We've all made mistakes while driving that lead us to need repairs. Whether it's banging into a shopping cart that has gone astray, running over a curb, or putting scratches in our paint jobs, the unsightly results will have us running to the repair shop, post haste.
But did you know that even the smallest of damage claims can result in a major hike to your insurance premium? Those of us who have already received auto repair estimates know just how expensive the tiniest repairs can be.
Parts and labor are not cheap, but there is a viable alternative: doing it yourself. All you need is a working knowledge of your vehicle, some paint and a few common household items, so read on to learn more.
Removing Those Awful Dents
If the finish on your vehicle did not crack, then any dents you have incurred can be pulled out pretty easily. To begin, pour a bucket of hot and soapy water over the dent, then give it a plunge. Use the same motion that you would use to unclog a sink or toilet. Should the dent fail to pop back into place, enlist a friend to stand on the other side of the dent and tap it gently with a rubber hammer.
After the dent has been successfully pulled out, you can then slide your plunger in a downward motion throughout the panel, which should break the suction.
Smaller dents can be removed by placing an appropriate sized block of wood over the top of the dent. From there, simply give the wood a few light taps with a mallet. You can also use another small tool to force the errant dent back into its proper place. If the metal has lost its original shape, tap gently around the edges.
Do not crack your finish for any reason. This exposes the metal to increased oxidation, which will then lead to a much faster rusting process. Once this happens, do it yourself repairs are no longer sufficient and you are forced to call in a specialist.
So Long, Scratches and Scrapes
To purchase your personal can of touch up paint, take a moment to head to your local hardware store. Body shops also sell this paint to the general public. The only information that you need to find the right color is the make and model of the vehicle. Manufacturers provide paint codes, which makes it much easier for the layperson to ascertain the specific type of paint needed.
In order to successfully apply the paint, you will need the following items, all of which are readily available: soapy water, cloths for buffing and waxing, fine grit sand paper, and a tiny paintbrush. Wash the damaged area first, so that all accumulated gunk is removed. Wet the sand paper and give the area a gentle scrub.
Let the area dry for at least 15 minutes, until the area has completely dried. Then apply the necessary coats of paint and leave the area to dry overnight. To keep your finish protected, use wax and a rubbing compound.
For best results, paint should be applied on sunny days with low humidity. Or you can use a heated facility, one that is equipped with a dehumidifier.
All auto repairs do not require the assistance of an expensive body shop. Many minor auto repairs can be accomplished with the usage of common household items. While some may be able to handle these smaller repairs on their own, those who cannot may still wish to enlist an auto body specialist who can put in the time that it takes to get the job done right.