Dent in car


I have a Toyota Highlander and accidentally ran into a mailbox at my friend’s house. It’s a very small dent on the back of the car and I don’t want to spend a lot of money to fix it. My dad said that it can be “hammered” out by an auto body shop. I have never heard of that, but it sounds like an inexpensive way to fix something cosmetic. Does anyone have any suggestions?



It is an acceptable repair method. It may or may not be right for your dent, but chances are good that will be it. Stop at a good body repair shop and they will be able to give you an estimate.


It may sound inexpensive but it’s not. Yes, a hammer and dolly can be used to work a dent out but it’s still going to look like garbage if not refinished.
A body shop will more than likely refinish the entire panel since spotting in an area on a clear coat finish can be pretty obvious.
There’s always more to these things than meets the eye.

Another newer method used now is an electric pistol that spot welds a nail (similar to a wood finishing nail) to the metal in various areas. A draw hammer is attached and the dent is pulled out followed by simply breaking the nail off of the weld. It still involves refinishing though.


Here’s a link to a guy who says that you can do this at home using dry ice. He has a video showing the process. I intend to try this myself because I have a small dent also.


If the paint isn’t compromised, then I’d look up the local “paintless dent repair” place in the yellowpages. If they can gain access to the other side of the dent, they can work it out without requiring repainting. It may only require removing some trim panel to do so. Since we can’t see the dented area, we’re only guessing. This is the type of thing that has to be seen to properly assess.


Depending on the size, shape, location and depth of the dent you may also be able to pull it out with a rubber suction cup device. AutoZone has them on the rack in two sizes. Originally designed for carrying glass, these tools have a throw over handle that is in the down position when applied, then moved up for maximum suction. It helps to use a little water too. Body shops use these things all the time. What looks like a $500 dent can sometimes be removed in seconds.


If you can get to the inside of the sheet metal where the dent is, you may be able to push it out by yourself. Use a piece of wood that is pretty close to the shape of the curve at the place where the dent is. DO NOT use a hammer. Use a jack or another piece of wood and pry the dent out.

Usually you won’t get it perfect, but if the paint is ok, you can make it hard to find.