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Scrape, dented and paintless

Hey guys!

So I had a run in with a concrete wall… and now I have a lovely big dent in the side of my car, slightly warped metal and no paint. I can’t really afford the £400 I have been quoted to fix it… And I would really like to give it a go myself, but I have never done anything like it before… So can you help me out and give me some advice on what to use/how etc. I’d really appreciate it!

Without knowing the make and model, it’s pretty hard to advise you. We can only guess how to get behind the dent to pound it back out.

It’s rough when those concrete walls jump out into your path like that. They should be kept on a leash, at least.

As far as the paint goes. You could order a spray can of your color from the dealer…it won’t be cheap.
Because there is bare metal showing, you should at least get it covered to avoid it rusting.
Sand it down to remove any loose paint, give it a coat of primer, then a few coats of color.

Then maybe some day you can afford to have it pounded out and a professional job done.

In the mean time this will at least keep the rust at bay.


Looks like a 4 door car? You can remove the inside door panel by first removing the knobs and look for screws inside any cubby holes or hand holds. Then use a pry tool around the edges to loosen the push in snaps.

Now with some scrap wood and the cars jack, you can rig up something that goes between the hump in the center of the car to the door panel with the jack in the middle and use the jack to push the panel in place. You will want a thin piece of wood with a little flexibility that just covers the dented area, 1/2" plywood should work, so that the force is evenly spread over the dented area.

You probably will not get out the worst area of the dent, but I would not worry about it for now, just pop the larger area into place. If you use a hammer, you will leave behind a bunch of pings that will always show.

Once done, paint over with duplicolor spray paint or a matching paint from the dealer. If duplicolor has the matching paint, it will be the cheapest way to go. Duplicolor is a brand of paint found in many auto parts stores.

It will not be perfect, but it wont stand out either, at least not like it does now.

BTW, if you want to prime the bare metal, and that would be a good idea, use an etching primer or a zinc chromate primer instead of automotive grey or red.

I might try the ‘toilet plunger’ approach first. Dampen a (clean) plunger, and use it to try and pop out the dent.

New door.


@Keith…,fully agree! There appears to be no holes so removal of the inner panel, sanding and painting is worth a try. If you are lacking funds to begin with, it’s a good way work on a car when the worse that can happen is you are dissatisfied with the results. No safety issues and it appears the door still functions properly. It’s just a car door…go for it.

What @Tester said, except see if you can find a used one with matching paint. LOTS easier to swap out a door than do bodywork.

If you really want the car to look nice again, I’d agree with Tester and get a door from a junkyard – as long as it’s a common car, and that blue is a common color for the car. A friend of mine, after they did something similar to my car, was able to get a replacement from a junkyard for under $100.

That’s not a door dent. The door is damaged too but that’s the rear “quarter” or whatever they’re calling it with the dish dent.

Looks like a door to me.

If you look at the bottom, the door frame is bent and the bottom of the door is sticking out.


You’re right ,it’s not a door. It’s the rear quarter panel.

Time for some cutting and welding.


No, if it is a quarter panel, then remove the rear seat and then the side panel. Its not that hard. Then push from the inside.


I can tell you’ve done little or no body repair.

If you look at the left side of the dent, the metal has been bent drastically and suddenly. This stretches the metal. So if you push the dent out, the metal will pop outward too far. And if you try to push the metal back in, the dent will return to it’s original shape. This is called oil canning. You will never get the metal to return to its original shape or close to it.

Since there are no body lines to deal with, it’s easier to cut out the stretched metal and weld in a new piece of sheet metal.


Tester I have done repairs like this. I am not disputing what you say, all I claimed was that you can make it less noticeable. Heck, just painting over the bare metal will make it less noticeable. If you want it restored to the “before” condition, then off to the professionals.

Well then?

That’s difference between you and I.

I tend to do things professionally.


After popping it out, Bondo, baby:

There are as many ways to fix this as there are regular posters here I’ll bet. That’s the good thing about cars, it is almost always possible to fix what’s broken. I have little to no body work experience so if I had that problem first thing I’d do is see if I could find an exact replacement part at a junkyard. If there’s not one of these at the local junkyard, ask the attendant there to check on the junkyard network. There may be one in Scotland or somewhere. If shipping the part from Scotland, there may be an import fee to get it across the border to England. If you have to drive there yourself to get it, don’t forget your passport! … lol …

If I just couldn’t find a replacement part, I’d try to remove that part from the car and see if I could work out some arrangement to reshape it. My thinking is anything that can be bent can be unbent. Before I started pounding away though I’d visit my local public library and pick up a book on autobody repair. My local library here in the USA has several books on this topic.

Once you get it in the correct shape then all you have to do it repaint it. Again, the book you got on autobody repair will tell you how.

I should say when this kind of thing happened to my Dad’s truck he’d just get out all the hammers and screwdrivers and blocks of wood he could find, some heavy hunks of metal to pound against like the lead thing he used to form his fish lures, and do the best he could. If something needed a little fill-in, he’d glue an old piece of beer can to it. If something needed to be pulled out a little, he’d drill a hole and pull it out with a rod attached to a gadget he found at the hardware store to hold picture frames in drywall that would go into the hole, but wouldn’t come out. Then he’d fill the rest with Bondo. Bondo is sort of like a magical thing. But it’s also like Peter Pan, you have to believe it will work. Otherwise it won’t.

Then sand and paint with the closest color of paint he could find in a rattle can at the local hardware shop. Then wax after a few weeks. The results – while they wouldn’t hold up to what the pros can accomplish – usually looked pretty good. Best of luck to you.

I gotta agree with both Keith and tester. I think 400 # is a pretty good price! but go buy a body repair manual and see if it’s something you want to tackle. Might be easier to get a second job for the same time though and pay someone else. It’s no small repair and requires tools and skills in metal working, filling,and painting. Just IMHO.

Let’s see, 400 pounds is about, what, $700 U.S.? Yeah, that sounds reasonable to have it professionally done.

You didn’t mention the make, model, or year of the car. If it’s new, it’s worth it IMHO.

If it’s old and you’re not really concerned about perfection, or if you really want to try just to learn, than I say go for it. Get a book on autobody repair at the local bookstore. The absolute worst that can happen is that you realize it’s not something you can do and you end up at a body shop. It’s well worth exploring your limits.

The hardest part in my experience will be the paint. If you have access to a compressor, buy the air gun and get real paint from a supplier that serves auto body shops (or perhaps have it mixed by an auto body shop). It’ll be worth the extra money. Rattlecans cannot do as good a job as the proper paint. You’ll know whether it’s worth it once you get a coat of sandable primer on it and go over it with the sanding blocks. That’ll tell you how well you did with the surface work, and you can decide from there. No paint job can ever be better than the surface under it.

And good luck. Even if you find you lack “the touch”, it won’t be the end of the world, and you’re sure to learn from the experience.

Rattle cans can be loaded with the same paint you would put into a professional spray gun. A local shop where I used to live would do that for you. The difference was in the spray nozzle compared to a box store can and then technique. Too many people do not pay attention to proper technique. Second worst sin, trying to eek every last bit of paint out of the can when the pressure has dropped off considerably. I have done quite a few budget restos using rattle cans and if you do it right, it will come out better than you expect. Many people could not tell the difference on one car I blended in a repair using spray bombs. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper if you don’t already own a spray gun w/a dry air source and more convenient than loading/cleaning the spray gun for smaller jobs like this. I wouldn’t discount using rattle cans…