Friday, June 28, 2013
Ten minute auto body repair
New Hampshire is one of those states with a mandatory yearly auto inspections. I've always hated those. It's not that I want to drive unsafe cars. The problem is that I often don't have the time or the money to keep a vehicle up to state standards. Sure, my safety equipment is up to snuff, but some repairs get pushed off into the future.
The big one now is the stupid “check engine” light. I hate that. Who doesn't? Of course I looked under the hood and found the engine still there. Now what? About the only reliable way to sort that out is with a fairly expensive electronic tester. Usually is something stupid like a fouled environmental control sensor or a tiny leak in the fuel vapor capture system. Maybe it's just gremlins. Who knows?
The other big one is holes in the car body. We live in snow country where they use a lot of salt on the road. Salt equals corrosion.
My lovely wife's car had a typical body rot problem: a hole in the rocker panel. There are a number of ways to do a really professional repair job. In the past, I've even done a few, so it's not like I don't know how. However, the car is old and I didn't have much time to mess around. Here's what I did.
I put some disposable gloves on. Mixed a big glob if body filler, the kind with fibers in it. (Bondo) Took it in my glove covered hand and smooshed it into the hole. Then a took a plastic putty knife and smoothed it out a bit. Once it hardened, I sprayed the rocker panels with undercoat. Done. The undercoat has enough texture that it hides the fact the Bondo wasn't sanded.
The car passed inspection, no problem.