Fixing A Dent In A Rear Aluminum Quarter Panel

Your car can slide around on icy roads and parking lots during the winter, and it can bang into things that can cause a dent in the aluminum quarter panel on your car. The quarter panel is sometimes referred to as the back fender. You can usually fix a small dent yourself at home if you have access to the right tools. Here is how to fix a small dent in the aluminum quarter panel of your car.

Apply Heat

You want to apply heat to warm up the aluminum and make it soft and malleable. The best way to do this is to take a regular small cylinder propane torch to heat the aluminum. Ignite the torch and adjust it so you get a wide flame (a narrow flame could heat the aluminum too quickly and cause it to melt). Apply the flame over the dented are in a circular motion until you are able to move the aluminum with the touch of your gloved finger. If the aluminum turns gold while you are heating it, move the torch away immediately. The gold color means the aluminum is starting to melt. Also, always wear heat-rated gloves, like welding gloves, when touching and working around the hot aluminum.

Tap the Dent Out

You can tap the dent out once the aluminum is softened by the heat. You'll need a collision and an anvil dolly for this procedure. A collision dolly is made out of a heavy metal that has a flat head and a curved handle to hold on to while you tap the dent out from inside the quarter panel. You will place the anvil dolly over the spot you are tapping on the outside of the quarter panel. The anvil will keep you from pushing the dent so far outward that you create a bump on the quarter panel.

Smooth Ridges

Ridges typically form when the aluminum first gets bent in around the perimeter of the dent and there will be remnants of the ridges left even after you pound the dent out. You will need to file the ridges down to make the surface of the quarter panel smooth. Take a straight metal fine tool with a fine grade blade and gently rub it over the top of the ridges until you have them smoothed down.

Raise Low Spots

You may notice some low spots after you have filed the ridges down. You'll need to use a collision pick to raise the low spots. A collision pick is a u-shaped device with two long prongs of equal length. One the end of one prong is a metal hammering tool and on the end of the other prong is a little anvil. Slide the prong with the hammering head behind the quarter panel and line it up with the low spot (the anvil end on the other prong will automatically line up with the hammering head on the outside of the quarter panel). Squeeze the handle on the collision pick to cause the hammer to bang against the low spot and anvil to finish completely removing the dent.

To learn more, contact an auto body repair shop like Collisions Plus Performance