DIY Car Body Repairs – save money!!
Carsprays is a general purpose guide for anyone considering d.i.y car repairs, who has access to fairly basic tools. High labour charges and insurance excess payments make even small car repairs an expensive item to budget for, especially in today’s economic climate.
Metallic paintwork, colour matching and blending all add their own problems to even a minor scratch or dent, but there is no magic involved!
Why not investigate the possibility of repairing your own car and save some money? Even minor damage, such as a scratched wheel arch, may result in a garage invoice in excess of £200. The raw materials for diy car repair will be a fraction of that.
If your car or van is several years old, paying for a 100% perfect professional result may actually be wasting your money. You are probably more than capable of carrying out a completely acceptable job by following the guidelines on this website 🙂
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Body Repair Basics….
The most expensive item which may be needed for this type of diy car repair is a good spraygun, and an air compressor to run it. This may be uneconomic for a “one-off” repair, but perhaps feasible for a keen DIY’er – see our Tools and Equipment pages.
Small repairs such as scratches, stonechips and minor damage can be painted satisfactorily using aerosol paints. These are usually cellulose paint, which has been thinned a little more than usual to work properly at the pressure provided by the canister.
Rust repairs can include surface rust, rusted holes in bodywork or even full panel replacement.
Accident repairs may involve replacing body panels completely. You can find instructions here for bolted panels, doorskins and welded body sections.
Resprays and paintwork repairs are covered in the Car Spraying section, with advice on matching and blending difficult metallic or pearlescent paintwork. Of course make sure everything is ready for spraying first!
The other alternative to consider is paying a suitably equipped bodyshop to apply the paint after the preparation work has been completed. As most of the cost of a professional repair will be labour charges, quite a large amount of money can be saved this way. Preparation can easily account for 75% of the time involved. Remember, though, that faulty preparation will not be hidden by coats of paint!
Professional bodyshops use power tools which speed up the repair process, but most stages of a repair can still be completed by good old fashioned hard work. It just takes longer.
Many bodyshops and coachbuilders will finish all flatting by hand anyway to guarantee a perfect finish, so don’t worry too much about not having the latest tools available – nearly all of the preparation stages can be carried out using simple abrasives and sanding blocks.
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Carsprays Free Workshop Manual for Body and Paint Repairs