Many people are very uncomfortable when it comes to making any repairs to their car body. Working with metal surfaces is actually not too dissimilar to fixing wooden or drywall. So, if you have ever successfully patched a piece of drywall in your home, you can probably do the same to your car body. You just need to make sure you have the right tools and materials. Here is a straightforward explanation of how to make small patches on auto body surfaces.
Sanding and Prepping the Surface
Before you apply any patch to an auto body hole, you need to clean up the area. By lightly sanding the area directly surrounding the hole, you can knock off any rough edges and make the surface paint-ready. To sand on auto body paint you need to use a technique called wet sanding. This just means that you use special high-grit sandpaper and water when sanding. This sandpaper is usually over 1000 grit and it can be used wet or dry. All you need to do is keep the paper wet to lubricate the surface and prevent scratching. Use small circular motions when sanding and try not to push down too hard.
Patching the Surface
Auto body patch is tricky to work with because it dries quickly. Familiarize yourself with its consistency and drying time before you prepare to apply it to your car. Practice on a spare piece of metal. For small patches you might just want to spread the filler with your fingers (wear a glove of course), or use a plastic putty knife that will not scratch the surface.
Allow the filler to dry for 2 hours before you sand it down (with the same sandpaper that you used before). Sanding down the excess to make it perfect will take a bit of patience. You want the patch to match the curves of the car, so do not overdo it.
Painting the Patch
Repainting over the patch is actually the simplest part if you are able to find a factory paint replacement. Most dealerships sell small paint cans in all of their factory colors, so it should be easy to find the right product. These cans even have small brushes built into the can so you can make the touch ups with ease. After the paint has dried you might need to buff it out to give it a nice matching sheen. Using a buffer attachment for a power drill is the most effective way.
As you can see, small auto body holes can be easily managed with the right tools and materials. If you find the repair is beyond your skill after all, contact a local mechanic like Dean's Automotive Service Center.