Removing Fender Dents

by Chris Moore

If your car gets a relatively small fender bender, you might be able to repair it yourself, saving yourself an expensive trip to the mechanic. The larger the dent, the harder the job will be. Small ones can be pounded out with a small rubber mallet, while larger ones will require removing the fender to use a stronger hammer. Look over the dent's severity and be sure you can repair it as well as a professional.

On the side that's dented, raise the vehicle on its jack stand. Remove the wheel adjacent to the fender. Make sure the vehicle is in park, with the emergency brake on, before you do this.

Tap the dent back into place from the car's underside, if it is a small dent. Use a rubber mallet and aim for the center of the dent to avoid pounding any outward protrusions into the fender. Reach back and feel the dent from the outside with your free hand to help guide you.

Use a large, strong suction cup with a hand grip to pull back a larger dent from the outside. Start near the outer edge of the dent and work your way inward, attaching it to the fender surface and pulling. While pulling, tap the dent from the underside with either the rubber mallet or a leather bag filled with buckshot.

Remove the fender, if neither of the above works. Remove the plastic trim and headlight buckets to reach the fender bolts. Search for every bolt, as some can be hidden, and remove them all. If the fender doesn't come off easily, there's at least one bolt left. Don't force the fender off the car, or it will break.

Pound the dent on the removed fender with a hammer heavier than the rubber mallet. Use a dolly from a professional hammer set to prevent outer protrusions, holding it against the outside of the dent while you hammer. Small short taps with the hammer will work better than longer, heavy ones.

Straighten any bent areas on the fender supports by gripping the bent area with vice grip pliers.

Reassemble the fender onto the vehicle after every dent has been repaired. Attach every bolt you disconnected.

Items you will need

About the Author

Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.