready the same day in many cases.