If you ever wondered how the auto body shop manages to pull dents out of your vehicle like they never even happened, wonder no more -- you can achieve the same effect at home using a simple power tool called a stud welder. If you're not familiar with this tool, make sure to take a class or have a local expert show you what to do on your initial run. A stud welder can make fixing dents easy, but if you use it incorrectly, you can do more damage than repair. You can also injure yourself significantly. Use these steps for more info on how to fix a dent in your vehicle using a stud welder:
Sand the Surface
Like any other welding job, you're attaching metal to metal using a heat process. This means using a rotary sander to remove the paint in the area on your vehicle where you wish to weld. Only sand what's necessary, keeping in mind you'll have to replace the paint once the dent is out. Once you've sanded the surface down to the metal, wipe away the dust with a soft, dry cloth.
Load Your Stud Welder
Load your stud welder using one-and-one-half-inch pins. The stud welder works by generating an electrical charge to weld the two metal surfaces together, so be sure to wear the gloves and protective gear recommended in your user's manual to avoid the risk of electrocution.
Complete the Weld
Press the loaded stud welder to the sanded metal surface and pull the trigger. The weld is typically completed in seconds -- too long will eat through the metal, but if you don't hold the trigger long enough, your weld won't take and your pin won't adhere. Refer to your owner's manual for the exact weld time. Additionally, you may have to practice using the stud welder several times before getting the weld time just right.
Exert Pressure on the Pin
Once your weld takes, lay your stud welder aside, and pick up your slide hammer. Slip the slide hammer over the end of the pin and pull the slide upward. This should exert upward pressure on the pin, causing the metal beneath it to raise up. Depending upon the size of your dent, you may have to attach more than one pin in a configuration to cause it to completely release.
Remove the Pins
Once you've pulled the dent out to your satisfaction, you still have to remove the pins. This is done by simply using tin snips to snip the pins off at the base. You'll be left with an assortment of sharp bumps that you'll need to grind smooth using an angle grinder.
Apply Body Filler
At this point, your repair job may still look pretty rough. But with the addition of body filler, you'll be able to make the previously dented area look smooth again. Simply apply the body filler, allow it to dry, and then sand it smooth. From this point, it's just a matter of adding primer and paint to make your vehicle look new again.
Pulling vehicle dents using a stud welder may seem like an overwhelming task to someone who has never done it, but it's really quite simple and economical to perform. And the money you'll save by buying your own stud welder and stud welding supplies is significant compared to the cost of taking your car to the body shop. The next time you suffer a significant dent to your vehicle, consider fixing it yourself at home using simple power tools instead of investing in a professional repair job. You'll be amazed at just how easily you can make your own car look new again.