The hammer and dolly method is probably the easiest repair technique for dents, but it requires that you have access to both sides of the panel being repaired. However, newer cars have many areas that do not allow you to use the hammer and dolly method. There are two techniques when using hammer and dolly—hammer off dolly and hammer on dolly.
Hammer Off Dolly
Hammer off dolly is used to remove the majority of the dent. Start with the indirect damage and move towards the direct damage. Use your dolly to push your lows and your body hammer to tap down on the highs, or vice-versa. Hammer off dolly should be used until the final straightening stages.
Hammer On Dolly
Hammer on dolly is used in the final stages of metal straightening to level the smaller imperfections. Please be careful not to use hammer on dolly technique too much, as it stretches the metal. If metal is overstretched, it must be shrunk. In the video below, a student demonstrates repairing dents using the hammer on dolly method.
First In Last Out
Regardless of the tools you select to repair a dent, the same strategy applies. That is, first in last out. In other words, reverse the damage. Do not go straight to the point of impact and try to start pulling the damage out. This will lead to stretched metal and chasing the damage around.
Start with the indirect damage and move towards the direct damage. This will assure the metal is straightened back to it normal state with minimal stretched metal.
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