Panel Beating Procedure

Posted on: 8 September 2015

After an accident, a car's body may be severely damaged and bent out of shape. The dents and breakages need to be beaten and smoothed back to shape. This entire process is referred to as panel beating and is usually carried out by panel beaters using specialized tools and techniques. A good panel beating should result in a smooth and nearly new appearance without small dents and uneven bumps. Here is a brief description of the processes carried out during panel beating.

Metal stretching

The first step to fix a dent would be to stretch the metal back into shape. This is done by heating the dented area with a blow torch and, once well heated, the panel beaters hammer the metal slowly to stretch it back to shape. A shrink hammer is used to beat the metal all while another tool called a dolly is laid back on the panel to give it shape.


This is the next process that is sometimes necessary, especially when two pieces of metal need to be joined together. Welding done during panel beating is usually localized and is done by either arc welding or using oxyacetylene flame. This process is only necessary if the panel could not be beaten easily to its original shape and more metal needs to be added. The weld needs to be light and fine so as to limit the visibility.

Putty fillers

Putty may sometimes be used to fill small dents and holes. Panel beaters prepare putty mix and quickly set it into the dents while shaping all through. Putty must be set quickly since it hardens fast. Once applied, the putty filler hardens and the panel beaters can then sand and smooth it before primer is set. Putty fillers should be carefully and quickly prepared and laid to ensure a smooth finish.

Panel sanding

Once the panel has been reshaped and filled with putty, if necessary, the next process is sanding. Sanding is necessary for further smoothing of the surface and preparation for the next paint job. There are two types of sanding done by panel beaters. Dry sanding removes the previous color coat while wet sanding prepares the surface further by smoothing and cleaning off any debris in the newly fixed area.

Spray painting

After a successful panel beating, the final step is usually spray painting. Spray painting should be done in a uniform way with the previous coat. This is to eliminate the chance of uneven colorization of the surface. Once the area has been spray painted, the surface is then baked in heat. This ensures the paint further sets and also gives the part a gloss.

For more information, contact panel beaters, like those at Bannockburn Panel Repairs, or an auto body shop.