How To Use A Salvage Yard And A Stud Welder Gun To Save Money On Your Vehicle Repairs

When your vehicle is involved in a collision, you may need to have your vehicle's broken parts replaced and repair any damage to its body. To save money, you can buy used replacement parts and do some of the body work yourself. Here are some tips to help you find vehicle replacement parts at a salvage yard and learn how to use a stud welding gun to pull dents from your vehicle.

Replace Broken Parts and Mechanisms

After your vehicle has been damaged in a collision, any parts on your vehicle you cannot repair will need to be replaced with a non-broken part. This can include items such as headlights, side mirrors, fenders, wheel rims, and various types of engine parts. Fortunately, when you don't want to pay full price for a brand new part from the dealership, you can find and buy a used part from a local salvage yard. 

It can be easy to find the used auto part you need at a local salvage yard when you understand the salvage yard's system. Most salvage yards have a computerized inventory system listing all vehicles in their yard and which parts are still available, or have not been picked yet, on each vehicle. The salvage yard's vehicles are usually organized in the yard according to make and model. Ask the office attendant at the salvage yard where to find vehicles of the same make and model to save you time locating the right part for your vehicle.

Be sure to take the tools you will need to remove the used part from its salvage vehicle. Then, also dress appropriately for the salvage yard so you don't become injured. Wear thick-soled shoes or heavy boots, long pants, a sleeved shirt, and work gloves to help protect your hands during the part picking. The salvage yard contains old and rusted vehicles with sharp edges and broken glass. 

Remove Dents From Metal

If your vehicle has a dent in its body, you do not need to replace the entire body section or even have it professionally repaired. You can pull the dent out yourself and prepare it for painting. Be sure to wear long sleeves, pants, and work gloves while you work, and wear a dust mask while you do any sanding and grinding. 

First, use an electric sander to remove the paint and primer from your vehicle's dented area so you can attach the 1 1/2-inch long metal studs onto the body of your vehicle. The stud welding gun needs to come into contact with the vehicle's bare metal for the electrical currant to create the weld to attach the metal studs. 

Place a stud into the nose of the stud welder gun and press the nose down onto the vehicle's bare metal. This will create the weld. Continue this until you have welded studs over the vehicle's dent, placing the studs as close as one inch apart. As you weld the studs onto the damaged section, use as many studs as you need, as you will use them to pull the metal out to smooth out the vehicle's damage. Allow the studs to cool for a few minutes.

Place a slide hammer onto the end of each of the welded studs to pull on the studs and to pull out the dented metal. It can be helpful to begin pulling on the outside of the damage and work your way to the inside of the damaged section. Continue this process until your vehicle's body is once again smooth.

Use a wire cutter or dykes to cut the studs from the metal body of your vehicle, and then use an electric sander to sand off any nubs left behind. If there are any crinkles remaining in your vehicle's body, fill them with auto body filler. Smooth the auto body filler over the crinkles using filler applicator and allow the filler to dry according to its directions. Use a smooth-grit sand paper to smooth the surface of the filler and your vehicle to prepare it for primer and paint.

Use this information to help you locate replacement parts for your vehicle and how to remove body dents yourself.