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Do-It-Yourself Projects
Fender Unbender
By Mike Bumbeck /
Printable version
Degree of DifficultyModerate
Estimated Time240 minutes
240 minutes
Practical Steps:

Step 1 - Here are the suggested tools. Most of this stuff can be had on the cheap these days. You may have a favorite hammer. Feel free to use it.
Suggested Tools
Step 2 - Jack up the vehicle and remove the wheel. Remove all plastic splash shields. Clean off any soil deposits.
Jack up Vehicle, and Remove Wheel and Plastic Splash Shields
Step 3 - Behold the suction cup. Find a flat surface, attach, and pull. Start at the outside of the dent and work your way in. If you're lucky the suction cup will be your first and last step.
Take the Suction Cup, Find a Flat Surface, Attach, and Pull
Step 4 - The suction cups can also be used in conjunction with leather bags full of buckshot. Tap from the inside. Pull from the outside. Presto.
Suction Cups Can Also be Used in Conjunction with Leather Bags Full of Buckshot
Step 5 - We were not lucky. Fender removal starts by removing the plastic trim and headlight buckets to access the fender bolts. Be patient. Look for clips and fasteners. Don't force anything. It will break. Pesky fender bolts are often hidden.
Fender Removal Starts by Removing Plastic Trim and Headlight Buckets to Access Fender Bolts
Step 6 - There is always one bolt holding up the works. Don't try to force the fender off. Stop. Look for more bolts. Remove them all.
Remove All Bolts
Step 7 - With all fasteners free the fender should pull away from the car with little effort.
Fender Should Pull Away Easily from Car with Fasteners Free
Step 8 - Vice grip pliers are your friend. Straighten any bent fender supports with your favorite pair of pliers.
Straighten Bent Fender Supports with Pliers
Step 9 - Practice makes semi-ok. This is a good place to practice using the hammers and dollies. Hold the dolly behind what's getting hammered. Small short taps are better than long heavy ones.
Practice Using the Hammers and Dollies
Step 10 - The same theory applies to the fender. Use the dolly or bag in conjunction with the hammer and tap out the dents from the backside.
Tap out Dents from the Backside
Step 11 - Put everything back together. Certainly not a perfect job, but no more tire scraping either. Finishing it up with more hammering, sanding, more hammering, body filler, sanding, more filler, sanding—and paint optional.
Put Everything Back Together and Finish Up
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