Remove Car Dents Quickly and Cheaply

By Paul Michael on 20 April 2007 (Updated 8 June 2011) 276 comments

Dents suck. And so does the cost to repair them. My wife's car has a ding in the door that's really been bugging me, and as a frugal shopper I wondered if smarter folks than myself have ever figured out a cheap way to repair dents. Good news...they have. (See also: 6 Slick Tools to Save Money on Car Repairs)

After doing a lot of web browsing I found many ways. But I don't have the cash for my own electromagnet, or the skills to do paintless dent repair (look either of these up, they take time and money...and a lot of skill). No, I wanted a quick, cheap "10 minutes or less" solution. And I found two. Ladies and gentlemen...welcome to the two minute body-shop. The tips below are for dents. I have another post if you want to repair scratches.

1. Remove a dent with dry ice

You can find dry ice in many places these days, even your local grocery store. It's cheap too, around $2 or less for a pound (you can buy it in bulk online for even cheaper). All you do is touch the dry ice to the dent for a few seconds and repeat the process until the dent is gone. Wear dry ice gloves though.

2. Remove a dent with a hairdryer and an air duster

I like this one even more, namely because an air duster and a hairdryer is readily accessible in most homes these days. A slightly different process, but still very quick, cheap and easy.

3. Remove a dent with a lighter, aluminum foil and an air duster

Thanks to several WB readers for pointing this new addition out. It's very similar to method #2, and please take note of the use of aluminum foil. I wouldn't want any of you to burn your paintwork. As you can see, and hear, this one works a treat.

Use any one of these and you'll have an almost invisible fix in no time. Plus, you won't have to be without your car while it's in the shop and best of all, you won't have to spend a ton of cash on a repair. A frugal fix indeed.

UPDATE (4/23/2010): Two videos that appear to offer contrary opinions

We like to give a complete picture here at Wise Bread. Well, since this article was posted several videos have come out that claim to debunk the methods, or give new ways to use them. You decide.

3.61111
Average: 3.6 (36 votes)
Your rating: None
ShareThis

comments

276 discussions

Add New Comment

CAPTCHA
This test helps prevent automated spam submissions.
Guest's picture
Guest

A careless/dangerous lady driver did a 3 point turn into the front wing of my 306 with a volvo. Luckily she wasn't goin too fast so the dent aint very deep and no creases. i'm goin to try the methods with the lighter/hairdryer/heatgun & air duster and see if it works. If it does i'll say.

On a side note that lady seriously shouldn't be driving it was one of the worst attempts at a 3 point turn ive ever seen.

Guest's picture
Guest

i put a dent in my friends honda accord and i am looking for anyway i can get it taken out so he or i will not have to pay for it. it is on the passenger side just up pass the front door. responses pleasee as quick as possible

Guest's picture
Guest

p.s. - it is a pretty good sized dent maybe a little smaller then a football.

thanks

Guest's picture
Kit

Great videos and tried the ice one out - it really does work. I've posted a similar how-to video on my blog - http://lurnto.com/?p=179

Guest's picture
Guest

Yep, car repair is really hard to take care of. I like finding a car repair shop in Alaska because they are cheaper than where I live

Guest's picture
Guest

My car had three nice size dents at the front edge of the hood and after leaving the car in the scorching 90+ degree heat for an hour. I used an upside down can of Jet Air (canned air) and the dents popped out perfectly. There is no evidence of any previous dents and no damage to the paint at all. GREAT Forum and thanks for the tip....

dennis

Guest's picture
Len

I own an infinitiy m45, I had a 6 inch wide dent in the bumper. And I was able to fix it with just heating up the bumper with the hair dryer while lightly pushing on the bumper from diffrent side to get it to pop and it did. The bumper look as good as new.

Guest's picture
Ben

Hello, I am from europe, I try dry ice and air duster, but it doesnt work to me, can you say why? Can you give me advice?

Guest's picture
Ben

Can it be that i small dents doesnt "pop", but bigger dent can "pop"?

Guest's picture
Guest

hair dryer and co2 did not work with many try's

Guest's picture
Guest

lol to the guy who said his car had many dents until the first warm day and they all disappeared.

Guest's picture
Ben

So what secret? :D Why for somebody suceseed to do this trick? Can it be that we need to use infrared rays lamp to make more warm metal till molecule level?

