Every time I go to Midas I’m reminded that I know very little about cars. I’m trying to get better, and figuring out how to pop a dent out of the bumper of my car is a step in the right direction.
It all started one night when I was getting on an exit ramp off of 270. Like a flash of lightning, a monster-raccoon bolted in front of my car. Needless to say it didn’t make it very far.
I tell people it was more like hitting a small bear. The front of my car went almost as high as the note I hit mid-scream. I angrily muttered to myself the whole way home, and when I got out of my car and surveyed the damage, my stomach sunk. I figured I’d have to pay a ton of money to get something like that fixed.
One weekend I thought I’d tackle it myself. I consulted the internet and tried pouring boiling water on the dent to soften the plastic… They said I could pop the dent out right away.
They were wrong.
The only thing I almost popped out was my shoulder. So I tried a hair dryer, which I am beginning to believe was an internet joke I stumbled into. Needless to say I decided to say goodbye to DIY and embrace my dented bumper until money fell from the sky.
I fortunately have some awesome car-savvy co-workers who always lend a hand. They helped me figure out the best way to pop a dent out of a plastic car bumper and even helped me do it. I will say it’s best for you to enlist one friend or family member for the job. Please remember to be careful during this method and to wear gloves/goggles and whatever else you need to be safe around a heat gun and hot surface!
Grab a heat gun from the store, a cool, damp cloth, and a “Dent-Removing Buddy”. You can get a heat gun for $10-$20 dollars at the store. Here’s an example of what you’re looking for. The one we used was in the $10 range, which, when you consider how much it would’ve cost me to take it to the shop, was a steal.
[If you’re considering popping a dent out of your car in the winter, I’d suggest parking it in the garage and letting a space heater warm up the area a bit first. We popped the dent out of my car in the middle of January, so using a heat gun against the stark cold surface of the car probably wouldn’t have done great things for the paint… and would’ve taken even longer for the plastic to become malleable, so we heated the garage up first.]
Set up the heat gun about a foot away from the dent and start moving the heat gun back and forth, evenly distributing the air across the dented area. You don’t want the plastic on the car to heat up so much that it warps. There will be a little bit of cracking in the paint, but you don’t want it to bubble significantly. If it looks like you’re significantly overheating, take a little break.
The other person needs to press the inside of the bumper out, using the cool damp cloth as a hand protector and to counteract the heat from the heat gun. Ain’t gonna lie, this is the not-fun job of the two because it may require you lying on your back on the garage floor to reach under the car, so if you are asking a friend to do it, you may want to buy them dinner…and dessert.
I would say the whole process took approx. 30 minutes or so. The dent didn’t just pop out right away like magic. It takes some time and consistent pressing of the bumper outward as the plastic softens.
The patience paid off, though. You can see in the picture that, despite a few cracks and paint bubbles, my front bumper looks amazing! I used to find my car in the parking lot by looking for the massive dent on the front, but now I have to pay closer attention to where I park 🙂
Any other successful ways you’ve popped out a dent? Share them in the comments!