How Does a Panel Beater Go about Repairing Your Car?

6 April 2015
 Categories: , Blog

Did you know that according to some estimates you are likely to be involved in a collision when driving your car once every 17.9 years? If you look at that another way, in the course of a typical driving lifetime you might be involved in as many as three or four of these so-called "fender benders." If you find yourself in that situation now, you need to schedule a trip to your local panel beaters. Have you ever wondered how they go about repairing your car?

The technique of panel beating is a highly skilled operation. It's very labour-intensive and there are a number of individual stages involved in order to remove dents and shape panels to their original configurations. The job is made more complicated by the design of the modern car. The market demands that cars are aesthetically pleasing and all those different contours and flowing styles add to the challenge facing the panel beater.

In a typical vehicle accident the panel beater will go through several steps in order to put everything to rights.

Full Inspection

While the damage to the exterior body panels may be quite apparent to the naked eye, it is first necessary to inspect the chassis to make sure that everything is properly aligned. This requires the use of a hydraulic lift and sometimes special tools to apply force to reposition components.

Shrinking and Stretching

As panels have been stretched out of shape during a collision, the first stage of repair is to stretch or shrink the metal back to its original dimensions. Heat is applied to the surface with a blowtorch and a special hammer is used to reshape the metal to its approximate, original shape.


A metalworking technique known as "planishing" applies a little bit more finesse than the previous stage, by using a different hammer to achieve a precise finish. A tool known as a "dolly" is held in the other hand and the metal is then pushed against it in order to achieve the proper contour. For this reason, there are a wide variety of different "dollies" available in various shapes, according to the contours of the panel in question.


If it is necessary to join different pieces of metal, then they will need to be welded together. Sometimes it is necessary to add a component that's been damaged beyond repair in the accident.


When the previous stage has been completed its necessary to get even more precise by applying a putty filler to the damaged areas. This fills in all the tiny imperfections and once it is set provides a hard surface for the next stage.


Before paint can be applied to repair the panels they need to be perfectly smooth. Different textures of sanding pad are used with or without water, according to the difficulty of the task. Excess metal is removed very gradually until the final shape is achieved.


This allows the repair shop (such as Bannockburn Panel Repairs) to apply the final levels of paint to complete the job.