Pulling a small dent can be done various ways. I mention "small" because not all body damage is repaired the same way. There is skill involved; that's why auto body repair is a skilled trade. If there is access to the backside of the panel, a hammer and a dolly will do, but that's rarely the case. If the dent is small and the paint isn't cracked, a professional versed in paintless dent removal (PDR) can perform repairs that can boggle the mind. Some PDR technicians are uber talented, that’s for sure! When body repair is needed, a dent puller or stud weld puller is a must have tool. That’s the process we'll be discussing today, for those of you who would like to learn how a dent is repaired. Naturally, the proper tools will be required. The first part of repairing dents, creases, etc. begins when you need to fix damage that looks like this.
Pulling a Dent 1
For starters, a ¼ inch angle grinder is going to remove the coatings down to the bare metal. This process is necessary because the dent puller and draw nail need to make direct contact with the metal. If any of you have ever used a stud weld dent puller, you know that when direct contact isn’t made you’re going to hear a bit of a pop. Begin by grinding the area around the dent only with a ¼ angle grinder and grinding disk. Don’t forget safety glasses!
Pulling a Dent 2
These stud weld dent pullers are pretty cool tools to use, in all honesty. At the cheapest, a stud weld dent puller can be purchased for around $200. The price can quickly rise to $1000 depending on which model and options you decided you would like to buy. Quality dent pullers come with numerous different attachments for all kinds of applications. For instance, the attachment pictured here on the bottom left… the attachment with seven individual hooks? That particular attachment would be used for a creased dent. One uses the slide hammer, also pictured, to pull a dent's low spots all at the same time. As most body men will tell you, metal has memory, and every attachment has its own application. A hammer and dolly set is also a must have for auto body repair. They are needed to tap down any high spots that may result from fixing a dent, amongst many other uses.
Pulling a Dent 3
This really is a great photo of a technician using their dent puller. Any person taking the time to read this article can see the technician's draw pins are welded onto the area they want to repair. A word to the wise: One of the first rules to pulling metal is not to pull it too far! That’s a rule that applies all the way down to repairing frames with frame machines. A smooth slide with this technician's right hand will pull the draw pin and metal back to its original place. Once the technician thinks the metal they're repairing has been accurately pulled (and feels it with their hands), they will snip the draw pins (using basic cutting pliers) as close to the base as possible. Afterwards, they will grind away what remains of the draw pin with their ¼ inch angle grinder and grinding disk, in preparation for adding auto body repair material.