Guest's picture
Guest

Do you think it's safe to try method number two on a brand new car? I just bought it about three months ago and I'm scared it will ruin the paint. It's a small dent about 1" x 1" from this stupid lady hitting my door with hers...I'm not sure if it will even work because it's not a large dent...if I get it done professionally instead can they usually get small dents out completely??

Guest's picture
Guest

As mentioned above in the subject. Got a nice Nissan Altima GXE to buy.

The only thing that makes this car make me cringe is the very big dent on the door.

Image:

The dent has been circled. It is roughly about 3-5cm in. To make own estimate, the dent was created by a vehicle backing up into the car. Probably was not fast because there is no scratch or traded paint.

http://img291.imageshack.us/img291/2391/nissans.jpg

Wondering if the first or second method works.

Thanks

Guest's picture
Guest

ummm, yeah. the hairdryer method DID NOT work. i just tried it.

Guest's picture
fenderguy420

All of these "paintless" repair methods all leave some trace of the dent to some degree (unless the dent was very minor). The dry ice and heating techniques will actually damage paint in some cases, which may not show until later. Nothings is better than good old body and fender work.

Guest's picture
Guest

Stop asking "Is this safe" or "would it work for my dent". Nothing is guaranteed and of course you take a risk.

Anyway, I have a couple of ding dents on my Toyota Avensis, and will try using a heat gun and freeze spray.

Ps. When I bought the car it had a dent with the size of a tennis ball in the lower part of the front bumper, and i took it out 98% by warming it up with the heat gun and masaging it out from the inside.

Guest's picture
Duarte

Basically, all the ideas is to give a thermal shock on the dent, right? I'm from Brazil (sorry about my poor English) and I'm having a hard time finding the air duster... Would it work with cold water or maybe cold ethyl acohol instead (because it solidifies at -112ºC, if I'm not mistaken)?

Guest's picture
KC

Hello,

I tried the procedure which was shown to remove a small dent, but it didn't work out. I have a Acura MDX.

First I used the Hair dryer to heat the area for a minute, and I applied the Air duster (from Office Max) which I bought. Unfortunately, that didn't come out. The dent is on the door, it is a nickel size. Any suggestions... really appreciate. If I am able to get one, I have three more dents with same size and one a little bigger one. This way I can save some money :))

Guest's picture
Guest

I have a 1998 Chevy Malibu. I used the hair dryer and compressed air method. The dent in my car is like a double dent. It basically goes in then out then in again. I don't know how it happened.

Guest's picture
abi ross

One of the easiest methods to use is a sink plunger for small dents. You just apply it and gently pull it back out and hey presto! The dent is almost gone.

Guest's picture
Guest

LOL this sounds so funny im actually gonna try it!

Guest's picture
Guest

Where can i get this "can of CO2" ?

Guest's picture
Guest

I live in the UK where it's hard to find dry ice in small quantities so I bought a can of Niceday air duster on ebay which uses co2 according to some medical website.

My dent was on the front wing beside the headlight, about handsized, max depth about half inch. I know the co2 on its own would probably not be enough, so first I inserted a football pump into a small deflated cheap plastic ball and squeezed it in behind the dent. I pumped it up until most of the dent was gone (the ball provides fairly evenly distributed pressure so gives a fairly good result on its own).

There were still areas of shallow dent, so I then did the hairdryer 2 mins then held the spraycan upside down and sprayed in 3 second bursts every 10 seconds. After a minute of doing this I heard the remaining part of the dent pop out. It's not absolutely perfect since there was a very rounded crease in the middle of the original dent but it's not noticable if you're not looking for it. I used about 2/3 of the can but the pop came after about 1/3rd. I just tried to see if I could improve further but that was all.

Guest's picture
Johnnie

I think you'd all be better served by just hiring a Paintless Repair Technician to do the work in a half hour and call it a day. Many of them will even come to you. These guys can repair small dents, often for less than $100 per dent. Bottom line, you don't have to roll with dents, you don't have to spend a fortune, and like the PDR tech who posted above said, you don't risk doing even further damage to your ride by trying unproven, homegrown methods.

Guest's picture
joe

dont try compressed air made my clearcoat hazy and dent stayed in the door .

Guest's picture
joe

chris k . do you know what to do to remove the haze from my clear coat tryd rubing compond and polish with no help still hazy if hit with a light at night .any help from someone would be great.

