When your vehicle has minor body damage, you can do many of the repairs yourself with the right tools and knowledge. Here are some tips to help you successfully repair auto body dents and holes using a stud welding gun or automotive filler, then how to sand, prime, and paint your vehicle to finish the job.
Repairing Dents and Holes
When your vehicle's body has dents to repair, you can pull them out using a stud welder gun and without drilling holes into the body of your vehicle. First, with a rough-grit sandpaper, sand off the paint and primer from surface of your vehicle where the dent is located. The stud welder needs bare metal to create a secure weld between each of the metal pins and the vehicle's body.
To weld a pin onto the metal, place a pin in the nozzle of the weld gun and push the nozzle all the way onto the vehicle's body. You can weld the pins along the dent, as close as one inch apart from each other. Follow this process to weld the pins over the dented area, positioning them so you can use each pin to pull out a section of the dent. Then, begin on the outside of the dent and work your way to the inside of the dent, pulling each pin outward with a slide hammer to smooth out the surface of your vehicle's body.
After you have pulled out the dent, clip off each of the pins with a pair of dykes, and grind down any remaining pin metal with a grinder. Next, sand the body of the vehicle smooth with 150-grit sandpaper to remove any remaining welding bumps, then use 400-grit sandpaper until there are no scratches remaining on the repaired section.
When using automotive filler putty to repair dents and holes, first clean the vehicle's body with liquid dish detergent to remove any wax and other residues from the vehicle. Next, sand off the paint and primer from the vehicle, using a 150-grit sand paper. Extend your sanding area to three inches around the dent you are repairing. Make sure to sand off any rusted surfaces of the metal. If you don't completely remove all rust, the rust will continue to corrode the metal under your layer of automotive filler, causing the filler to lift from your vehicle's repair job.
Clean the surface of the dent with rubbing alcohol. Apply the filler to the damaged section of metal, pressing the filler into the dent with a plastic spreader. As you fill in the dent, smooth the surface as evenly as possible with the surrounding edges. Then, allow the filler to dry completely according to the package instructions.
Using 150-grit sandpaper, sand off any rough edges from the dried filler. Switch to a 220-grit sandpaper to smooth out any deep scratches left in the filler from the rough sandpaper, then switch to a 400-grit sandpaper to smooth off the entire surface. Make sure the edges of the filler are smoothed evenly with the vehicle's body so the transition is seamless between the two areas.
Priming and Painting the Body
Once the repair has been sanded smooth, you can get ready to prime and paint the patch of repaired metal. Frame off your repaired section by masking off the area using tape and newspaper to protect the surrounding surfaces of your vehicle. This is to protect any chrome, your windows, tires, and other places on your vehicle you don't want primed or painted.
Spray your primer over the repaired section, holding the spray nozzle approximately six inches from the surface, applying it in three light coatings to prevent drips or runs in your work. It can be helpful to practice applying the primer to a piece of scrap metal first, so you can get a hang of the spraying motion.
After all three coats have dried, remove the tape and newspaper. Spray both the primer and the surface of your 2000-grit sandpaper with a spray bottle filled with water. The water acts as a lubricant to help the sandpaper work better. Then, lightly sand the repaired area using back-and-forth motions, making sure to re-wet both the sandpaper and primer as needed. Only sand the primed surface enough to smooth out any bumps or scratches. If you sand enough to see the underlying metal or filler, you need to reapply the primer. Wipe any sanding dust from the surface of the repair with a wet cloth.
Spray your vehicle's primed area with a matching paint, in three to four light coats, using the same spraying motion as with the primer. Allow the paint to dry fully according to the manufacturer's directions.
Use this information to help you repair, prime, and paint your vehicle's body. For more information, talk to a professional like those at Central Body Co Inc.