Repairing a pick-up truck tailgate may not be considered by some to be a do-it-yourself project. However, if you are armed with the proper tools, some encouragement and some help from a friend, you can, indeed, repair a pick-up truck tailgate yourself. Read on to find out how.
Your truck tailgate is damaged and now the daunting process of getting fair estimates begins. Before you know it, your insurance company is saying that the damage is not as extensive as you first thought, and perhaps your deductible is so high that you would end up incurring the cost to repair it out of pocket anyway. By the time you have dealt with the hassle, you could have repaired it yourself. The first thing you want to do is get a good assessment of the damage. Is it just a dent? Can you open and close the tailgate properly? Or, are the hinges bent and preventing the tailgate from closing? When the tailgate closes, does it do so evenly on either side? Before you begin any work on the tailgate, take the above questions under consideration. The answers to them will help you to determine if you will need new hinges, a new tailgate, or both. The following instructions take the assumption that you will not have to replace the hinges or the entire tailgate on your truck. Next, gather the following items, as you will need them during the repair process:
- Compressed Air Can
- Disc Sander
- Dust Mask
- Galvanized Metal Filler
- Panel Beating Kit
- Sanding Block
- Sanding Disc-P80 grit
- Sandpaper-P80 to P240 grit
- Trim Removal Kit
Follow these instructions to repair the tailgate:
- Remove the tailgate dents and trim. Using a screwdriver and trim removal kit, remove the trim behind the dent of the tailgate. Once you have, you will have access to the inside of the tailgate, and access to the dented portion. Using the dolly and flip found in the panel beating kit, and starting from the edge of the dent, begin using the items to pound out the dent. Never start in the middle of the dent, but always from an outer edge and work your way to the middle. Continue pounding out the dent until the area is as flat as you can possibly make it.
- Attach a P80 grit sanding disc onto the disc sander, and while wearing a dust mask, begin sanding to remove the paint from the tailgate around and over the dented area. Use the air compression can to blow away the dust left behind.
- Using a spreader, apply the galvanized metal filler to the dented area. Fill the all creases and then spread beyond the damaged area about an inch beyond the dent. Allow the filler to cure.
- Once the filler has cured, cover a sanding block with P80 grit sandpaper. Use the sanding block to sand down and remove most of the filler. If you remove too much, you can always add more filler, allow it to cure, and begin again. Run the palm of your hand over the surface, and check for smoothness.
- Using the sanding block, and P240 grit sandpaper, finely sand the panel until smooth. Continue to remove additional dust with the can of compressed air.
Once these steps are completed you will have a smooth surface, free of divots and cracks, which can now be professionally painted.