How do you fix a dent in a rear quarter panel?

Sometimes, fixing a dent in a rear quarter panel may depend on the make and model of the vehicle. However, there are general useful strategies. 

Prior to attempting a repair, it’s a good idea to seek out an auto body repair shop. Auto body professionals are masters at their craft, and can oblige by answering any questions. It’s best to let the pros take a look. If you happen to ask what they charge, you might find the shop’s cost a positive surprise.

Chula Vista Auto Body, offering same-day estimate appointments with professional technicians, quotes fair prices and timely work completion, providing vehicle owners peace of mind in making their best decision.

For vehicle owners who choose a DIY route, here’s some guidance.

dent in a rear quarter panel

What is a rear quarter panel? 

A rear quarter panel is the exterior surface metal panel of an automobile between a rear door (or only door for two-door models) and the vehicle’s trunk. Both side’s quarter panels wrap around the wheel wells. The rear quarter panel is welded to the vehicle to provide structural support. This means you won’t remove it, however, for a severely damaged repair, the technician will likely remove the panel.

What is a rear quarter panel?

What should I avoid if I am new to auto repair?

  1. Avoid a dent that has broken through the clear coat (the sealant). It’s likely to develop rust/corrosion quickly. If the sealant is worn away or torn, check with your local auto body professional for a repair quote. 
  2. Avoid working with a crease on a rear quarter panel; it’s difficult to repair on your own. The same is true for dents on the panel’s edge.  

Are there examples for when I should seek professional repairs?

  1. See your auto body professionals when a dent has broken through the sealant. This is particularly true if the dent is older than a few days or more, especially with exposure to water, moisture, even an environment that experiences humidity. This is because rust can take hold and quickly spread through the metal of the vehicle’s panel.
  2. Any crease or dents on edges of rear panels should be taken to the pros for work.
  3. See your auto body professional if you feel uncomfortable working on the dent repair.

auto body professionals

How do you fix a rear quarter panel dent?

Using the suction method:

Shallow and concave dents that are cosmetic in nature prove to be the most successful types of dents for a DIY quarter panel dent repair. 

Begin by assembling needed supplies to repair the dent using a dent removal tool. Also, read and understand all directions prior to attempting fixing the quarter panel dent using a suction method.

Supplies required


A plumber’s cup plunger used for sinks and drains

  1. Start by wetting the panel so the plunger can form a strong seal.
  2. Push the plunger’s cup over the center of the dent, but don’t press too hard. You could make the damage worse. Give the plunger a quick straight-out tug (avoiding vacuum leakage) so the dent pops out.
  3. Repeat this process a few times until the dent pops out. 

Smaller dents may take just minutes to pop back, but other dents can require more time, hard work and patience to get the quarter panel back in shape.

Final Check

A DIY vehicle repair might not result in perfection, possibly affecting the overall look and resale value of the vehicle. 

When finished, inspect the repaired area to ensure there’s no damaged sealant. If so, your local auto body professional is always there to apply sealant.


Pair of gloves