About Me

Angela's Articulate Collection of Car Service Secrets, Tips and Tricks

Hi, my name is Angela, and as the wife of a mechanic, I was constantly tripping over car parts and complaining about the rows of project cars lining our garden. However, after a few years, I quit complaining and actually found joy in the art of auto repair. Inspired by that classic book, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", I decided to start working on cars with my husband. This blog is the culmination of everything I have learned and more. I hope you enjoy reading it and that my tips and ideas guide you toward a healthier car and a happier, safer driving experience.


Angela's Articulate Collection of Car Service Secrets, Tips and Tricks

Why Panel Beating Is Only a Small Part of the Job

by Keith Simpson

The phrase "panel beater" is something of a misnomer. It suggests that the individual in question adopts an aggressive stance as he or she fights with your damaged car to try and affect the repair. In truth, the work is much more sophisticated and is a result of years of training combined with modern-day technology. You may wonder what the process involves, and it's good to have a broad knowledge of what will take place. So how does a panel beater go about repairing your vehicle?

Complex Task

Much will depend on the extent of the damage, but no matter what, this operation requires a lot of skill. Several different stages are involved, and the job is typically more challenging due to the exotic design of the modern car. Manufacturers insist that their vehicles stand out from the crowd and will often include unusual contours and flowing styles. This may look nice to the average car buyer but will certainly create an additional challenge for the panel beater.


The first step usually involves an evaluation and some changes to the estimate provided by the insurance company. Some exterior body panels may need to be removed to reveal additional damage, and checks will be made to ensure that the chassis is still perfectly aligned.

Shrinking or Stretching

Sometimes a particular panel can simply be swapped out with a brand-new version and bolted into place without any issue. On other occasions, the panel will need to be reshaped through a process of shrinking or stretching. Here, the panel beater will apply heat to the surface and will then use a number of different hammers to reshape the metal.


Once the metal has been beaten back to its approximate and original shape, different tools are introduced in a process known as 'planishing'. The panel beater will hold a tool called a 'dolly' in one hand and push the metal against it with a number of different hammers. Many different dollies can be used with a variety of different techniques in order to replicate the original contour.


Still, there's only so much that the technician can do when planishing, and in order to perfect the job, they will need to fill in and smooth out a variety of small imperfections. To achieve this, they will use putty filler and will let it harden before they can move onto the next stage.


Before the vehicle can be painted, the panels must be perfectly smooth and will therefore need to be sanded. There are many different types of sanding pads, and these are applied with or without water depending on the task at hand. The expert will be able to remove excess metal gradually until the job is complete.

Time for Paint

Typically, the panel beater will then hand the vehicle over to the spray shop, where several layers of paint will be applied over the course of several days.

As you can see, there is a lot of work and a good degree of expertise involved. Make sure that you take your vehicle into an experienced facility so that the job is completed to your satisfaction.

Call a company like Dandy Smash Repairs for more information about panel beating.