• Auto Collision Repair Basics: Do It Yourself

    When it comes to auto collision repair, there are some things that you can do yourself. Small fender benders can be completed easily in your own garage. If you have more extensive knowledge of auto body repair techniques and painting, you can do more work to fix your car. However, for the usual do it yourself weekend mechanic, here are some helpful hints for your next DIY auto repair.

    Take Full Notice of All Damage

    Before you start putting wrench to bolts you should know the exact extent of the damage that has been done. Look all around the vehicle and take notice of what parts need to be replaced, what internal damage has been done and what tools you will need. If the repairs look to be over your head, don’t hesitate to get professional help.

    Attacking Dents

    One of the most common forms of auto collision repair is simple dents in the side panel, on the hood, or along fenders and doors. You can buy replacement parts for the dented areas if the damage is really bad. These are simple bolt on panels that use the same attachment points as the older panels. For smaller dents you can use some simple tools to smooth the dent out or pull it back into place. A dent puller is an easy tool to use and does a great job. Small, crease-like dents can be smoothed out by using a small block of wood and a mallet. Place the wood over the crease and easily tap it with the mallet. The metal will be forced back into position.

    Filling in Scratches

    If you need to fill in some scratches and then paint over them, you can do this with some Bondo and auto body touch up paint. Find the paint code so you can match up the paint perfectly. This code is usually found under the hood, on the door jamb or in the glove compartment. Take this to a parts supply store or an auto body shop and they will be able to give you some touch up paint that matches. Wash the area where the scratch is and then smooth out some Bondo filler into the scratch. Smooth it out with some smooth grit sandpaper and then paint over the area.

    Replacing Lights and Chrome

    Another common auto collision repair is to replace any trim that was taken off or to replace headlights or taillight housings that have been run into or backed into. These housings are secured to most vehicles with a few small screws. You will need to disconnect the light bulbs inside them from under the hood. Remove the old assembly and install the new. Trim, such as chrome trim, is sometimes installed with small screws or with auto body adhesive. Remove the old adhesive and use a wet auto body sandpaper to remove the old adhesive that remains. Touch up any scratches so rust doesn’t set in and place the new trim in the previous spot. Affix with new screws or adhesive.