How to Repair a Dent in Your Car Hood

Lead Image
  • 1-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 10-30
What You'll Need
A lightweight hammer
A random orbital sander
Sanding discs
A rubbing down block
Sanding paper
A trim removal tool
Body filler
Compressed air
Dust mask
Plastic spreader

Repairing a dent in your car hood is a relatively simple process. If a dent is excessively large, it is normally more cost effective to consider purchasing a new panel. However, small dents are easily fixed with the instructions below:

Step One – Tap out the Dent

Park your car on a flat, level surface to prevent it from rolling or moving while the repair is being carried out. Working from inside, take a lightweight hammer and gently tap the dent to make it as level as possible. Always tap from the outer ring of the dent and work inwards instead of working the centre of the dent. Continue tapping lightly until you have lifted as much of the dent as possible.

Step Two – Sanding

Put on your dust mask to help protect against dangerous paint particles while sanding. Use a random orbital sander and a P120 sanding disc to sand around the entire dent making sure an effective key is established. The key should protrude at least 3 inches past all areas of the depressed metal. Use compressed air from a can or compressor to blow off surplus dust.

Step Three – Add Filler

Use a plastic spreader and an old piece of cardboard for mixing up enough body filler to fill the remainder of the dent. Make sure that the correct ratio of body filler and hardener is used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

Spread the mixed filler into the dent making sure that it sits above the surface of the hood. Ensure that enough filler is added beyond the actual dent because much of the newly-applied filler will be lost in the sanding process.

Step Four – Rubbing Filler

Take your sanding block and a sheet of P120 sanding paper and begin rubbing down the filler. Try to cover the entire area with each individual sweep of the block, making sure that it remains as flat as possible at all time. Work in a backwards and forwards motion, occasionally changing direction so that difficult edges can be dealt with.

Try not to press down to hard. Allow the block to do the work. Excessive pressure can actually cause more dents and make life more difficult. Continue rubbing down until the body filler is flush with car hood. It is highly unlikely that you will manage to level the dent on the first application of filler so make sure that all filler dust is blown from the hood with compressed air before applying further coats. Once the filler is level, and you have a smooth finish, the vehicle is ready to be painted.