How Do I Patch a Hole in My Car?by Darla Ferrara
A hole in the body of your car leads to all sorts of problems regardless of what caused it to appear. An attractive finish can rust quickly when exposed to the harsh weather. Automotive filler, often referred to as Bondo, is plastic filler used to cover the less than perfect areas on a car. While technically, the term Bondo refers to a product produced by 3M, the phrase has become synonymous with all types of automotive fillers. Fixing the hole in the body of your car is probably easier than you think. It just takes some nylon window screen, filler and patience.
Pull any loose medal away from the hole. Use a pair of metal snips to cut away rusted areas. Sand the region around the hole with course sandpaper. You want to remove any paint, primer and rust. Wipe any debris from sanding off with a wet cloth.
Cut a square of nylon window screen large enough to cover the hole without poking through. For instance, if your hole is three inches in diameter, you might need a five inch square of screen.
Install the screen behind the hole using strong adhesive to secure it. Let the adhesive dry completely before continuing.
Mix the hardener and the filler following the instruction provided with the product. The substances combined create the plastic filler needed to fill the hole. Use a piece of cardboard to mix the products. Stir well. The filler should be one solid color, not streaked.
Use a plastic spreader to apply the filler to the hole. Press it up against the screen and spread it out.
Remove any excess filler by dragging a piece of spring steel over the surface. This will allow you to level out the fill so that it lies flush on the surface of the car.
Let the filler dry completely, it should take approximately 15 minutes. If you touch the surface and it is still tacky, it is not yet dry.
Sand over the filled area using medium course sandpaper, then switch to a finer course to ensure the surface is smooth.
Examine the patched area. Any dark spots in the filler will indicate a depression in the surface. Apply additional filler until the surface is completely level.
Cover the spot with automobile primer and let it dry. Sand the primer with fine course sandpaper once dry.
Let the car sit for 24-hours before painting.
- Consider wearing thick gloves to protect your hands with cutting away any metal.
- Letting your car sit in the sun will cure the filler quickly. If necessary, you can use a heat lamp to speed the process.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images