As an auto body technician, you will spend your time helping people keep their cars dent-free and looking good as new after collisions. But what happens when your own vehicle experiences an unfortunate bump?
You may be surprised by how many DIY fixes you can do right at home or in a parking lot, using low-cost supplies or everyday objects, without taking a trip in to the shop. The following 3 tips and tricks will help you with quick fixes at home, so that you can get back to that project car or model you’ve been working on.
1. Attack Dents with Household Objects in an Auto Body Technician Career
Bathroom objects aren’t the most professional thing to pull out at the shop, but they come in handy on a day off. If you have a body panel dent in your own vehicle and it hasn’t broken through the finish, you may be able to plunge it, believe it or not. Sometimes dents can be pulled back out with suction. Cover the dent with soapy water and attach a plunger to the area, pulling outward. The plunger will stick with the water and then slide off easily when you’re done. You will learn better ways to deal with dents in auto body repair courses, but this technique can work in a pinch on your own car.
For tinier dents near creases, a small block of wood can be placed at the edge of the dent. Tap it gently with a mallet, moving around the edges. This can sometimes pop the dent out and have your metal looking smooth again, but be wary of breaking the finish when you apply force.
2. Auto Body Repair Technicians Can Fix Windshield Chips at Home
After becoming an auto body repair technician, you will likely see quite a few chipped or cracked windshields. You may already know that left unrepaired, small chips can spread and cause larger, more severe damage. If water enters through the chip, a foggy blemish can appear or freezing can occur, creating more cracks. Dirt is also an issue with damage to the windshield, as it can find its way inside. It’s best to deal with these chips quickly.
While longer cracks will need to be fixed in the shop, a windshield repair kit can be used to fill in a small chip. These kits fill the chip with adhesive, sealing off the blemish and preventing water and dirt from getting in. Windshield repair kits are usually low-cost and have easy instructions to follow. Keep one around just in case, so your road trips aren’t interrupted.
3. Beautify Scratches and Scrapes from the Comfort of Your Driveway
As a professional working in auto body repair, you will be able to use manufacturer codes or visual matching to choose the correct touch-up paint. If your own car gets scratched, you can take advantage of this skill to find a colour that matches your car as closely as possible. To fix a scrape at home, first clean the scraped area thoroughly. Use wet, fine sandpaper to gently sand down the edges of the scrape and make sure that it dries completely. This typically takes ten minutes or longer. A coat or two of touch up paint is usually enough to make scrapes virtually disappear. You can follow up with a rubbing compound and wax, for protection.
A tip for industry professionals is that paint repairs should be done in heated or sunny environments, with minimal humidity. This can mean doing them on a clear sunny day outside, in a heated garage with a dehumidifier, or even making use of your trusty hair dryer to apply dry heat to the area.
Are you interested in training for auto body technician careers?
Contact Automotive Training Centres for more information.