8 Essential Tools Used in Auto Body Repair

The world of auto body repair is full of tools and gadgets that can make your life a little easier. Whether you are starting the Automotive Service Technology program at Arizona Automotive Institute or you’re just a car enthusiast looking to make improvements on your old Chevy, you’re going to need some basic tools to get the job done.

Automotive Service Instructor, Herbert Leist, compiled a list of 8 tools that are essential to auto body repair and that we use in the body shop here at Arizona Automotive Institute:

  1. Porta Power– A Porta Power is essential for doing auto body and frame repair, as well as other jobs. It is commonly used for removing dents in vehicles by applying pushing, spreading, or pulling force. It gives you the extra muscle you need to get the job done.
  2. Paint Booth– A paint booth is a pressure controlled closed environment used to paint vehicles in a body shop. The booth has one or more ventilation systems and burners to heat the air blown. They assist in the removal of the over sprayed paint from the air. Protecting the surrounding environment is most likely the single most important function of the paint booth.
  3. Masking Tape– Masking tape is used to prep the vehicle before painting.
  4. Body Hammer and Dolly – The body hammer and dolly are used to fix the body of the car. The hammer itself does the heavy lifting and physical shaping of smoothing out the dents. While the dolly holds the shape and directs the metal where to go when being manipulated by the body hammer.
  5. Bondo– Bondo is a body filler used to fill in dents and imperfections. It is a material that uses a catalyst to harden. Bondo is a thermal-set plastic that cures with heat and becomes hard, usually within a few minutes.
  6. Slide hammer– A slide hammer is used to pull dents. It attaches to an object needing to be pulled and transmits an impact force to the object without striking the object itself. Slide hammers are typically used in automotive repair when an object needs to be struck from an inaccessible side.
  7. Polisher– A polisher is used to polish the vehicle after painting. No matter how expensive your paint is or how experienced the painter is, dust, runs, and texture happen. That’s where the polisher comes in and removes these imperfections leaving a mirror-like shine.
  8. Spray Gun– A spray gun is used to paint the vehicle after repairs. Like most tools these can vary in quality. Look for one that is lightweight and ergonomic, so as not to strain the hand of the user, and one that has a little overspray as possible. And for an even coat, look for one that atomizes the paint in a uniform pattern.

If you aren’t familiar with these tools and their uses don’t let that stand in your way of becoming an automotive technician. At Arizona Automotive Institute, you’ll get the hands-on automotive technician training that you need to become more comfortable with these tools and the classroom instruction to help you know when and why to use them.

For more information about the Automotive Service Technician program at AAI click here!

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator- Arizona Automotive Institute

9 thoughts on “8 Essential Tools Used in Auto Body Repair

  1. I think it’s wrong that if you do not have a High School Diploma or a G.E.D they want let you in. I have been welding for yrs and I did attend a vocational technical school where I was able to take up FCAW and MILD Steel stick welding and did not need no GED or Diploma . But that was in Louisiana . People did not care if you had a GED or HIGH Diploma long as you had yrs of experience in the area you was applying for. And I don’t have a GED or HIGH Diploma . Move her in Tucson about 2 yrs ago looking for local work as a welder. Would like to take up Mig and Tig.


  2. With modern unibody cars, isn’t frame straightening sort of becoming a thing of the past? I’d think that crumple zones deform past the point of no return these days to protect vehicle occupants.


    1. It is true that once the crumple zones are used, there is no way to repair the unibody back to the point where the crumple zones will react exactly the same way in the event of the same type of accident, but there are many types of accidents. For example if the 1/4 panel is damaged, it can be replaced. They are replaced all the time and if it’s done right, there will be no issue. If the roof buckles, that’s a different thing all together.

      The best way to test that the repair on a unibody vehicle has been done properly is to throw a bucket of water on the ground in a parking lot and drive through it. If the back tires don’t go over the front tires that is what’s called “crabbing” and you need to return to the body shop immediately.


  3. I had no idea that they best spray guns that achieve an even coat are the ones that atomize the paint so that it appears uniform. Having clumpy paint could potentially be very frustrating, especially if you working on the finishing touches of a repair. It seems important to have a high quality spray gun to maintain efficiency.


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  6. It is really a nice and useful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.


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