Nothing is more displeasing than finding a tiny dirty spot on a very clean white surface. No matter how big the clean area is, your eyes will still somehow go back and focus on that tiny dirty spot. Oftentimes, people tend to look at the flaw of something regardless of how small it is. A minor defect can ruin the whole picture. Imagine this happening to your car. Many car owners treat their cars well and take pride in them. They know the cars’ worth and are careful around them. That is why seeing even just a small ding on their car could be quite irritating. Door dings happen even to the most careful car owners. It is something beyond your control. Even by just parking in a safe parking lot, you can still go home with a ding. Door dings usually happen when a car door hits another car’s side panel while both are parked next to each other. Sometimes it’s from those runaway shopping carts at the grocery store or from the protective poles. Accidents happen and it is unfortunate that we have to deal with it whether we deserve it or not. If one day you find yourself scratching your head, thinking hard of where and how you manage to get a door ding, don’t be too concerned. Door dings can be fixed. You can pay someone for a dent or ding removal services, but it won’t be cheap. If you have the time, you can fix it yourself. There are several ways to fix dings depending on where and how bad the dent is.
FOR MINOR OR SHALLOW DINGS
Most of the modern cars have thin metals that can be pushed or pulled back to shape when dented. For minor dings, one can choose one of these following methods.
- Using a sink plunger. Sink plungers are not only good for unclogging drains. It can also fix door dings. To get started, splash the plunger and the damaged area with water. Place the plunger over the dent and begin to push and pull until the dent pops back into place.
- You can also detach the interior door panel and use a wooden broomstick or anything similar and push it against the back of the dent. For the stubborn ones, you might need to use something more solid such as a hammer. Tap it from the inside starting from the shallow part of the dent to the deeper part. If this is not possible, you can use another tool to hold the dent from the inside and tap the dent from the front.
- Another method you can use to fix dings is by using heat and cold air. All you need is a hair dryer and a can of compressed air. Use the hair dryer to apply heat on the dented area and spray the can of compressed air immediately after about three to five minutes of heating. Remember to keep the hair dryer moving to avoid damaging the paint and to hold the can upside down while spraying. The sudden change of temperature will make the dent pop out. You can repeat the process after drying the area if the desired outcome is not yet achieved.
- The glue gun method. You can purchase a kit including the glue gun for this method. Do not use this method if you notice that there’s a chip off on your car paint. This is only applicable if your car paint is in perfect condition. The first thing you do is to clean the dented area. Choose the correct size of the pulling tab and put hot glue on it. Press the tab on the dent and leave it to dry for about two minutes. Use a timer if possible since it can damage the paint if it is not removed within eight minutes. Then use the car dent remover tool or the pulling bridge, adjust the knob and pull it to pop the dent. Remove the tab and repeat the process if needed. You can also try this method without purchasing the kit if you already have the needed materials at home. A glue gun, dowels and screw handles. Create a wooden handle by screwing together sections of the dowels. Put hot glue on it, press it on the dented area, wait for it to dry and pull out the dent to pop back to its original place. This method requires patience as you might need to do it again and again to go through each small ding one by one.
- There is also a product you can buy called the suction cup dent puller. It works just like a plunger. Make sure to check the manual first and follow its instructions. The suction dent puller works well with both the metal and the plastic parts of the car. It can fix the dents and improve its look but it might not give the perfect finish you are aiming for. And like the glue gun method, this is not to be used on damaged car paint. To start, you have to clean the surface to remove any dirt or wax. Moisten the suction cup dent puller with a small amount of water and attach it to the dent and pull it towards you to fix it. For small dents, attach the dent puller directly to the dent. For the large ones, work your way through it by pulling the edges first, then proceeding towards the middle. Do not use too much force when pulling. It is best to use small, quick tugs.
FOR CHIPPED PAINT DOOR DINGS
Unlike the regular dents, chipped door dings require immediate fix. It is something you can’t delay because if you do, rust will start to build up. You wouldn’t want that to happen, even if it’s just a small one. If it has a metal exposed, fix it fast.
