Dent repair techniques used on trucks or other large commercial vehicles are effectively the same as those used on any other automobile albeit on a larger scale. Trade professionals are able to use their skills on a vehicle of any size and many DIY enthusiasts have had great success in producing an effective and long-lasting repair job on their own trucks.
Step 1 – Reaching the Dent
To remove as much of the dent as possible before preparing the damaged area and applying body filler, it is essential that you remove all surrounding trims before starting. Most cosmetic features such as door trims or plastic surrounds are easily removed using a screwdriver or, wherever necessary, a trim removal tool that fits beneath plastic clips or fittings.
Step 2 – Knocking Out the Dent
Once the dent is accessible, hold the dolly firmly in one hand and place it in position at one end of the dent behind the surface of the body panel. Take the flip in the other hand and hit it against the exterior surface of the dent so that it makes contact with the dolly behind it. Slowly move the dolly along the length of the dent while continuing to hit it with the flip on the face side of the panel. This process will not remove the dent entirely but it will promote a flatter surface to work with.
Step 3 – Bare Metal Basics
Once you have removed as much of the dent as possible, put on your dust mask and add a P80 grit sanding disk to your disc sander. Use both hands to control the sander and remove all of the surface paint up to a circumference of approximately three inches around the dent. Remove the excess dust with compressed air and wipe with a cloth dampened with paint thinner so you have a clean surface to work on.
Step 4 – Apply Filler
Mix a sufficient quantity of body filler with compatible hardener and spread it into the dent. Be sure to work the body filler outside the dent as well as into the crease so there is enough material to feather back once sanding begins. The surface of the filler should sit slightly above the surface of the repaired panel.
Step 5 – Rubbing Down Filler
Wrap a length of P80 grit abrasive paper around the sanding block and lightly work over the filled area making sure that the edges are reached with every sweep of your hand. Use the flat area of your palm regularly to establish the shape of the panel and continue to remove the filler until a perfectly flat area remains. You may find that larger dents require several applications of filler before a good surface is achieved.
Step 6 – Finishing
Once the panel is sanded to shape, lightly sand over the filler with fine grades of paper up to P240 grit. This will establish a good base for priming and painting so that scratches won’t show through after refinishing. Remember to blow excess dust from the panel with compressed air and wipe with cloth dampened with paint thinner before beginning any paint preparation techniques.