(not so) paintless dent repair

A few years ago, a strong wind blew the telephone line off of our house and into the MINI. Parked six inches to the right it would have missed.  Six inches to the left and it would have broken the rear window. I suppose I should have been happy it just dented the fender. The dent was in a place that made it a poor candidate for pointless dent repair, but that didn’t stop me from trying. Ultimately I fell back on the wiz – scratch wizard that is. Here’s the journey:

The dent wasn’t huge, but I noticed it each time I opened the hatch. The hook didn’t crack the paint, but it did crack the clear-coat, which will become an issue shortly.

I started by buying a cheap set of PDR tools on Amazon.  First tool to try is the external dent puller. This tool pulls the dent from the surface using small glue tips that pull and release.  

After several pulls, you can start to see the dent getting smaller. That is, until it just pulls off the clear-coat that was damaged by the falling hook. I was getting the dent to move, but crossed the line  into “not-so-paintless” dent repair. I chipped away additional failing clear-coat and pulled a few more times.

I was making progress, but since I was now pulling on the base coat, I thought it best to shift to the inside and try pushing with other PDR tools in the bag.

I made pretty good progress pushing from the inside and hammering from the outside. I probably would have kept up with this approach if the clear-coat wasn’t missing.  Another hour and it would be almost undetectable, but since I was going to have to use some filler to try to level the clear, I just switched over to the Scratch Wizard body filler. 

After a little bit of filler…

and a little bit of primer…

It was ready for paint.

And clear-coat.  All together, there were 5 coats of primer; 4 coats of paint; and 3 coats  of clear-coat that I tried to feather into the rear quarter panel.  I need to level the paint after it hardens a bit and then seal. Total repair cost: $125. I’m pretty happy with it. Now on to the hatch lid where the clear-coat is failing in large chunks.

I’ve been thinking about covering the hatch lid in vinyl then removing it. If it works like the test area above, it will come off in sheets.

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