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How To Get A Dent Out Of A Car – What Causes Dents In Cars?

How To Get A Dent Out Of A Car

There’s never a convenient time to get dent in a car. Whether that dent come from Mother Nature, a kid’s baseball, or surfaces after a minor collision, dents are troublesome, tedious and stressful. So, can you remove a small dent from your car yourself? What about the large dents that you may not be able to repair What causes dents in cars- in the first place? We have the information you need and want! 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE

What Exactly is a Dent? What Causes Dents in Cars? 

We have all experienced that “What in the Heck” or that “Oh No” feeling when we come back from a shopping trip and find a blemish on the side of our car. Sometimes this kind damage is almost inevitable but there is life after that blemish. 

What’s a “ding” and what’s a “dent”? 

Typically, a “ding” is defined as an unstructured blemish on a vehicle, that pushes the body inward. Usually, a “ding” is approximately 1/2 inch in diameter- and doesn’t cause any damage to the paint of the car. It also never leaves an exposed area that can later rust. Shopping cars that “run wild” in a parking lot are a major culprit. Whether it be wind or a shopper that just rolls the cart from his or her vehicle- that cart can make its way to your vehicle, causing a small “smashed in” area on the body of your car. Carelessly opened car doors are also another major cause of dings. 

A “dent” is generally defined as a more extensively damaged areas on cars, that are “crushed in” to the body of the car- and they care suspectable to rust if left untreated. Generally, a dent requires some work from an auto professional. The only difference between a dent and ding, is the size of the area. And depending on the size of the dent, you could be looking at hundreds of dollars in repair. 

NonNon-Chargeable Vs. The Chargeable Damage 

If you have a ding, then you have a blemish that a mechanic or body shop professional will generally not charge for. Since dings are less than 1/2 inch in diameter, they don’t require paint work. Most dings are repaired using a “paintless” technique. They don’t cost much and for many body shop professionals, they won’t even charge you anything. In many instances, the repair cannot be seen. It is important to note that ding and paintless repairs can’t be done, if that areas has been damaged before. So, you may be looking at being charged for the repair of that ding. 

There are some larger dented areas that can be repaired using a paintless technique, but you can expect to be charged. The labor of the repair will be where the bulk of your charge. 

So, should you try to fix the dent yourself or take your car to a body shop? While we encourage safety and cost-effectiveness, we understand that many may not have the money to visit a body shop to repair a dent. This post will offer DIY repairs for how to get a dent out of car as well as information on what a body shop may charge-depending on your dent. 

How To Get A Dent Out Of A Car Using a Plunger 

We get it. Getting a dent on your car is an unplanned event and can cost money that may set you back financially. I mean, who has “emergency dent money” ready? So, should you fix a dent with a plunger? Keep reading and see if this is what you should do. 

When should I use a plunger to remove a dent from my car? 

Let’s state this clearly before we move any further: as you need information about how to remove a dent from a car, you need to keep in mind that not all methods will be successful for all types of dent damage. Typically, the dent removal method using a plunger is best on plastic areas of your vehicle. So, should you get into a fender bender and you need to fix that plastic bumper, you just may be in luck.  But if you have a damaged roof or a broken or chipped windshield, then the plunger method is not for you.  

OK- What steps do I take to remove the dent from the plastic part of my car? 

Now that you see the dent, it’s time to get to work! Check out these steps to get a dent out of a car with a plunger: 

  1. First, you will need a plunger as well as some very hot water. 
  2. Next, pour the hot water over the plastic surface of your car. This will soften your plastic.  
  3. Thirdly, place the plunger over the indented area and begin pulling it straight out. You should have your dent pop right out, right there. 
  4. If the dent does not pop out, you’ll have to repeat until you get your desired result. 
  5. Take your time and be sure that you have very hot water so that the plastic is softened. 

How To Get A Dent Out Of A Car With A Hair Dryer

Just as the plunger method, the hair dryer dent removal method will not work on all dents. So, you have to take the time to assess the damage and see if the hair dryer method will work for you. It’s worth mentioning that the hair dryer dent removal method is not going to work on a car that has been totaled. But you may see success with small dings and even minor dents. Before attempting to do this hair dryer method, you want to take the time to assess if your particular dent is a good candidate for this repair technique. 

Where is your dent located? 

Smooth areas such as the hood, roof, doors, fenders the trunk or even fenders are all good candidates for the hair dryer method for dent removal. Areas where there are creases or curves will be complicated and this method will not work. 

Take measurements of your dent 

If your dent is three inches or more in diameter- and you have no visible damage to the paint- then this hair dryer dent removal method may be truly successful. But if you have a larger dent, you may have to visit a body shop. 

What to do with your hair dryer and your compressed air

The materials that you need for the hair dryer and compressed air method include: 

  1. A clean and soft cloth
  2. Compressed air 
  3. A hair drier with hot settings 
  4. Heavy-Duty gloves that have a rubber shield/coating on them. 

