1996 Toyota Tacoma - Should I hit this with a hammer?

My 1996 Toyota Tacoma was in a fender bender a while back. The front of the car is a little crunched but not too bad. The main thing that’s the problem is that the right front headlight is slightly bent. I took my car to a body shop and they said I can actually just take a hammer and pound the frame the headlight is sitting in to straighten it out. I know basically nothing about cars and am looking for a little bit of direction. Thank you for any help!

Ask them for a quote, and if you find their fee acceptable, ask them to do the job for you. Generally body shops don’t simply pound on the metal with a hammer, they will at least support the metal from the other side somehow. If you do this incorrectly as a diy’er, you may end up shrinking the metal and making correcting the problem even more difficult.

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Cool cool cool. Thank you. I talked to a friend of mine who knows a bit about cars and the more I learn about this the more I think it’s something that’s probably beyond my ability. Thank you for the information!

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Why do you doubt their professional judgement? They say they can do it and they’ve seen and touched the car.

We can’t see or touch the damage, why would our opinion hold any weight?

Hey, sorry, the woman who I talked to at the autobody place said that I could just bang the light back into place. Maybe I wasn’t clear on that. I guess what I was looking for was some practical tips and guidance, which she didn’t give me.

If you know nothing about cars, don’t attempt your own body repair. You’ll make it worse.

Just go back to the shop and ask if they would just bang it out and how much that would cost.

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Can you provide an image of the damage on the truck?


Absolutely. Sorry it took me a while to respond. I was having some technical issues on my end uploading these pictures.

Sorry about the color on these ones. I tried increasing the brightness so you could see the inside of the car better.

See if there is a paintless dent repair place nearby. They would probably do it!

Paintless dent repair. Cool! Thanks man.

Take the plastic grill and headlight bezel off and see if the headlight bucket can be straightened.

Otherwise, the headlight bucket may need replacing.



Here’s my advice . . .

Remove the bumper, grille and front exterior lighting

Now you’ve got room to pull everything straight(er) with a slide-hammer set, the kind that comes with the body shop adapters


You very likely bent at least one of the bumper brackets, which should be pretty easy to replace

Perhaps you can straighten the bumper using a shop press

I’ve seen far worse and this should be well within your capabilities

Think of it as a weekend project

Or, the damage may require the use of a Port-A-Power.


All good comments but the thing is, most us that DIY learned by doing it ourselves. Sometimes it’s nice to have the proper tools too. You aren’t going to get a hammer in there unless you take it off. So either disassemble as suggested or a pry bar to ease it reasonably back in place.

Someone ran into the front of my corvair and the headlight was pointed up toward the trees. I hadn’t gotten around to fixing it yet but the police stopped my wife and asked her if sh3 was hunting coons. It became a priority then. I think I was 12 though with my first body repair.