How to Fix Car Dents: 8 Easy Ways to Remove Dents Yourself Without Ruining the Paint

8 Easy Ways to Remove Dents Yourself Without Ruining the Paint

Only three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and getting a dent in your car or truck. Even if you're as careful as possible, you can't always account for runaway shopping carts, wrongly thrown footballs, out-of-nowhere light posts, and other real-life annoyances.

However you got your dent or ding, the next thing on your mind is, undoubtedly, how to get it out. Sure, you can take it to a body shop or friendly neighborhood mechanic for repair, but their price quotes can be unbelievable, especially if they want to remove the paint first or use body filler. $200 for that tiny dent?! I don't think so.

Instead, save yourself some of that hard-earned money and do it yourself. There are plenty of ways to get a small dent or ding out of a vehicle at home without ruining your paint, and you don't need to be a gearhead to do it.

However, not all of these tricks will work on your particular automobile; your mileage may vary depending on where the dent is exactly, and what your body panel, hood, or bumper is made out of (aluminum, carbon fiber, plastic, fiberglass, steel, etc.). For instance, aluminum has little memory properties, so paintless dent removal is much more difficult.

Method 1: Use a Plunger

Not only can you unclog a drain with a plunger, you can get out small- to medium-sized dents out of your car too. Just splash some water on both the plunger and the dent and start pushing and pulling until it pops out. Make sure to use a cup plunger (for sinks), not a flange one (for toilets).

Method 2: Use Boiling Water

Reversing into an object is one of the easiest ways to get a dent. So for plastic bumpers, even if you attempt to take off the bumper, it might still be difficult to push out the dent because of how stiff the plastic is. Solve this issue by boiling some water in a pot and throwing it on the dent.

As soon as the water has been poured, reach behind the bumper and try to pop the dent back in. Thanks to heat of the water, the plastic should be a bit more flexible, making it easier to put back into place.

Since the heat won't last very long, you'll have to work quickly. If the dent doesn't completely go out, keep dumping boiling water on it until you're finished.

Method 3: Use a Hair Dryer & Compressed Air

Another popular method for removing car dents out of plastic material involves using two popular household products: a hair dryer and compressed air.

Start off by heating the car dent with the hair dryer at its highest temperature, which will expand the plastic of the car. As soon as it's hot enough, grab the can of compressed air, turn it upside down, and begin spraying that same area. Since the cold air will cause the plastic to contract, the dent will pop out.

(1) A heat gun, hair dyer, or lighter will work. (2) Then just use canned air. Images by Yagelski/YouTube

Method 4: Use Dry Ice

Primarily used as a cooling agent, dry ice can be used to get out small dents from your car. As long as you're wearing protective gloves, hold down a piece of dry ice on the dent and rub it around until you hear your dent pop back into place.

Apply the dry ice as many times as you need to, but it should pop out eventually, if the dent isn't too deep. You can also try heating up the dent first, with something like a hair dryer (similar to the hair dryer and compressed air tip above), and then applying the dry ice to it.

Method 5: Use a Vacuum Cleaner & Pot

Suction is one ways to get out a dent, but the problem is finding a dent puller with the right amount of power. Well, why not just create your own? All you need is a pot (or bucket), a vacuum cleaner and some tape and you can get that dent out of your car in no time.

Simply make a small hole underneath the pot, tape the pot around the dent, place the vacuum cleaner hose over the hole under the pot, and turn on your vacuum. If the dent isn't to shallow, the suction created should pop out your dent.

Method 6: Use Hot Glue, Wooden Dowels, & Screws

When you attempt to take out dents yourself, you always put the risk that you might further damage your car, whether you make the dent worse or chip the paint. A safe way of trying to take out big dents on your car is by using several wooden dowels, a few screws, and a hot glue gun.

Simply place two nails into each side of the dowel and put the hot glue on the bottom. Place them in areas around the dent, let them dry, and pull each one out until the dent is gone.

Place and pull the same dowels in several different places across the dent until most of it comes out. If you're going to try this method, make sure that you have enough glue and some patience.

Method 7: Use a Long Metal Rod & Knockdown

When a dent happens on your car, the metal not only goes inward, the surrounding edges of the dent also go upward, creating something like a small volcano. That means that popping the dent out from underneath is not the way to go.

George Gjokaj, a master Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) technician, fixes dents by going to work on both sides of the dent, using a combination of a long metal rod underneath it and a knockdown (wooden or rubber) on the top side in order to completely get the dent out of the car. And boy, does it work.

Method 8: Use a Specialty Tool

If you're not having any success with any of the above methods, you could also try the Simoniz Pops-a-Dent kit. It's got mixed reviews, and can be a little tricky to use, but worth a shot since it's less than 30 bucks.

Which Way Worked Best for You?

Did you give any of these methods a try, or did you end up biting the bullet and hiring an auto body shop to do the work for you? If you used a different DIY method for removing dents and dings from your vehicle, make sure to let us know below!

Cover image via Bailey's PDR


thanks I thought it was helpful for me

Thank you so much! The hot water worked like a charm :D

Does the pouring hot boiling water work on metal auto body dents??

I used a satnav holder because of the rubber part that sticks to your car window, it was strong enough to pull out a dent on the boot part of my car which is metal, good method because majority of people have them as well!

None of these methods truly work for actually removing a dent. It might look "different" but its not going to be what your looking for on metal. On plastic bumpers, yes. You can do those yourself, but for metal, just call a professional. Its much cheaper than the alternatives. I only say this because I see the results of posts like this do to customers every day. Take a look at how most dents are actually repaired by professionals.

Here are some professional opinions on the above story. Some of the dent repair methods are appropriate depending on the size and type of dent you are repairing. It is helpful to know what can damage a vehicle using some of the above methods. I have written a blog post to help identify what not to do with the DIY removal method.

Some of your reading this post are wondering how paintless dent repair is performed and what the history of it may be. Paintless dent repair is an art form and very difficult to learn even though the professionals make if look easy. Check out the link below to learn about paintless dent repair.

How Paintless Dent Repair Is Learned & Performed

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