Guest's picture
Guest

Did this using a Professional heatgun and unloaded an entire can of compressed air on the the dent i have, its a door ding with pulling you end up with a crease, you need to take it to a body shop and have PDR tech remove it, Most of the FIX a dent items will do good enough job to make it not noticeable execpt under close inspection however to restore it to factory look it needs a PDR Tech,

So if you have huge dent that you could pop out if you pushed it from behind this will most likely work, if your dent is smaller than 3 inches this isnt going to work. when i say work make the dent look as if it was never thier better isnt fixed.

Guest's picture
Guest

I just dented the front bumper of my black nissan maxima. Its not a large dent probably 5" wide and an 2" deep. I want to try one of these methods before I go to an auto shop and pay lots of money. Are these methods safe for plastic bumpers? and will damage paint?

Guest's picture
Guest

Okay, num.1 Your front bumper may recover shape, but not likley. Try it anyways,can't hurt.. Only the fact is the bumper supporting it my have a dent or even have pushed the bumper "shock" in which may not always return to original position. Remember air bags people! They don't always deploy, Wait at least 20 min. before you try turning your ignition key on. Good luck.

Guest's picture
pj

I have a question...would any of these methods work for the hood of the car that got slightly crushed but not so bad, it was a small accident but the hood is bent and i cannot open the hood where the latch is, any ideas?

Guest's picture
Guest

gv ikl. gv

Guest's picture
Mich

I tried the blow dryer method with C02 but i did not get back..

Guest's picture
Guest

Don't use your time or money.It dose not work.

Guest's picture
Guest

Will any of these dent removal processes work on a heavy duty steel bumper on an F150? I have a dent I'd like to pull on the heavy duty rear bumper. I've tried pounding it out from the back but, so far, it won't budge...

Thanks for any advice.

Guest's picture
Guest

I have a 08 dodge ram. I tried the 2nd method 2 seperate times and really heat up the dent for 10 minutes and it did not do anything. I do not have a crease, just a couple small penny size dents. Not sure if anyone has had success with this but i did not...

Guest's picture
mcshaun

A”chemical” method of dent removal involves the use of a hot air blower.Hair drier can well be used for this purpose. Heat up the dent containing panel as much as possible and then quickly spray on CO2 on the hot panel.

Guest's picture
Guest

I wonder if anyone has tried any above methods for small hail damaged?

Guest's picture
Directory

Will these two methods work for small sharp dings? My small ding look like someone used s phillips screwdriver to bang in on my car door. They left an indent on the paint with some paint off. Some jealeous people.

Guest's picture
m65

During one of my life experiment incarnations, I lived on my own farm and for about 7 years raised all our food organically. Since I had moved from New York City to this bucolic existence, in retrospect,I think I was more like Eva Gabor on Green Acres than mama Walton. But, I did learn to grow veggies and edible weeds. Reading your Blog reminded me of the travails and triumphs of that period, almost 40 years ago. Some of my learning actually stuck. I will follow your writing to continue to learn what's useful and dangerous to ingest. I find your information fascinating.

kamagra acne

Guest's picture
Guest

Tried it all. None of it worked. I want my hour and fifteen bucks back. Don't waste your time and money.

Guest's picture

I had no idea you could remove a dent with dry ice, has anyone tried it? Does it actually work?

on another note, I found a company Called Dashers Insurance who offers really cheap high risk insurance in California . I highly recommend them, they have given me great service for years.

Guest's picture
rowanat01

...and the indorse one worked for me just okay.

But as I would e'er say with these category of tips, the results present motley depending on the variety and example of car, and the type of bend you're dealing with.
------------------------------------
rowanat01
Rental Cars
America

Guest's picture
Tucker

Dry ice can be dangerous if it's not handled correctly. Please be causous when using it. Now on to the good stuff. I think this article is great. I saw something similar on a dry ice website. Props though, it works good.

Guest's picture
Kate

This worked pretty well for me - the option with the dry ice, that is. I had a small dent in my hood that my auto repair spot - http://www.leonardsgarageandmuffler.com - quoted me a price to fix, then I figured I may as well try it myself. It took a bit longer than I expected, but the dent is nowhere to be found.

Guest's picture
Guest

The other night while driving home from the bar I accidently bumped into a bicyclist. I was able to wash the blood from my car before the paint became damaged but now I have to figure out the most economical way to fix a couple of head sized dents, one on my hood and one on the roof. I guess it was good for the cyclist that they were wearing a helmet but I can’t help but think that a bare head would have done less damage. Would this method work for this?

