Repairing dents in your commercial fleet vehicle and preparing them for a new professional application of primer, paint, and top coat is something you can complete on your own. Here are some instructions to help you prepare your vehicle for a professional and flawless paint treatment.

Remove the Vehicle's Paint Finish

One of the best professional tools you can use to remove dents from your vehicle's body is to use a stud welder gun. The stud welder gun welds a series of metal pins onto the dented area of your vehicle's body, which you use to pull out the dents. The stud welder gun needs bare metal for it to weld the studs onto the vehicle's body. For this reason, you will need to sand off the vehicle's paint and primer to expose the metal.

As you wand, be careful if you are working on a new model vehicle, as the body metal can be very thin. You don't want to inadvertently grind off too much metal or cause the metal to heat up from the sanding process and warm the metal body to cause additional damage beyond what the collision caused.

With an electric sander, use an 80-grit sandpaper to remove the paint and primer from the vehicle's damaged section. Because you are using a rough-grit sandpaper, it will quickly remove all the paint and primer. 

Use Stud Welder Gun

Now you can use the stud welder gun to attach the metal studs, or pins, to the bare metal on your vehicle's collision damage. Place a metal pin into the nose of the stud welder gun and press the gun onto the metal. As you press the nose against the vehicle's metal, the electrical current in the gun will create a weld between the pin and the body.

Repeat this process, welding pins along the interior of the dented areas in the collision damage, placing the pins as close as one inch apart. Keep in mind you will use these pins to pull the dents outward to restore the vehicle body's smooth surface. Also place pins onto high peaks of damage, which you can use to push the damage back in place on the vehicle. 

Pull Dents From the Body

When all the pins are in place and cooled, use a body hammer to lightly pull the pins outward. Start working on the pins positioned on the exterior areas of the damage, working your way into the interior of the damage. The idea behind this process is to pull out the indirect damage first, then you can pull out the collision's direct damage. Pulling, or repairing, the indirect damage before the direct damage allows the dent to most easily be repaired.

It is also recommended to roll the body hammer as you pull on it instead of pulling straight out on the pin. This will help prevent stretching of the vehicle's body and creating additional damage. Use the body hammer to push inward on high points of body damage.

Sand and Fill any Remaining Imperfections

After the dents have been completely pulled and smoothed, use a pair of dykes to cut the studs from the vehicle's body and grind the nubs smooth. Occasionally there will be creases and small imperfections remaining where the collision damage was repaired, which you can fill and smooth over with auto body filler. Apply the filler onto the metal and smooth it with the edge of the plastic filler applicator. Allow the filler to dry completely, following the package instructions.

Sand the filler and the surrounding newly-repaired collision damage with a 300-grit sanding block. Next, switch to a fine-grit sanding block of between 800 and 1000-grit. This will remove all the scratches that were caused from sanding and repairing the body. 

Now your vehicle is ready for a professional primer, paint, and clear finish application.