If you buy a traditional kit for removing dents from your car or truck body, you’ll get a box full of strong suction cups, rods, and hot-glue that vary wildly in terms of effectiveness.
Beyond these kits, dent removal consists of drilling into the metal, pulling out the dent, then filling, sanding, and painting the damaged vehicle to hide the evidence of any dent removal warping.
Not every dent can be fixed at home. However, before going down one the costly routes such as hiring professionals or visiting a body shop, there are two easy dent removal options you can first try at home that require only simple tools.
The Plunger Method
This method works the best on dents or dings with some size to them, especially if the dent has no crease in the middle. What makes the plunger trick such a good option is that it’s easy to attempt and likely won’t cause additional damage, even in instances where it doesn’t work to effectively repair the dents.
First either clean up the bathroom plunger, or acquire a new one. Place the plunger over the dent and pump the plunger a few times to create suction. With suction achieved, pull firmly on the plunger over the dent. With a little luck and elbow grease, the dent should pull right out.
Keep in mind that the plunger works best on sizable dents. For small dents, and any remaining dings surrounding the area, try this additional method.
The Mallet Method
Many dents can be popped out with a mallet if the area is accessible from behind the dent. A rubber mallet is the best tool to use, as it is firm enough to reshape the vehicle’s body but less likely to leave unsightly hammer marks.
Try to match the mallet to the size of the dent. Use a small mallet for small dents, and a large mallet for larger dents. Using small hammers or mallets on large dents increases the probability of making hammer-head marks before popping out the dent.
To remove the dent using the mallet method, go to the back side of the car panel where the dent is located. Hit as close to the center of the dent as you can reach. Tap forcefully, but not so hard you actually dent the car further. With a good, firm hit or two on the back side center of the dent, it should pop out.
WARNING: Rubber or not, these things can hurt. Be careful not to smash your hands or fingers just as you would be when using a traditional hammer.
Alternatives to Rubber Mallet
If time is tight and you don't have a rubber mallet, use something with a more rounded, softer head than the head of a hammer as a buffer. A large-handled screwdriver turned backward might do the trick. Place the screwdriver handle on the dent, then tap the head of the screwdriver with the hammer.
Unfortunately, there are body dents that are so pronounced that these simple solutions alone won’t cut it. In those cases, the fully repair the dent, a body shop is unavoidable. However, even the worst of dents can be remedied at least partially by using either the plunger or mallet techniques. Use them as a quick band aid solution to make your car look a little better until you can an appointment to have a bad dent fixed by a better equipped professional.