The car might still be in a good shape technically, those small blemishes make it difficult to sell. We will show you what you can accomplish for the spot repair yourself!
Heavy accident damage is certainly detrimental to the value of your car. But also small, ugly spots considerably decrease its residual value and its comfort. Scratches, dents and rust holes eating away at the exterior make the car a lot less attractive.
Spot repair: Timely action saves money
Early treatment is the best policy for dents, scratches and rust holes. Postponing spot repair will cause the damage to expand.
- This particularly applies to rust: once the naked metal has been reached, there is no halting the destructive corrosion until you finally have to resort to welding equipment to save the car.
- Although this does not apply to scratches and dents, a “habituation effect” is likely to occur: once you get used to the first scratch, as an owner you will fail to notice the second, third, fourth, etc.
- Add a few dents, a tiny star in the windscreen or a dull headlight cover, you end up with a car whose value has been reduced to scrap.
Regular inspection on this kind of emerging damage is part of owning a car of a certain age. This is the right way to keep its residual value at an acceptable level – and you will enjoy the car until the moment of sale. Furthermore, you don’t have to be ashamed of your car.
What is possible for spot repair and what isn’t
Spot repair means repairing minor bodywork damage. Instead of sanding, filling and painting the entire metal hull, spot repair is what it implies: working spot by spot.
- With a bit of luck and dexterity you can fix dents yourself.
- When it comes to painting, you might want to rely on professional assistance.
- You can do a lot of preliminary work yourself in case of scratches and rust spots, which would make the finishing by a professional considerably cheaper.
So first of all once real craftmanship is required, it gets difficult for a beginner. This applies to paintwork as well as to welding.
So first of all: welding equipment is not for beginners! Unprofessional operation of this device can cause extensive damage to your car. Furthermore, you run the risk of injuring yourself and others if do do not know how to handle it.
Metal massaging – with patience and tools
A dent in the metal is a nuisance, but not a catastrophe. Spot repair theme has given rise to a blooming industry with many interesting products, making a repair – which used to be terribly expensive – considerably cheaper.
Fixing dents implies causing the metal to spring back to its original shape. As the dent is the result of external pressure it should be fixed by external pulling force.
Therefore: simply removing the interior panelling and hammering against the dent from the rear will only make the damage worse.
Spot repair kits with suction cups are available for professionals and DIY’ers.
|This procedure is very simple: work from big to small.|
For the first step of dent repair, the vacuum force of the biggest suction cup is used. Unfortunately, only in rare cases the dent will immediately spring back.
- Therefore, the spot repair kit contains several suction cups in different sizes. For the smaller cups, the dent’s tension force will be too strong to pull it out with only vacuum.
- To this end, small rubbers with special glue are attached to the dent. In the process of fixing a dent, a crease develops in its centre. The rubbers have an oblong notch which allows it to attach itself to the crease.
- Now the supplied slide hammer is applied. After repair the glue can be removed without any trace. Step by step you’re getting closer to the desired result.
When nothing can be gained from pulling, spot repair kits contain pushing tools. With help of the long push rod, the crease is carefully pushed flat from one side to the other.
|Fixing dents requires working slowly, carefully and in small steps.|
By doing so you can often save the skin of your car.
Repairing a dent in a plastic bumper is a lot easier.
Often, pouring hot water over it will fix it.
With a bit of luck and eventually with the aid of the pulling tools, the flexible plastic springs back in its original shape.
Removing scratches – with pen and patience
Small scratches can be filled with a touch-up pen. The pen can be obtained at the car dealer where the model is on sale.
It is very important to order exactly the right colour matching that of your car. Otherwise the repair will show.
For scratch repair you need:
|– touch-up pen in the right colour
– silicon cleaner or isopropyl alcohol
– 200-grit and 3500-grit car polish
– tools for manual polishing
– different grit polishing pads
- First, the damaged spot is thoroughly cleaned with isopropyl alcohol or silicon cleaner.
- Now, the scratch is filled with the touch-up pen. The paint must be allowed dry completely.
- Afterwards, the spot is polished with a 200-grit polish and a rough polishing pad. Subsequently, the entire car is polished with 3500-grit polish.
Now, you have not only removed the scratch, but also a shiny car.
Many people try to polish the scratch out without using the touch-up pen. Initially, the result looks good. However, going through the car-wash three or four times will rinse the filler from the scratch, which will eventually become visible again. Therefore: a scratch is missing paint and can only be adequately repaired with new paint.
Removing rust spots – a temporary measure
When repairing rust spots and rust holes, a correct assessment is very important. Basically, you have the choice between three procedures:
|– filling with filler and painting
– replacing the panels by a new or used component
– cutting out the damaged spot and repair it by welding
- Filling is always a temporary measure. When professionally executed, it will hold for five years. A badly filled spot starts to corrode after a few months.
- Front fenders, doors and boot lids can often be purchased as used parts for little money. By investing some time in the search, you might even find a part in the matching colour. This is the quickest and most effective way to remove a damaged spot on the car.
- This does not apply to spots on the inner bodywork. The rear wheel arch is often affected. Here, only filling and welding helps upgrading the car exterior.
Filling is very easy:
- First, the rust spot is sanded down to the naked metal. Not the tiniest bit of rust should remain.
- To make sure, the apparently clean-sanded spot is treated with rust converter. The filling putty is stirred in the prescribed mixing ratio of filler and hardener and applied abundantly. You can safely add 2 – 3 mm extra.
- Subsequently, the spot is sanded down manually and wet.
- Ultimately, a professional car painter should apply the final cover layer.
This will give you a perfect result at an acceptable price.
Foto: BLACKDAY, loraks, Sasiprapa2524, JACK Photographer, Srdjan Randjelovic, ignatius 63, GUNDAM_Ai, Ostralfotoru, CC7, NATA FUANGKAEW, Anze Furlan / shutterstock.com