How to Use Ball Peen Hammers for Auto Body Work

Ball peen hammer
  • 1-100 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Ball peen hammer
Scrap metal

Ball peen hammers are special tools usually used in auto body work, because they have particularly hard heads that are great for using on metal, and also have a head with a special shape that is particularly conducive for shaping metal. In fact, the head of the ball peen hammer has two sides to it: one that is, unsurprisingly, ball-shaped, which is great for tapping out dents and divots in the body of a car; and another side which is pointed, and ideal for chiseling or making punctures. A ball peen hammer is a great tool for getting dents out of your car by yourself without having to go to a mechanic, but it certainly takes some amount of practice and know-how to be able to do a good job. Keep reading for some tips on how to use ball peen hammers in auto body work.

Step 1 - Practice Makes Perfect

Before you even think about working on your car, you need to get used to using the hammer. You don’t want to make the damage even worse, after all! Experts recommend beginners look around for any kind of scrap metal they can find that has some dents and dings in it: take a trip to the junkyard to find some good examples. Then start tinkering around in your workshop to figure out the type of taps and strokes you need to apply.

Step 2 - Vary Your Technique

While you’re practicing, you’ll come to realize that different types of damage will require a different use of the hammer. Remember to use only the round, ball-shaped portion of the hammer for this job—otherwise, you’ll end up with some holes gouged out of your car’s body!

Smaller dings and dents will probably require a gentle tapping around or behind the buckle to pop back out, while a more serious dent might require more force. The angle at which you apply force with your hammer also has an impact on how successful the repair job will be.

Step 3 - Use Different Sizes

Dent in back of silver car

One size of ball peen hammer will not fit all types of work. In fact, ball peen hammers come in a range of sizes, from the light 1/2 pound size to the heaviest 2 1/2 pound size. If you anticipate doing a lot of automotive work, you’ll want a range of tools in your arsenal so you’ll be equipped to tackle any situation. While you’re practicing your hammer work on your scrap metal, try out the different sizes of hammers as well so you can start to get a feel for which sized hammer is appropriate for which sized job.