How to Do Auto Body Repair Work

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There are several different ways of doing body work. For instance, simply sanding out rusted areas, nicks or scratches and filling with body filler; cutting out the bad areas and filling the holes with fiberglass sheeting and body filler; or completely removing the part and replacing it. In this article I will explain the first two options.

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
•   grinder
•   dent puller
•   auto body hammers
•   sandpaper – 80, 120, 150 grit and emery cloth
•   auto body filler with hardener
•   putty knives
•   fiberglass sheeting with hardener
•   respirator
•   gloves
•   safety glasses

Using your dent puller, punch a hole in the center of the dented area and then pop out the area by pulling on the dent puller. Use your body hammer to level out the hole with the body surface.

Use your grinder to grind away all the rust in the surface you are prepping, taking it all the way down to clean metal.

Using your 80-grit sandpaper, sand the entire area, making sure to feather the existing paint at the edge of the work area. Spray the area you have just sanded with a rust inhibitor or rust preventive.

Mix your auto body filler according to manufacturer’s instructions. Apply body filler using your putty knife (size of the knife depends on the area you are working with). Feather out the edges of the putty so that it blends together with the metal. You will not achieve a perfect finish on the first try. Let dry thoroughly.

Apply additional coats of body filler as needed to bring the repair level with the body part (do not apply too much filler as it is very hard to sand off once it dries).

Using your 120-grit sandpaper, sand the area down as smooth as possible. Then use your 150-grit to sand it down a little further. Finally, use the emery cloth to obtain a nice smooth scratch-free surface.

If your repair area is too deep to use body filler alone, or if the car you are working on has a fiberglass body (and there are many makes of cars that have entirely fiberglass bodies). For this you would use fiberglass sheeting to make the repairs with body filler for your finish coat.

Tips & Warnings

•   There are several auto body tools to choose from, depending on the job, so a little bit of research is necessary to find the proper tools for your job.
•   This is not really difficult, but it does take time and effort to achieve a smooth finish
•   Body filler does dry fairly quickly, so apply and smooth out as quickly as possible to avoid lots of sanding.
•   Always use safety precautions when using power tools.
•   Wear a respirator
•   gloves
•   safety glasses


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