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Step-by-Step Car Hood Repair

by Todd Campitelli

Most car owners can repair a car hood in an afternoon with the right tools, patience, and technique.

If your hood has has major damage and you want a flawless appearance, it is best to contact a professional body shop that has specialized tools and employs experienced repairmen for the job.

If your hood has only minor damage and you'll be satisfied with "good enough" results, you can save a lot of money by handling the repairs yourself.

Before You Begin

Wash and dry the car to remove any dirt, tar, bugs, and especially car wax. When working on the car hood, you do not want waxes or other residue interfering with the work.

Inspect the damage. For small dents, scratches, and rust, you can leave the hood on the car. For larger dents or damage that is hard to reach, it may be easier to remove the hood from the car.

If you need to take the hood off, open the hood. Disconnect the windshield washer tubing and any wiring attached to the hood.

Have an assistant support the hood while you remove the hood's hinge bolts. With the help of your assistant, lift the hood off the car and place it on a carpet or some blankets to avoid scratching the paint.

Scratches

Sand a scratch with very fine sandpaper (above 1000 grit) and a wet sponge. Wet the area with a sponge and lightly sand around the edges of the scratch.

Sand until there is a slight taper from the scratch to the rest of the hood. Use your fingers to feel for any rough edges that need to be sanded away. You might need to sand down to bare metal.

If the scratch is too deep to be simply sanded away, fill the scratch with a light coating of body putty. Sand away to feather the edges and make it smooth. Use your fingers to find imperfections that need to be sanded away.

Use tape to mask off the area surrounding the scratch. Apply a few light coats of auto body primer and wet-sand between coats.

Touch up the paint using an automotive touch up paint kit. Follow the directions on your particular kit to obtain a smooth, matching finish.

Rust

Grind off the rust with an orbital sander. Remove all of the rust, or your repair will be temporary. Work slowly when using a powered sander to avoid excessive abrasion.

Brush away any rust dust.

Apply a rust removing acid, like phosphoric acid, to destroy any microscopic rust particles. Phosphoric acid is available at most auto parts stores.

Prepare a body repair screen by trimming the screen to cover the area.

Remove paper to expose the adhesive back of the repair screen. Covering it entirely with the repair screen. Give the screen time to cure.

Apply body putty around the edges of the screen and wet sand to create a feathered, smooth transition.

Prime and paint, following the directions on your auto body touch up kit.

Dents

For light dents, start by tapping the dent out using a lightweight hammer. When tapping, work from the outside moving in, using small short taps.

For deeper dents, drill a hole in the center of the dent using a 1/16-inch drill bit.

Thread a metal screw in through the hole and pull the dent out with a pair of pliers.

Lightly hammer out imperfections on the front of the dent while positioning a dolly bag filled with steel shot behind the dent.

If the paint is damaged around the dent, taper the damage using wet-sandpaper and apply your touch-up paint kit.

Tips

  • Especially if removing the hood, invite a friend or family member to help.
  • Take your time when repairing a hood. Patience and finesse are more important than brute force.

Warning

  • Check the car's maintenance manual for information about removing the hood because you might end up causing more damage with improper handling.

Items you will need

About the Author

Todd Campitelli has been a writer for over 11 years and has been writing on all topics from health care to education for websites all across the World Wide Web. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in film and television production from New York University and is currently working on a master's degree in entertainment business.

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Photo Credits

  • Zerstörtes Auto image by Angelika Bentin from Fotolia.com