Guest's picture
glen

LoL! You guys are funny! Iv"e been a PDR tech for 11 years and have tried alot of ways but it all comes down to two things...a skilled paintless dent technician or conventional autobody. In your defense dry ice will work but only on very small dents like dimesize. Try to use it on a very hot day. It doesn't work on bodylines or near the edges,only in the middle of a panel. When you heat a dent with a hair dryer it makes the metal stiffen and it holds the dent in. You only heat a dent up if its an " oilcan" which is a dent where the metal is so stretched the dent will go either way, in or out. In that case you pop the dent out or up and heat with a heat gun then try to tap it as flat as you can. there's a reason why insurance companies only write the check to a bodyshop or a PDR Company and thats because they are the only ways that work so far.

Guest's picture
NOT U

To Paul Michael,
Thanks for the tips....Even if they don't work it will be worth a try.

To all the cry babies on here,
Stop your bit$%in', the guy just tried to give you a cheap alternative to expensive auto repairs. If it didn't work for you tell us why or what did work and move on, if it did great, let us know as well. You are out what $15 bucks and a half hour of your time at the most

Guest's picture
Shai

Do you have videos on how to remove car dents easily? My car has dents and I need to remove it because it’s too disgusting. I’m a girl and I can’t do it by myself to fix it. I need volunteers to help me. All I’m doing right now is reading some articles like this one http://www.fastlanes.net/category/car-care-tips that contains some car care tips.

Guest's picture
Guest

I TRIED DRY ICE AND AIR DUSTER AND NONE OF THEM WORKED!!!!

Guest's picture
Guest

These methods do not work IF there is a creased area within it the dented area or around its perimeter. The dent has to be a smooth, rounded depression with NO creases in the sheetmetal.

Guest's picture
Guest

wow if anyone thinks these methods work you are being fooled they may work to a certain extent but this is why there are pdr technichians like myself to do the job correctly and completely, if you want to know how its done we use metal rods of different size and shapes with different tips to get under the sheet metal and push the dent up using a light to see where the tool is, or if you cant get to the dent with a rod you use hot glue on a tab which you place directly in the center of the dent then use a puller to pull up the tab along with the metal, after pulling up the metal you will usually have a high point which you knock down using a knockdown tool and a hammer

Guest's picture
Beth P

The instructions for the hair dryer have the air duster being held upside down. In your video, it doesn't work but he isn't holding it upside down...
so I'm not really sure he is proving much (other than he isn't great at following instructions). :)

Guest's picture
Guest

Sorry, but have to say all these methods using dry ice, plungers, suction cups, hair dryers are the result of someones joke. None of these will remove hail damage, carpark dings, creases or any kind of complex or sharp dent.

It _may_ slightly improve some dents, it may "pop" out simple wide and shallow dents. The same dents can pop outwards with little force by hand, but you'll still be left the "eyebrows" or "crowns" that held it in the first place.

If your car is worth less than a tank of gas, you have nothing to spend on it, or are simply bored by all means try these means.

But if its your pride and joy, or a great looking car, theres many quality Paintless dent removal technicians who can remove such dents from $65.

Guest's picture
Abraham

OK .. I tried (method 2) several times today on my Honda civic 1.4i and all i can say is it DIDNT work for me. The dent on my car was the same size as shown on method 2. Judging by the comments I see no one has been succesfull doing this. Waste of time and money. My advise, do it the old fasion way. Take it to a qualified garage who deal with dents themselves.

Guest's picture
napper

ive tried this and it really doesn,t work beleave me

Guest's picture
Guest

Tried all these methods, didn't work. You should either take down this post or add more language on the likely-hood that these methods will work. Waste of time and money!!

Guest's picture
Guest

I watched the video with the guys with english accents and looks to me that they didn't follow the directions. The can was supposed to be upside down when sprayed. Also they were using it on a dent on the edge of a wheel well where there is a crease.

Wonder if that is why it didn't work?

Guest's picture
Juan

the dents they showed in the video were not creased dents. you can pull those out with a suction cup tool the one the British folks did was on a crease and these methods would not work

Guest's picture
Guest

Holy crap so much arguing about liquid carbon dioxide. Regardless of if co2 can exist as a liquid in a can, the propellant is what you are spraying, and I know it used to be freeon. Now it might be propane, or green gas, but either way I'm pretty sure the liquid is not co2.

