5 Methods to Remove Car Dents
Dents in your car are unsightly and can affect your car’s resale value if they’re not fixed. But getting a dent fixed professionally can set you back hundreds, or even thousands of dollars if the damaged area is large enough. Before you throw down a bunch of money, consider trying one of the following DIY methods to remove the dent at home.
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Method 1: Hot water and a plunger
You may be able to remove a small or shallow dent from a plastic car part (like the bumper cover) with a pot of boiling water and a plunger. To try this method, pour the boiling water either from a pot or a kettle directly onto the dent. Take your plunger and plunge it into the dent, pulling out quickly. You may need to do this several times in order for it to work.
You can also do this on a shallow dent without any water, or with cold or room-temperature water. The water helps the plunger get a good seal, allowing you to pull out the dent quickly. But with minor dents, even the cold water may not be necessary.
Check out the following video to see this method in action:
Method 2: Hairdryer and compressed air
If the plunger method didn’t work (or if you don’t have a plunger), try removing the dent with a hairdryer and compressed air.
Turn the hairdryer to its hottest setting and direct the air toward the dent. Once it’s heated up (this may take several minutes), spray the dent with a can of compressed air that is held upside down. When the (cold) compressed air hits the hot surface of the car, it should contract and cause the dent to pop out.
Method 3: Mallet
If you can access the dent from behind, you may be able to pop it back out using a rubber mallet. Simply give the dent a firm whack from behind and, if it’s shallow enough, it may pop back out.
Method 4: Vacuum cleaner, bucket, and tape
Your vacuum cleaner can do more than just pick up crumbs and dog hair. It can also transform into a magical dent-removal tool when paired with a bucket and some tape.
To do this, you’ll need to cut a hole in the bottom of the bucket. The hole needs to be smaller than your vacuum cleaner nozzle, so make sure you measure before cutting. After you’ve created the hole, tape the vacuum cleaner nozzle over the hole. Now put the bucket/vacuum cleaner over the dent and turn on the vacuum cleaner. The suction should pull the dent out.
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Method 5: Dent repair kit
You can pick up a dent repair kit from your local auto parts store or online. It will come with a special tool and several attachments designed for pulling dents out of cars. The attachments are essentially suction cups (not dissimilar to a plunger) that should be able to pull out a minor dent. Your kit may also include hot glue that will help the suction cup stick to the dent and give it more traction.
If none of these DIY options work for you, you may need to bite the bullet and take your car to a body shop to get the dent repaired.
Have you tried any of these methods? Share your experiences in the comments!
Catherine Hiles (she/her) is a native Brit living and working in Dayton, Ohio. Cat has written about a variety of subjects, including finance, cars, and parenting. She is a frequent contributor to Dayton Mom Collective and The Penny Hoarder.
Cat lives with her husband, their two kids, and their energetic pitbull mix. She counts running, lifting weights, walking, and reading among her hobbies. See more articles by Cat.