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ACarlson New Reader
8/15/08 2:13 p.m.

All I've heard is rumor and speculation. Can anybody share insight on this magical usage of dry ice for dent removal? I've got one on the Miata that's smack in the middle of the rear fender, not around any lines or anything - seems like a prime candidate.

Thoughts, info?

walterj HalfDork
8/15/08 2:59 p.m.

I don't know anything about the magical properties of dry ice removing dents but I can see my way to how it could be used to create some.

RichardM New Reader
8/15/08 3:24 p.m.

The theory is that if you get the metal very warm say by leaving it out in the Texas sun in August, then rapidly cool it by the application of dry ice, the metal will contract in the area being cooled and the dent will pop out. Try it and let us know if it works.

jikelly New Reader
8/15/08 3:44 p.m.

We tried it on my brother's Buick GN. We were trying to remove hail dents. It got our hands really cold, but that was about it.

It did work on larger dents though.

ddavidv SuperDork
8/15/08 3:47 p.m.

I paid a shop to try it on hail damage. Didn't work.

ACarlson New Reader
8/19/08 2:32 p.m.

Yeah, this is a fist-sized dent in the fender away from any style lines or anything.

What's the worst that could happen? I get the fender cold? Could I make the dent an outie, in theory?

Worth a shot, I suppose, eh?

confuZion3 HalfDork
8/19/08 2:51 p.m.

It makes sense to me. Give it a try. I think you should be able to get some dry ice from your local UPS store or post office. I believe it's used when shipping perishable items.

ClemSparks SuperDork
8/19/08 3:40 p.m.

I've always "heard of it" but never actually had any first- or reliable second-hand experience with it.

It stands to reason that it WON'T work to me. The metal has stretched. You can shrink it temporarily with the cold...but it's not going to plastically compress the steel back into shape.

That said...I figure there must be SOME circumstances where it works (like when something has "oilcanned" to take on a concave instead of convex and just needs some help flopping back to the right side of the plane)...I'dunno.


vladha New Reader
8/19/08 4:30 p.m.

I've used it for smaller dents, golf ball to baseball sized. They can't be too deep or have broken the paint(meaning that the metal has creased). Worked fairly well. It removed some of them totally, and turned a baseball sized one to a golf ball sized dent and it was less than half as deep.

For me, it worked on "gentle" dents, and will not work on creases. I wrapped it in cloth so I wouldn't mar the paint anymore than it already was. You do need a relatively warm day(I live in Florida). Just left the car out in the sun for about an hour and went to work.

Did it make a huge difference? No... but it did help some. I bought mine at the local grocery store. Used the rest to amuse/amaze my kids and their friends in the neighborhood... trying to earn points as the "cool" dad in the hood.

Peas us Riced, Mark

ACarlson New Reader
8/19/08 5:03 p.m.

I think my dent fits all the criteria of a case where it's likely to work: shallow, broad, smooth, no body lines, no broken paint.

I'm going to try the ice first, and if that doesn't work, I've seen a method involving a hair drier and the super-cold liquid propellant from the kind of compressed air can they sell to spray off a keyboard. Either way, I'll try to heat the area in the sun and maybe hit it with a heat gun on low, too.

Makes a measure of sense, and both methods can't cost more than $20. What the hell?

I'll report back, probably Sunday or Monday.

Travis_K New Reader
8/19/08 5:31 p.m.
ClemSparks wrote: That said...I figure there must be SOME circumstances where it works (like when something has "oilcanned" to take on a concave instead of convex and just needs some help flopping back to the right side of the plane)...I'dunno. Clem

I have seen this type of dent fixed by heating the metal with a torch and then holding a wet rag on it (it was an old willys pickup rear fender).

Woodyhfd GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
8/19/08 6:13 p.m.

I always wondered if it would work for the front license plate dimples that always find their way onto the Miata front bumpers.

Tommy Suddard
Tommy Suddard GRM+ Member
8/19/08 7:03 p.m.

My e30 has quarter-sized dents all over the rear quarter panels. Do you think it would work?

Per Schroeder
Per Schroeder Technical Editor/Advertising Director
8/20/08 7:21 a.m.

No, you've got to start bugging your dad for the M3. Ask him every day (or more) until he relents. He'll appreciate your obsession.

Tommy Suddard
Tommy Suddard GRM+ Member
8/20/08 7:39 a.m.

You act like I don't already. Or say I'm going to take the seats.

nickel_dime HalfDork
8/20/08 10:29 a.m.
Tommy Suddard wrote: My e30 has quarter-sized dents all over the rear quarter panels. Do you think it would work?

Does that make them half dollar rear dent panels?

Tommy Suddard
Tommy Suddard GRM+ Member
8/20/08 11:56 a.m.

If it did, they would actually be worth more than the car.

ditchdigger Reader
8/20/08 12:41 p.m.



hard to tell with the low resolution but the first one is neat to watch

11/11/08 1:16 p.m.

I found a good video, that is actually done by an autobody technician. The most legit I have seen in some time. It is also stated here on a Dry Ice Distributors website:


Other uses for Dry Ice

Tyler H
Tyler H GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/11/08 1:55 p.m.

They also state that it will come back as soon as it gets in the sun.

7/18/10 8:40 p.m.

Yes, there are multiple ways to remove a dent using dry ice. I've seen an article posted on this dry ice website stating that it can be accomplished best by first heating the dent with a hair dryer. Do not over heat or you can actually damage the paint. Then apply dry ice to the dent. Then you sit back and watch the dent pop right out. Pretty amazing. I've seen a few videos on it too.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn SuperDork
7/18/10 8:54 p.m.

Does it work on dents in canoes?

7/2/11 5:16 p.m.

I have tried dry ice it today on the hood of my Ford Escape 2005, my car has hail damage. Today's temperature is 89F and I used the dry ice after driving the car so the hood was pretty hot.

mad_machine GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/2/11 5:30 p.m.

icecream distributers have dryice for sale too. The local Jack and Jill place sells it by the block

Jay_W HalfDork
7/2/11 7:29 p.m.

I tried it on a re qtrpanel dent on a hot day and got absolutely nowhere with it...

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