Posts tagged: Auto repair

Door Dings Be Gone!

By , August 18, 2014 10:45 pm

Are you as annoyed by little door dings as I am? Every time I get in my car, I get to see these 3 annoying dings from some inconsiderate person in a parking lot (or our other car which sits next to mine in the garage). I recently came across PDR or Paintless Dent Repair.  For smaller dents and dings, you can use a glue puller. It was fascinating and I decided to give it a go. I got some of the tools of the trade from Amazon and eBay and decided to try it out.

So what are these things? The shiny aluminum thing is the actual puller. You use the glue gun to hot glue (black sticks) the yellow tabs to the dent and then the puller to yank the dent up. The glue will break free from the body or the tab, but not before it pulls the metal up a bit. Clean with alcohol (blue bottle) and then repeat until you are happy. Sounds simple enough. The soft faced hammer and white plastic thingy is for knocking down high spots.

Here are some of the tools you will need.

Here are some of the tools you will need.

So, another indispensable tool is called a dent board.

Back of the dent board. See the suction cup and bendy arm?

Back of the dent board. See the suction cup and bendy arm?

 

Using the board, you can cast a reflection of symmetrical lines onto the body and see exactly where the dents are. The board uses a suction cup to secure to the body and then you can bend it anyway you want with the special stem.

This particular one is translucent so that light from behind can shine through and help to increase the reflection on the other side. Now the other side is where all of the action takes place.

I got this one off of eBay from a company called PDR Tools. They are in Wisconsin and make all varieties of these boards.

 

Here’s the view from the other side, positioned so you can see 2 of the 3 dings I’m messing with today. You see where the straight lines get all messed up in the center? That’s where the dents are. When you see circular or fat lines, that’s where the metal is pushed in (dented). If you see peaked or thinner lines that appear pinched, that’s where it’s high. In this picture there are no highs really, just dings.  The top one is a more complex dent. The impact has spread out to the edges where the adjacent lines contort. The tiny one below it is a teeny ding.

The dents are clear as day using a line board.

The dents are clear as day using a line board.

OK, now what? Well, you heat up the glue and stick them to the center of the ding along with a yellow pull tab. In the picture below I’ve put two tabs on the dings. The smaller ding in the picture above doesn’t have a tab yet. It gets in the way of the larger ding. They’ll have to be done separately.

Two tabs on the dings. Ready to pull.

Two tabs on the dings. Ready to pull.

You have to wait a few moments for the glue to cool and set. I found that it generally happens pretty fast. Surprisingly, the glue doesn’t pull off the paint. I hear that this should only be attempted for factory paint. It is possible it’ll pull off paint if the paint doesn’t have strong adhesion to the surface. A repaint tends to be weaker than factory paint.

If there’s glue residue left after the pull, you just use the spray bottle of alcohol to remove it. Easy.

 

 

Time to pull it out!

Time to pull it out!

 

You get great leverage with the puller. Pulling gently will flex the metal. Pulling hard may stretch it and pull it out too far. You can always knock it down, but that’s tricker than it sounds.

So the best bet is to experiment. Softly pull at first and if it doesn’t work, pull harder! If the tab comes off, you just glue it up again and do another pull.

Now I should mention that between pulls (or even before) you can soften up the dent and take out some of the stress around the edges using the soft faced hammer and white plastic thingy. I forget what it’s called. (Knock down tool?).

I think it’ll be a lot of trial and error before I get it completely right.

I’m not looking for perfection (yet), but trying to make the dings less noticeable.

So in the end, I think it works pretty darn well! Here is a shot of the panel after the 3 dings are pulled out. Come to think of it, I should of left the board on so that you can see better. The dents are not completely invisible, but you have to look hard and move about to see where they used to be. Overall, I am very pleased.

The finished repair. There were 3 dings in this panel.

The finished repair. There were 3 dings in this panel.

So this took me all of 35 minutes to pull out 3 dings. I’ve got lots of dings on our family’s other cars. I’m going to get lots of practice over the next few weeks. I should be a pro by then! LOL!

Post a comment below if you have any questions. I think this is a pretty great way to keep our car looking good.

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