Guest's picture
Dave

Be careful trying dry ice. You can warp the entire panel or even damage the paint. I have heard of it working, but I have seen and heard a lot more horror stories. Your best bet is to call an experienced Paintless Dent Repair Specialist. It might cost a little more (usually around $100), but it could save you thousands in the long run.

Guest's picture
guest

The methods you showed will work on 1 in 100 dents so dont waste your time and it will never take out the dent 100% . I am a Expert paintless dent repair man and would recommend finding someone that does PDR in your area you would be amazed at what a good dent guy can do to save you big bucks. Here is my site if you want to see some before and after pics. http://www.doordents.com

Joel

Guest's picture
Guest

This is complete nonsense. Do not waste your time and money. In order to get any movement of the metal using a hot/cold method you would need to heat the metal to the point that it would cook the paint. The physics of the metal simply do not allow the hot/cold method to be done paintless. Be smart and don't try this at home kids.

Guest's picture
Goerdon

Not saying this mid worthless but it did not work on the dent in my car.

Guest's picture
Guest

Didn't make a dent. I was really exited to try it. Went to great lengths to go to get some dry ice and a can o duster for both tries, and neither of theme worked at all. What did work was wedging a small basketball in back of it and blowing it up.

Guest's picture
Guest

Would this work on hail damage, about dime size?

Guest's picture
t-man

No - it doesn't work, period. Perhaps it depends on the type of metal on your car, but on my car using dry ice when it was 108° F outside it didn't help at all. I followed the instructions carefully and I made sure the metal got frozen on several different dents - no luck. Unfortunately, I don't think there is a viable home solution - it's best to just take it to the pros (or leave it and collect insurance money like I did).

Guest's picture
Guest

send it to an auto body shop

Guest's picture
Alan

It wont work on steel ..but its easy on fiberglass..

Guest's picture
john.bc.ca

These are great ideas and did work for me to some extent but NOT to what we might expect. Those tiny sharp dents does not pop out due "Physics" limitations as explained by some. HOWEVER, WORDS OF CAUTION USING A LIGHTER FOR HEATING!!!! NEVER OVER HEAT AS THE AIRDUSTER FLUID WILL IGNITE!!! It flared up and it scare the !@#$ out of me. I was thankful it did not explode on my face! I tried heating the dent as described but slightly over a minute because the sharp dent was not popping or fixing and the "spirit of experimentiing".

A two-cent suggestion to the administrator of is popular thread, you might want to post a warning with the "Lighter" suggestion before somebody gets hurt or worst...

Thanks for the posting and thread neverthelss.

John

Guest's picture
CMW

This did not work for me at all. I don't know if my hairdryer got it hot it enough, but the metal did freeze with the CO2. Oh well, worth a try. I did it several times increasing the dryer time.

Guest's picture
Thomas

Tried it. Didn't work. I suppose it really depends on the kind of dent. In any case, it doesn't damage the car, so it's well worth a try before paying the full price for a fix I imagine.

Guest's picture
Guest

Where do I buy this from?

Guest's picture
DryIce TheRealPDR

I find it hilarious that pretty much most of the people saying this doesn't work, are all the 'professional' paintless dent removalists, shamelessly plugging their websites and businessess at the same time. Because they are furious that this is now all over youtube and the internet, because it DOES WORK. And for those who it hasn't worked for, you are either slightly mucking the procedure up a little, or need to do it more than once. Yes there are dents that it won't COMPLETELY fix, but it's pretty much the same story with the PDR's. Even in the video, the "professional" couldn't get all of it repaired, and was left with pretty much the same result you would get with the DIY option. Don't be afraid to try it, just make sure you follow the video's instructions more accurately, not like the English fella who quite obviously intentionally didn't want to get the desired effect as of course, towards the end of the video starts going on about his own business and getting a real pro to fix it..... /cue business web-site URL. LOL!

Guest's picture
nuttiebud

The video that debunked it... didn't do it right. Instructions were to keep the can upside down - also, they put way too much on..

Guest's picture
Angela Smith

There are a new product called "Quickdent" which is getting popular to remove dents from auto bodies. Does anyone have any experience with it. I know a lot of products of this quality is nothing but a hype. :(