What Should You Know About Automotive Body Filler?


Modern auto body shops have many tools and techniques to restore damaged or neglected vehicles to peak form. These options range from high-tech machines that can perfectly match paint colors to brute force methods for banging panels back into shape. However, one product with many myths and misunderstandings surrounding it is plastic body filler, sometimes known by the brand name "Bondo."

You may have heard warnings about Bondo in the past or heard friends suggest that you need to watch out for used cars with filler repairs. Unfortunately, inappropriate usage has given this otherwise valuable repair tool a tarnished name. Keep reading to learn how professional repair shops use this product and why you shouldn't necessarily be afraid of it.

What Is Automotive Filler?

Many fillers on the market are relatively similar. Technicians apply them in putty form, shaping the affected area to match the body panel and restore the car's original appearance. Once applied, the filler must cure, and technicians then need to perform additional preparation work, including sanding. Taking the time to prepare the surface is crucial for a permanent and attractive repair.

Why Don't People Like Fillers?

Fillers get a lousy reputation primarily because of misuse by do-it-yourselfers. These products can help restore relatively small dents where the paint may already have damage, and they can also be helpful if you don't have access to enough of the panel for paintless dent repair techniques. On the other hand, there are many repairs for which fillers are not suitable.

For example, fillers tend to shrink over time, making them poorly suited for repairing large areas. Likewise, a filler cannot correct rust and won't necessarily seal exposed metal underneath it. Adding filler over these areas can result in a poor bond that may substantially degrade over time. In extreme cases, the filler can detach from the body.

Do Professional Shops Use Filler?

Professional auto body repair technicians know that automotive filler has its place, just like any other tool in their arsenal. While many technicians now prefer paintless dent repair techniques, these methods require access around the dent and typically can't work if there's paint or structural damage. In these cases, traditional repair with filler may be a better option than replacing the entire panel.

As with most auto body repair issues, working with a shop that uses experienced and trained technicians is critical. A good shop will use all of the tools at its disposal to provide you with a repair that's long-lasting, attractive, and cost-effective. When used under these conditions, automotive filler can be a valuable part of any auto body repair process.

Contact a local auto body shop to learn more.


20 January 2022

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