The Ding King

The Ding King
By: Amy Jacquin

Do you park a mile from the store, just to make sure nobody door-dings your car, or pushes a cart into it?  You may not have to worry about expensive repairs, not if the Ding King works.  Makers say it makes your vehicle look like new.

"We're going to create one like we see on TV," says Charlie Roberts, owner of Charlie's Auto Body in Cape Girardeau. He's heard all about the Ding King, but has never tried it.  He proceeds to smash a dent into the hood of a car with a mallot, just like the commercial shows.

"Nothing's going to take those out except a regular body man," mumbles Charlie, as he looks at the dent. "And that's doing it the old-fashioned way."

Which is by prying the dent out from underneath, whenever possible. They use a tool similar to the Ding King, with a much larger span, less than 3% of the time. Yet the heads that get glued to the dent are smaller, for more precise pulling. Charlie glues the head to the dent, and lets it set.

"Tell you what, I'm going to put this other one on, cause it's egg shaped, and should work better in a crease than the other one," he explains as he works.  "So we'll set it right here."

After the glue dries, Charlie places the brace over the dent, and begins to crank on the Ding King.

"See how it's pushing down both sides?" he askes, pointing to where the legs of the brace are creating shallow pools in the metal.  "That's why I say the bridge needs to be wider."

De-natured alcohol removes the glue, without hurting the paint -- as long as it's original factory paint.... But most of the the sledge hammer dent is still there. Makers of the Ding King say it works on dents as large as a grapefruit, but it may take up to ten times to see good results. So Charlie continues working on the big dent, and we see some improvement, but... "You can see that you probably wouldn't be happy with that on your car," Charlie says, and Amy Jacquin agrees.

Charlie makes several smaller dents with a rounded hammer handle, mimicking hail or door dings. His concern is that the glue heads are too large for these dents.

"You want to pull the dent up higher than it originally was, and let it set," he explains.  "Metal has a memory of sorts, and it wants to go back to the way it was, if you just give it some help."

But the big heads pull up more than just the dent.  "It's looking better," says Charlie, eye-balling the dent.  "But if  you look real close you see we've over-pulled it. It's a little on the high side."

So Charlie uses the "knock-down" tool provided with the Ding King. "I'm holding the tip above the high spot, and letting it bounce on it," he says. "Go very gently!"  You really have to know what your doing here, or you'll create more dents! But after he's finished, we're happier with the results.

"Now, can you see where I put that one?" he asks. "That one looks a whole lot better."

Four dents, and one is about 90 percent improved. Two more are somewhat improved, but the big one isn't helped much at all. So the Ding King finishes with an average grade of  'C.'