3-Step Guide for Temporarily Reducing the Appearance of a Small Dent in Your Car's Body

Posted on: 13 December 2016

If you were recently involved in a fender-bender, you may have a small dent in your car. Not only does this mar the appearance of your vehicle, but any scratches expose the underlying metal, making it prone to rust damage. To improve the appearance of your car and temporarily reduce any possible corrosion, use the three steps below.

Step 1: Use Dry Ice to Pull the Dent Out

The first step involves pulling the dent out using dry ice, which is carbon dioxide in frozen form. As the ice melts, it turns into a gas, making the air it occupies extremely cold as well as thinner than the air around it. When dry ice is held about six inches away from the dent, the change in the air causes the dent to pop out.

Using this method helps eliminate any additional scratches on the paint. This helps prevents further damage to the body underneath.

When handling dry ice, make sure to use very heavy insulated gloves, since the ice can reach -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit. When you are holding the dry ice close to your car's body, use heavy-duty tongs to minimize direct exposure to your skin.

Hold the ice until you see the dent pop out. Then proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Fill In Scratches with Matched Fingernail Polish

This step uses fingernail polish that closely matches the color of your car's paint to fill in the scratches. If you cannot find an exact match, do not worry. The third step will help blend the polish with your existing color enough that it will not be noticeable. The main purpose is to reduce the appearance of the scratches and protect the metal.

When selecting the type of fingernail polish, try to choose a polish that either claims to harden nails or has a one-coat finish. These polishes tend to be stronger in composition, allowing the coat of paint to stay in place longer.

Use the brush that came with the bottle of polish to fill in any scratches within the dent, even superficial ones. Allow the polish to dry for an hour or two, and then apply a second coat. If your car has any deep scratches, a third coat may be necessary to fully fill them in. Let all of the coats dry an additional hour or two, and then go on to the third step

Step 3: Shine the Paint with Car Wax and Horse Liniment

Now that you have pulled out the dent and filled in the scratches, it is time to make your car's paint shine. This coat also adds an extra layer of protection so that moisture cannot penetrate into the polish or the metal.

This step uses equal parts liquid car wax and horse liniment. When combined, these things create a strong protective barrier that can last a few weeks to months, depending on the amount of rain that your area receives.

Mix the two ingredients together and then apply the mixture to the dent and the surrounding area. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes and then use a cloth diaper or a soft mechanic's cloth to buff the surface. Allow the wax solution to set up for a couple of hours, and then repeat the process.

You may also want to apply the wax to your car's entire body to create a uniform shine. This also keeps attention away from the dent, helping to further minimize its appearance.

While the above can reduce the appearance of your car's dent and protect the metal from moisture, it only serves as a temporary solution. For more permanent options, you may want to discuss your vehicle's condition with a technician at an auto-body repair shop.