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auto body prep-work to do yourself

When you take your car in for auto body work, the mechanic will have a lot of work to do. Each minute that the mechanic spends prepping your car to make the repairs is money that you will owe when the repairs are finished. So, is there anything that you can do to make the mechanic's job a little easier and lower the cost of the repairs for you? This blog is all about preparing vehicles for auto body repairs. Here, you will learn what prep-work you can do at home so that the repairs are completed more quickly and the cost is less.

auto body prep-work to do yourself

Common Car Body Repairs: What You Need to Know

by Jeremy Hudson

Car body repairs are an inevitable part of vehicle ownership. Whether it's a minor scratch from a parking lot mishap or significant damage from a collision, most car owners will need to deal with body repairs at some point. Understanding the common types of car body repairs can help you recognize when it's time to take your vehicle to a professional and what to expect from the repair process.
1. Dent Repairs
Dents are among the most common types of car body damage. They can occur from various incidents, including hailstorms, minor collisions, or even stray shopping carts. Depending on the dent's size and location, professionals may use paintless dent removal techniques (which manipulate the metal back to its original form without affecting the paint) or traditional methods that involve filling the dent, sanding it smooth, and repainting the area.
2. Scratch Repairs
Scratches, whether caused by keys, branches, or minor scrapes with other objects, can detract from your car's appearance. For superficial scratches that only affect the clear coat, a simple buffing and polishing might suffice. Deeper scratches that reach the paint or primer layer usually need more intensive repair, including repainting.
3. Paint Repairs
Paint damage can result from scratches, chips, sun exposure, or chemical spills. Repainting a car is a multistep process that involves removing the old paint, preparing the surface, applying primer, painting, and finishing with a clear coat. For smaller areas, spot painting is often possible. However, for extensive damage or to ensure a perfect color match, a full car repainting might be necessary.
4. Windshield Repairs
Windshields are particularly prone to damage from road debris. Small chips or cracks can often be repaired using a special resin that's injected into the damaged area and then cured. However, larger cracks that affect the driver's line of sight will typically require a complete windshield replacement.
5. Bumper Repairs
Bumpers are designed to absorb impact and protect the rest of the car in a collision, making them a common site for damage. Depending on the extent of the damage, the bumper may be repairable (via heat reshaping for plastic bumpers or hammering and filling for metal ones) or it may need to be replaced entirely.
6. Frame Straightening
In more serious accidents, the car's frame can become bent or misaligned. This not only affects the vehicle's appearance but also its drivability and safety. Frame straightening should always be conducted by professionals using specialized machinery to ensure the vehicle is safe to drive.