- If the chip is smaller than a pencil eraser, you can try to fix it using a denatured alcohol, matches, automotive polishing compound, small can of primer, and a small bottle of touch up paint. Make sure to use a touch up paint similar to your car paint colour. Test it beforehand to make sure it matches your car paint. When all has been set, clean the chips with regular soap and water. Dry it with a soft cotton cloth. Apply a dab of the polishing compound over it to soften the rough edges. Be sure not to overdo it. You might damage the clear coat over the car paint. Wipe the finish with denatured alcohol using a clean, soft cloth. Just a few wipes will do. Next is the primer. Apply it to the chip using the bottom end of a matchstick. Cover all paint chip areas with the primer and let it dry for at least 30 minutes. When the primer is already dry, put a small amount of touch up paint over the primer coat. Keep in mind that the automotive touch up paint requires more of a dabbing motion when applying and is not like a regular house paint that is meant for a different application stroke. After applying the touch up paint, let it sit for an hour before applying a second coat. Let the paint cure for a few days and gently apply a polishing compound to smoothen the edges of the repaired chip. Do not try to use this method if the weather is extreme.
- While there are times where the dings in our cars are self-inflicted, most of the time they are not. And there’s this small chance that the careless car owner leaves evidence on your car – paint smear from the offender’s vehicle. Things like this actually happen. There’s no need to worry though, the smear can be removed. You will need a clay bar. You can buy one at your trusted automotive shops. Cut your clay bar into 3 equal pieces. You might want to have the extra pieces in case you drop the first one. It needs to be thrown out once dropped. You can’t use it again. To start, make sure to clean the damaged area, remove any dirt or grime from it and allow it to dry. Then get your clay bar and rub it gently on the smeared area. Clay bars are one of the gentle solutions you can use in removing surface contaminants without damaging your paint job. If you don’t have a clay bar, you can use paint thinner. Use a cotton swab to apply the paint thinner on the paint smear. It should loosen the paint and you will be able to remove it by using a soft cloth. Be extra careful when doing this, you only want to apply on the paint belonging to the offending car. Whatever method you use, make sure to wash your car afterwards and apply a protective wax coat.
SCRATCHED DOOR DINGS
Scratches on the car door are quite common. It is very easy for someone to accidentally scratch it. Regardless of how you got it, you don’t want to spend a lot of money to fix something so minor. There are some natural solutions you can find at home to buff out the light scratches on your car.
- Whitening toothpaste. Toothpaste is like sandpaper, but softer. It sands down uneven edges of your car’s finish and helps fill the gap. This method only works on scratches that have not fully penetrated the car paint’s clear coat. It is also important to use the right kind of toothpaste. For this trick, whitening toothpaste is the perfect choice since it contains a small amount of abrasives similar to the ones found in car polish. Like any other methods, the first thing you have to do is to thoroughly clean your car and let it dry. Then get a soft cloth and add a small amount of toothpaste on it. Rub the toothpaste onto the scratch affected area using small circular motions to cover all areas. Make sure to cover and fill the gap of each and every cut and corner. Don’t put the toothpaste directly on the scratch mark, it could worsen it. Once the scratches are removed, make sure to clean the area using a soft cloth before the toothpaste dries off.
- Shoe Polish. For this method, you will need fine sandpaper and a shoe polish that is darker than your car paint. Given that you already thoroughly washed, cleaned and dried your car, apply the shoe polish on the scratched area. Spread it out and fill in every gap of the scratched paint. Then get the sandpaper and gently sand down the paint in the surrounding area. Make sure that you don’t overdo it and sand down the next layer of the paint. Always check the applied shoe polish and continue sanding lightly until all of it is removed. Use a soft cloth to polish the area.
- Nail polish. Men might not take this method seriously but nail polish works like magic. It can be a great scratch remover. Make sure to choose a colour closest to your car. Doing the same procedures as the other two methods listed above, you need to clean, buff, and sand down the damaged area. You can then proceed to apply the nail polish evenly to cover up the scratches. When the polish has dried and you can still spot some scratches in your car, you can apply another coat until the desired finish is achieved.
When it comes to our cars’ improvements and repairs, it is best to be smart about it. Always assess the situation or the damage before settling for a quick fix. We can either fix it or worsen it. Always consult your owner’s manual before working on any do-it-yourself repairs. Also check the manufacturer’s recommendations and make sure that you are not voiding any warranties. And of course, prevention is way better than cure. To prevent door dings from happening you can park away from other cars if you have the option, open the door slowly and readjust if necessary and teach your kids around your car.