DIY Tips for Removing Minor Dents and Scratches
Most car owners have been in the unfortunate position of discovering a scratch or dent on their car. Maybe the scenario looked like this – you were walking back to your vehicle in the parking lot of the grocery store, when suddenly the light hit it in an unexpected way. Your eyes were drawn to the spot, and you realized that something, maybe a grocery cart, knocked into the side of your car and left a dent in your vehicle. Or, perhaps you realized one day that the dust art one of your kids scratched into the dirt on the back of your car was a little more permanent than they intended it to be.
Scratches and dents are incredibly frustrating. Usually, they are not your fault, and if you spend excess time attempting to keep your car clean and safe, their appearance can send you over the edge.
Luckily, there are some great DIY tips out there for removing minor dents and scratches from your car, truck, or SUV – and many of the DIY fixes are sources from standard rooms in your house like the bathroom.
Our DIY Tips for Minor Dents & Scratches
Head to the Bathroom and Grab Your Faithful Old Sink Plunger.
If you don’t have a sink plunger, now is an excellent time to buy one.
Not only will you save money on buying Drano every time the sink clogs, but it can come in handy if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having a dent in your car. Pour some water first onto the dent on the car, then into the plunger to provide extra suction. Then, try plunging the dent out of your car using the suction from the sink plunger. For smaller dents, this can work like a charm.
Still Dented? Return to the Bathroom and Get Your Hair Dryer.
If your dent is on a plastic part of your car, you have the distinct advantage of being able to use heat to your advantage. Point your hairdryer at the dent and turn it on to high heat, making sure to heat the area evenly. Once the plastic is malleable from the heat, you may either try and pop it out by pressing on it from behind, or you can use a sink plunger to pull it out. This works exceptionally well on heavily dented areas, as it provides better give to the plastic.
No Hair Dryer? Use Boiling Water to Help Remove a Dent.
If you don’t have a hairdryer (not all of us do), you can still accomplish this trick with heat. Slowly and carefully pour boiling water onto the dent so that the plastic bumper becomes malleable. When proper malleability is achieved, you can either try and work the dent out from behind using your hand or a rubber mallet, or you may try to pull it out using a sink plunger. Just keep in mind this tip is only suitable for plastic areas on your car, not for areas comprised of metal.
Got a Scratch? Return to Your Bathroom Yet Again.
This time, grab the toothpaste!
You can easily remove superficial scratches that haven’t gone past the clear coat of paint on your car by gently buffing them out with toothpaste and a damp microfiber cloth. First, clean the area with a car washing soap and water and let it dry. Next, put a dab of toothpaste on the spot with the scratches and gently rub with your damp cloth. The toothpaste should remove the scratches, and once you notice them disappearing, you can stop.
Note that this trick only works on superficial scratches. To find out whether the scratches on your car are superficial, run your fingernail across them. If you feel your fingernail catch on the scratches, then they are deeper than the clear coat, and the fix might not work.
Remove Scratches Using Sandpaper and Polish
Although this sounds a little more complex, it is not too hard for DIYers to fix deeper scratches themselves, providing the scratches are not taking up too much of the paint surface. (If a scratch is longer than a couple of inches, or you are uncomfortable doing this, you should see a pro.)
To touch up paint yourself, you will need a car washing soap and water in a spray bottle, a microfiber cloth, masking tape, 3,000 and 5,000 grit sandpaper, a sponge, car polish (it must be the kind that specializes in removing scuffs), and car wax.
Start by cleaning the area around the scratch by spraying the scratch with soapy water and then drying it with a microfiber cloth. Next, mark the scratch with masking or painters tape on either side of the scratch, leaving approximately one half an inch between both sides of the scratch and your strips of masking tape. Then, sand the scratch, using 3000-grit if you can catch your fingernail in the scratch and 5,000-grit if you can’t. Next, spray both the scratch and the sandpaper with soapy water, and wrap the sandpaper around your sponge. Sand from the top of the tape to the bottom of the tape for approximately 15 seconds, and then wipe with your cloth. Repeat this step until the scratch is gone.
Once the scratch is gone, move the tape an inch or two up or down on both sides. Use the 5000-grit paper and blend out the sanded part where your scratch used to be. Once this is done, you will rub on the scratch-fixing polish onto the area until the hazy sanded area is gone. Finally, apply a layer of car wax to the area you just polished. It should look good as new.
When Worse Comes to Worst, Always Reach Out to a Pro.
If you are uncomfortable taking any of these steps, or if you think the scratch is too drastic to be fixed at home, always reach out to a professional. If you live in the Purcell, Oklahoma City, Moore, or Norman area, you can get professional help at Zeck Chevrolet’s Service Center. Call (833) 394-6831 or click here to set up your appointment today.