Should you do your own auto body repair?
Answer this question: Do you have two left thumbs? If yes, do not do it. If no, it depends on how much repair the auto body needs. A used car langley will require more repair than a new car.
Let us consider first an automobile that had a major accident with damage to more than a bumper or a fender. You should not attempt to fix the damage on your own, unless, of course, you are an auto body guy with lots of tools and experience. If your car sustained damage to the frame or other vital parts linked to the safety of the vehicle, you should leave the repair to professionals.
Now that we have eliminated heavy duty repairs, we can consider the type of repairs that a moderately handy do-it-yourself hobby repairman can do. Among the relatively easy to fix body damage is an ugly dent on flat surfaces, scratches, scrape marks from the concrete post at the beginning of your driveway or small dents from flying stones that hit your vehicle. Yet there is more you could do. How much depends on your experience.
You may be able to fix the damage from a small fender bender in your garage. Or remove and replace the lights damaged during the accidental hit. Do you have some experience painting? If yes, you can repair paint damage to your collection as well.
Small dent repair
Small dents on a flat, smooth large piece of car metal are not uncommon. They are also often easily repaired. Your main tools will be a regular plunger, the household kind. Then you need some container for water and soap. If the finish of the dented part is not broken, you have a good chance of removing the dent.
Splash a container full of soap and water on the dent (even if it is on a vertical surface), then forcefully push the infamous plunger against the metal surface. It should seal well because of the water. Pull on the plunger. You may be able to pull the dent out.
You could spend money and get one of the commercial suction devices for the job. But that small dent may not be worth this effort.
Scratches, scrapes and the like
For this type of repair, we need fine sandpaper, soapy water, some buffing material and a small bottle of touch up paint matching your car’s color. You get these materials from a body shop or auto parts supply.
Wet the sandpaper well and start gently sanding the edges of the damage. The sandpaper must be wet all the time. Keep on sanding till the damaged area is smooth again. Then let it sit until it dries completely. Give it 20 or more minutes on a dry, sunny day. Do not proceed until the repaired area is completely dry.
Then it is time to apply the touch-up paint. One coat may not cover completely. Let the paint dry until it feels hard and smooth to the touch. Apply a second coat if needed.
Satisfied with the result of your body work and your paint job? Take a little wax and apply it evenly over the fresh paint. That’s it. Done well, you saved yourself a good chunk of money.