Before getting started, carefully examine the area that you need to work on. Whether you are removing rust or fixing a dent, you may need to remove parts from your car to allow easier access. (eg. side mirrors, door trim panels, inner fender shields, etc,…).
Removing the Enemy: Rust
Remove any surface rust with a dual action sander using a coarse-grit paper or grinding disc. You may also use a wire wheel drill bit for certain applications. (see illustration 1)
*If you have significant rust infiltration (ie. Penetrated right through the car), it is highly recommended that you visit your local auto body shop for repair or consultation.
For dents less than 1/8th of an inch deep, sand and strip the paint surrounding the dent. Once this is complete, you will likely need to apply body filler or spot putty to the area. Apply body filler in thin even coats following the contour of the car (see illustration 2)
Once the filler hardens, sand it with 80 grit sandpaper and a sanding block. This is considered ‘rough’ sanding and is done to properly shape the filler to the contour of the car. Once this is done, more body filler may be needed. Repeat the previous step if necessary. Now, switch to a 180 grit sandpaper to create a nice smooth finish.
For dents that are accessible from the backside, reshape it to its original contour using a hammer and dolly technique.
Once again, you may need to remove parts from your car to allow easier access. (eg. side mirrors, door trim panels, inner fender shields, etc,…).
REMEMBER: Safety Glasses are recommended for when working with any kind of hammer.