Oh! My head!
This Nissan Versa is in the shop to have its roof repaired. It is hard to see in the first couple of picture, but there are four nice dents running across the width of the car … like something fell on or crashed into the roof. You can see the worst of the four dents in the first photo. The second photo is of one of the smaller dents on the other side, opposite the dent in the first picture. There are two other dents that can be clearly seen in person, but that don’t show up in a picture, between the two dents in the photos.
The third photos shows the dents repaired. Three of the dents we were able to repair with thin skim of body filler, but the worst one required a little slide hammer magic.
A slide hammer works like a hammer to pull the dent out. Small metal studs are welded to the metal in the dent. The slide hammer is then attached and a heavy metal weight is slid along the length of the slide hammer. When the weight strikes the stop of the slide hammer, the force of the blow is transferred to the metal of the car, pulling the sheet metal in the direction of the blow. By varying the force, and direction, of the blows, a body man can tease the metal into position.
After the dent is mostly removed, body filler is applied to further smooth the surface. Body filler, commonly known as Bondo, has received a bad reputation by people to didn’t understand its proper use or were taking short cuts. Body filler is ideally suited for filling and repairing shallow dents like on this Versa. Properly used, as in this application, the repair is undetectable and will last the life of the car.
After the body filler dried, it was blocked smooth to blend into the lines of the car. Blocking is a technique of sanding using a plastic block shaped to fit comfortably in the hand. The block holds the sandpaper even so that the block removes material only from areas that are higher than the surrounding area. Blocking allows the repaired area to be sanded dead smooth and even and to be seamlessly blended into the surrounding area so that after the area is painted, the repair completely disappears.
The last photo shows the repaired areas after the filler has been blocked smooth and sprayed with primer. The primer covers the filler and protects the repair from the elements. It also provides a surface to promote good adhesion for the paint that follows.
After the primer dries overnight we will give it a quick sand using the sanding block, to smooth out any rough areas, before it goes into the booth for paint. Then this car will no longer be a subject for Phrenological study.