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Door dent in 2008 Nissan Altima

OK, first dent (kind of big but not deep and no creases) on the rear passenger door of my Altima.
I’ve done the research on dent removal methods; vacuum cleaner with bucket, toilet or sink plunger, hair dryer and compressed air or Auto Zone suction cup and of course the You Tube videos make it look as easy as making toast.
But I could use some opinions from the guys and gals here.
What works and what doesn’t and how is the best way to do it.
I’m not wondering if it’s best to pull off the interior door panel and push the dent out with my hand.
Thanks as always for any help and advice.
Dent Repair Newbie.

It depends how deep the dent is.

If the dent is to the point where it stretched the sheet metal, it can result to what’s called oil-canning.

This means that when the sheet metal is pulled out, it sticks out too far. And when it’s pushed back in, the dent returns.

An image of the dent would be helpful.


I’d get a quote from a paintless dent repair place. They can often do a perfect job for a reasonable price.


hmmm … now I’m wondering how the vacuum cleaner w/bucket works … lol … I’ve never had to solve this problem myself, but if I had to solve that problem, first thing I’d try, I’d remove the door panel and see what the dent looked like from the other side. There may be an obvious solution when you can see the dent from inside the door panel. I have some of those suction cup things, so I might try those too. Certain dents can be almost miraculously removed using the hair dryer technique, but a dented metal door panel, probably not. I’ve always wondered about that relatively inexpensive tool HF sells that sort of welds a stud to the door, then you have something to pull on apparently. Gluing a stud to the door might work pretty good for that matter using JB Weld. But welding /gluing may require repainting the entire door. One other idea, drill a hole in the door and poke something through that will expand once it is on the other side, sort of like you do when repair drywall. The only other idea I can come up with is that the entire exterior survace of the door can be replaced with a new panel. How exactly that’s done, folks here would know. Best of luck there OP. I’m sure you can figure it out given enough time and experimenting Sounds like an interesting problem.

This reminds me of a story :wink: … I was mt biking on a dirt trail and the front tire hit a tree stump straight on when I missed a turn. The wheel changed immediately into a taco shape. Not knowing what to do, and not wanting to carry my bike 2.5 miles back to the car, I just pulled on the wheel in various directions, and presto change-o, it popped right back into the original wheel shape. A little spoke tension adjusting session back home got the wheel back into perfect alignment. So don’t discount a miracle!!

I’ve had good luck with PDR. The guy did good in fixing the door dings on the right side of my car.

Someone bumped into the quarter panel of my 81 Delta 88 once. When I got home I just took a plunger to it and it was good as new. It was a fairly big dent too like a foot by 18" or so but no creases. I don’t know anything about the other methods except for small dents, those little suction cups can work. If there are no creases, you just try to bump it out without creating another dent. Part of it is access. If you can’t do it with your bare hands though, I’d be careful you don’t make it worse. I’ve used heat on a bumper cover to push out a large dent but I wouldn’t use heat on metal.

Removing the inner door panel would, IMHO, be the best way. I would check out videos on removing the inner panel first, some panels have all sorts of wires and connectors. The toilet plunger method has the potential of making the dent worse. Read the reviews on the suction cup from AUtozone, users were not impressed. There are really good suction cups from Seasucker, but are very expensive.

My sister in law had a large dent in the tailgate of her PT Cruiser.“Friendly” body shop estimate $1000 plus. My neighbor does DPR for high end dealers. He did it for $140 in 1/2 hour.

Thanks all for the great replies.
I’m posting this photo of the dent

Looking at the pictures, I would go the interior route.


Thanks NYBo.
And going through the door, would you recommend just pushing it out with my hands?

Yes, or possibly using your feet, spreading the force as much as possible. If it doesn’t pop out with that way you will probably need professional help.

Thanks again for your help Purebred.

Yes. It may be difficult to get your hands in there because of the supports, window regulator, speaker, etc.

Yeah, I thought about that.
I can take a look and see if I can reach it all.

Pushing with your hands is good. I would avoid pushing with anything small or hard, because you will chance making more dents, pushed out. You want to push out over a broad area, because it looks like that’s how the dent was made in the first place. You will never get out the deep line at the bottom by yourself, but you might be able to push the larger area above it out some. And the damage to the rocker panel is probably beyond the ability of an amateur.

Then try using rubbing compound in progressively lighter forms to rub out scratches and maybe paint from whatever it is that came in contact with the door.

I have no idea what a replacement door from recyclers would cost, but it’s probably available in the same color, if you are patient.

That is a lot of sheet metal damage. You might be able to make more dents from the inside but that won’t help.

Replacing the door would be the best solution.


Thanks for the help everyone.

Yeah, that’s pretty severe and you have a stretch mark above and creases and stretches below. They will show. If you pull the door panel off, you can at least make the upper part look a little better but I think you will need tools with a little leverage. I think I’d use a short length of 1x4 as backing and press against that carefully with either a long pry bar or another longer piece of 1x4. Or a rubber mallet if you have some access. Just slowly push it out and try to massage the upper crease. Just leave those lower creases pretty much alone.

That’s gonna be to pretty tough to bring back to new-looking condition just by pushing from the other side. I doubt that’s gonna work, but it might improve the appearance of the dent at least. Your best bet is probably to price it out at a good body shop, they may know to do it for not too much $$$. If you’re bound and determined to try to fix it yourself, you might try getting a helper to hold something heavy (and more or less conforming to the curve of the metal and non-scratching) against the exterior surface while you tap on it from the inside, say using a length of 2x4 end-on to transfer the impact from a dead-blow hammer, a version of the dolly and hammer approach.

And there’s the Bondo method. If you weren’t overly worried that the patching paint didn’t exactly match, that would do a pretty good job to cover up the problem, but it might not last.