by Pat Goss
Hey, there are lots of people in this world that would like to relieve you of some of your money by telling you that you can do your own body work at home, and save money. Well, first, that is probably not going to be the case. But the first thing you have to do is to evaluate the damage to your car. If the metal on the car is all buckled up like this is-it’s creased and so on-this metal is stretched. And for all intents and purposes, this fender should be thrown in the trash. But if you want a challenge, and you think you can make it look a little bit better, well you may want to try. But it’s going to take some time…
…okay. We’ve spent about 15 minutes doing the basic work on this fender. And as you can see: it looks a bit more like a fender, but it certainly isn’t gorgeous by any stretch of the imagination. Now what I’ve done is I’ve used an assortment of hammers-they come in a kit such as we see over here-and they come with the various types of hammers to shrink the metal, to form curves, and do things like that. They have various types of dollies. Now the dollies are put behind the metal and you hammer against it, so that you don’t over compensate. In other words, you might start out with a little bit of a dent that you want to move in; without the dolly behind it-BAM-you’ve got a big dent the other way the first time you hit it.
You also have to consider that you need some type of sandbag. Now the best thing is an old fashioned leather sandbag-they work the best-but you can get by with basic ones, such as we have here.
But when you look at all of this, first you’d have to spend several hours to make this metal completely smooth if you were going to do it by hammer and dolly. Or you would have to rely on plastic body fillers to fill it and sand it and prime it and everything. And at the end of the day, well with all of the costs for the various materials and tools and everything, the amount of labor involved: you would probably be far better off just to buy a replacement panel. And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line, right here at MotorWeek.