How To Pull A Dent From Car Bodywork

We’ve given you a list of the best products out there to help you go about making sure your car’s bodywork can stay smooth and dent-free, but before you go at it all gung-ho, it might be worth looking at what’s involved in the case of each particular method. That’s why we’ve put this handy guide together for you, covering the different dent diminishing disciplines. 

Suction

Stop giggling, you can indeed use suction to pull a dent from your car. As we touched on in the product list, suction is best suited to big dents, so say if your door got pushed in, or your roof or bonnet. Suction won’t work on small dents, because you need clean surface area to mount the suction cups.

How-to use the suction method to remove a dent: 

 

  1. Clean the surface

  2. Place the suction up in the middle of the dent

  3. Flick the tabs on the back of the suction cup, thus attaching it to the panel

  4. Gently pull, increasing the strength of the pull as required

  5. The dent should hopefully pop out, at which point you can detach the cups

Glue and puller

The glue gun technique is relatively new to the home user, but has been a body shop go-to for decades. When you buy a kit, as covered in our list, you’ll be given small plastic tabs. These tabs have a rough backing, thus increasing the surface area when pressed into the glue. They then serve as an anchor within the dent, allowing you to pull it out.

How to fix a dent using the glue and puller method:

 

  • Clean the surface

  • Heat up the glue/glue gun

  • Apply a small blob of glue directly onto the panel

  • Press in one of the plastic tabs

  • Allow to cool completely

  • Attach a puller or a slide hammer

  • Gently pull or tap the dent backwards until smooth

  • Spray the glue with an alcohol-based cleaner

  • Remove glue with plastic spatula

Nylon/plastic punches and hammer

Patience and delicacy are key here, as the ham-fisted and hasty approach will only make things worse. If you’re trying to remove tiny dents, this is the best solution. The theory is that the nylon/plastic tips of the punch won’t damage the paint. And they won’t, so long as you’re careful and methodical.

  1. Clean the surface

  2. Using the punch with a plastic/nylon tip fitted, tap it with a rubber or nylon hammer gently

  3. Work from one side of the dent, and try to 'push' it out, as you would an air bubble under a sticker for example

  4. As you start to massage the dent out, switch to a larger, blunter tip to spread the force of your hammer taps

  5. Slowly work around the dent, repeating the process if needs be until the dent has lifted

How to fix a dent using the nylon/plastic punches and hammer method:

  • Clean the surface

  • Using the punch with a plastic/nylon tip fitted, tap it with a rubber or nylon hammer gently

  • Work from one side of the dent, and try to 'push' it out, as you would an air bubble under a sticker for example

  • As you start to massage the dent out, switch to a larger, blunter tip to spread the force of your hammer taps

  • Slowly work around the dent, repeating the process if needs be until the dent has lifted

Spot welding

This is the most in-depth approach and is ideally reserved for dents in which the paint has been damaged. All the methods above are ‘paintless’ by which we mean the paint doesn’t need to be repaired or otherwise messed with. In this instance however, the paint is going to need repair, so spot welding becomes an option.

Fixing dents usign the spot-weld method:

  • Sand back paint and filler in and around the dent until you have bare metal exposed

  • Earth the spot-welder to the car with the included earth cable and clamp

  • Load the spot welder up with a metal stud

  • Place the nose of the welder on the panel, within the dent

  • Once satisfied you have decent placement, trigger the spot welder

  • Repeat this process as many times as required to get a good grip of the dent

  • Remember to leave space for a slide hammer to be attached to the studs

  • Using a slide hammer, gently tap the dent out of the panel, using different studs to get better purchase on different areas of the dent

  • Break the studs off and grind them back smooth

  • Apply filer, primer and paint as required

Best Kit For Pulling Dents From Bodywork

Amtech J1870 Heavy-Duty Suction Cup

This Amtech dent puller is about as simple as they come. It will work best on big, wide dents, as you’ll need a smooth surface to suction onto. It’s a doddle to use though. Just put it on the poorly panel, press it down, flick one or both of the suction tabs, then pull the handle. The theory is that it will then pull the dent out. Child’s play. Plus, you could use it to scale tall glass buildings.

Buy it now

Amtech J1870 Heavy Duty Dual Suction Cup

£6.80

Manelord Auto Body Repair Tool

This is a clever little bit of kit, and is best suited to those smaller, more concentrated dents that you can’t get a suction cup onto. The idea is simple; you place a blob of glue on the dent and then affix one of the pulling bits to it. Once the glue has cured, you put the small metal gantry over the dent and hook the centre puller onto the bit. Then you just wind it out. Just remember to buy the glue gun, too.

Buy it now

Manelord Auto Body Repair kit, Car Dent Puller with Double Pole Bridge Dent Puller, Glue Puller Tabs, Glue Shovel for Auto Dent Removal,Minor dents, Door Dings and Hail Damage

£15.99

GS DIY Paintless Dent Repair Kit

At less than a tenner, this is well worth a go. It’s simply a metal body that’s designed to be tapped with a hammer at one end. At the other, you have interchangeable plastic tips, which will allow you tease and tap the dents out of your bodywork. Obviously this is only really of use for car park dings or other light bumps, but with a selection of tips included, it’s well worth trying out.

See all car dent pullers

Ask HJ

Should I fix the dents in my Vauxhall Astra before trying to sell it?

My 2012 Vauxhall Astra has damage to the front bumper and grills but I want to sell it. Should I get it fixed first?
Get it fixed because private buyers don't want to buy a damaged car and traders will knock you back because of the time the car takes to fix and ties up their money as well as the cost of fixing it.
Answered by Honest John
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