Tips for Auto Body Repair at Your Home

auto body repair at your home

You decided that your vehicle needs an auto body repair at your home because it has some dents and scratches. This article gives you some essential tips so that the painting job on your car has a professional look. 

Auto body repair at your home involves five steps:

1. Preparation

2. Rough-out

3. Filling

4. Sanding

5. Painting


When it comes to repairing dents and scratches, it would be better if you prepared the proper site with adequate ventilation lighting, tools, and materials. Your garage must have enough light to allow for a clear vision of the smallest details. Additionally, it should have proper ventilation to exhaust away solvent vapors.

The tools and materials that you need are a hammer and dolly for roughing out, a professional sanding block, dual-action (DA) sander, filler, a filler pad and mixing board, paint, and related reducers, hardeners and blending solvent, paint sprayer, and compressor. 


The first step is to rough out the damaged panel. Use a hammer and dolly to beat out the dents. Strike light blows to the dolly from the inside of the piece, to work out the damage.

Work from the borders of the cut gradually towards the center where the dent is the deepest. Do not strike hard blows because this can stretch the sheet metal.


The next step is to apply duct tape on the areas next to the damaged panel so that the grinding and sanding do not affect them. Then grind away all the paint in and around the damaged area to apply body filler. 

For filling in dents and scratches, you will need a high-quality auto body filler and a mixing board to prep and apply it. Mix the body filler thoroughly, and spread it in smooth, even strokes, shaping as you go.

When applying body filler spread it slightly beyond the original damaged area, so that there are not noticeable edges beyond the filling. 


Sanding is essential when repairing car body dents, dings, and scratches, as well as buffing out a new paint job. However, use a sanding block or a sanding tool rather than your hands for auto bodywork. Sanding with just your hands often results in “natural” grooves and errors. 

Primer Sanding

While the filler is still setting, setup the sanding block by tearing a sheet of 40-grit sandpaper and wrapping it around the sanding block. Use the 40 grit on the soft body filler and gently smooth it out, being careful not to over-sand.

When sanding body filler down, you will also sand into the bare metal, so that at the end, there will be a perfect transition between bare metal and the filled area.

Final Sanding

When the filler is fully hardened, prepare the sanding block with a sheet of 80-grit paper. Use this grit to smooth out all the remaining sandpaper marks from the primer sanding. If necessary, repeat these steps, reapplying more body filler to fill in low spots. Repeat as often as needed to obtain a straight and smooth panel.


Primer Surfacer

Apply primer only to sanded areas. Do not spray it over paint because it will not adhere properly. Keep applying coats of primer surfacer until there is enough buildup.  

Allow it to dry thoroughly, and sand it with a dual-action sander with 220-grit paper. The panel is not ready for finishing until there is a perfectly smooth surface, where there are not any areas of bare metal or body filler showing through. 

Final Three Coatings

Once the panel has been paint-prepped, it is now ready for the three-color coats. First, apply a very light dustcoat over the area. Allow this coat to flash-dry until it is sticky. That texture allows the other layers to stick instead of running down. 

Then, apply the second coat. This next coat is the heaviest, hiding whatever is underneath it, and producing a full color. Paint in a horizontal, overlapping pattern from one end of the panel to the other. Work from the front of the board backward and top-down. Allow enough flash time (minimum 10 minutes) before applying the third coat of color, which will be a very light one. 

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Sources: Autobodytoolmart