Before you begin, make sure that you can easily see and reach the dent. For example, if the dent is on the hood, make sure you can open your hood and reach the dent on the hood-with no issue. 


Next, turn your hair dryer on and use a medium heat setting. Hold the dryer about seven inches away from your car’s body.  You may even need to wave the dryer back and forth, depending on the size of your dent. Your back and forth motions will ensure an even distribution of the heat. 


Moving forward, put your gloves on and then check the malleability of the metal after a few minutes of your hair dryer heat on the metal. You should check the malleability by gently pressing on the outer edges or the underside of the dent. 


If you feel some movement from the heat, then move forward to the next step. But if you don’t keep heating the area with your hair dryer. You may need another one or two minutes of heat. After another application of heat, check the malleability again. 


After your heat application, you want to spray your dent with compressed air.  Be sure to shake the car and then spray the dent while holding the can upside-down. And remember- you should be wearing your gloves! Spray the region until the metal pops back into its designated place on your car. This usually takes about 40- 50 seconds. Finally, wipe the liquid residue that the compressed air produced. This is when you need your clean and soft cloth for this step. 


Does dry ice really work on dents?

Many body shop experts say no, while others say yes. One YouTuber tested this method. He took a piece of dry ice, worked the piece around the dent and concluded that this is not an effective method. You can click here to view the results for yourself! 

How To Get A Dent Out Of A Car- When You Need A Body Shop Professional 

In the world of Internet DIY projects and others, we as human beings, tend to want to fix things ourselves and save money, time and aggravation. But there comes a time in which we just have to bite the bullet and take our dented car to a body shop. No, it is never fun, but you have to do it. So, when it comes to the solution of how to get a dent out of a car, the answer is to take the car to a reputable body shop.

Benefits of letting a body shop take care of your dent 

You allow a professional take care of the dent once and for all 

We all love doing things ourselves and solving our own problems. You may think that a simple DIY kit from the neighborhood auto store may be your answer. But consider this: you pay for the DIY kit, spend your morning trying to get the dent out, only to find that the issue requires more than meets the eye. 

You keep other issues at bay 

So, you have the great idea to fix the dent yourself- but you then chip paint or cause additional damage to your car. So, that dent on the corner of the car has now evolved into a dent, chipped and even a broken taillight- all because you wanted to fix the dent yourself. 

Your insurance may cover it

Have you checked your insurance policy? Your insurance may over the cost of the dent. Some really good reputable body shops may even pay your deductible. No one wants to call their insurance company to make a claim, but the body shop may be able to assist. And the only way you’ll know is if you call and find out. 

Is Paintless Dent Repair Good?

Paintless dent repair or called PDR for short- is a commonly used dent repair technique that is seen as very cost-effective and even environmentally friendly. PDR is ideal for dents with low impact, minor dings, dents resulting from hail damage, a small object coming into contact with the car and door dings. 


How Much Does A Dent In A Car Cost To Fix?

The cost of your dent repair will depend on the dent itself.  

No paint damage? 

If you have a dent and the paint is still intact, you may be able to get it fixed from a professional rather quickly. Depending on the technique and skill of the auto body professional, you can expect to pay about $130 or a bit more for a 1-inch dent. Of course, the price will be higher as your dent is larger. 


Hail damage or ding damage? 

If your vehicle has hail damage or dents that are similar you may pay about $100 or even less. Your body professional may be able to work on the damage from one access point- and this will lower the cost a lot. You may even be able to find a shop that specializes in hail damage only.


What’s The Best Place To Visit For Your Dent? 

For the dent you have on your car, you have a variety of options. But after you assess the damage, you want to ask yourself a few questions. “Is your car under warranty?” “Will you be able to go through your insurance and visit an approved body shop?” “Do you have a shop in the neighborhood that can fix your dent?” The answers to these questions will help determine where to go to get your dent repaired. 


The dealership can fix your dent, if you have a car that is still under warranty. Lots of dent repair jobs require manufacturer-specific tools that only dealers have. But if your car is NOT under warranty, be prepare to spend some money- as many of us know that a dealership can be the most expensive option. To get that dent repaired. 

Large Body Shop Chains 

We all see the commercials and hear the radio advertisements for large car body shop chains. We even know the slogans by heart (“Uh-Oh… Better Get…”)! Many of these large franchises are known for producing quality work and having access to state-of-the-art tools and technology. You may even be able to print off a coupon from your computer, to save additional money on dent repair. So be sure to call, check online and just ask about specials. 

Small Body Shops 

We all have small body shops in our area and some are great- while others are not so great. So, the best bet is to ask friends or family members that have had a dent and got it fixed. Seek reviews about these shops and find out what others are saying about these places.  Keep in mind that while these shops are great for basic repairs and fixes, you may not find that they have the financial backing that larger body shops have.  Get estimates in writing and find out what they can do to remove that dent and ding from your car. 

Ready To Get Rid of That Dented Car? 

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