Can You Use A Stick Welder for Auto Body Work?

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The welding of sheet metal requires the use of a wire or a tig welder. This is probably the most efficient way to weld auto body panels.

However, if you don’t have a wire, you can use a TIG welder for auto bodywork.

Stick welding requires you to place a stick of wire between two plates, a point of which touches the metal. That is a little tricky and requires a little skill but is great for most auto bodywork jobs.

It can also help with joints or bends on cars, such as the side skirts of your vehicle and a number of other common bodywork jobs. In fact, stick welding is the method of choice for many auto body welders!

In this section, we’ll look at some of the practical steps you can take to do this safely, without putting your vehicle at risk of damage.

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Determining the Best Rod

To begin, you need to determine what type of rod would be best suited for your welding job and what the ideal size of the rod would be.

See our Electrode Amperage Chart for reference.

When it comes to rust removal, this can be tricky, as you may grind too much of the material before cleaning it. For quick body repairs, it is best to just weld and not bother removing the rust.

In most cases, a 6011 bar works better than a 7018 bar because it allows you to go much faster.

In any case, keep in mind that the weld will be stronger than the rest of the material, so it will probably hold together well without grinding off the rust before welding.

Taking Necessary Precautions to Prevent Heat Building

Perhaps the most significant challenge you’ll face when using a stick welder for bodywork is heat build-up. Too much heat affects the material, so you want to avoid this problem by moving faster.

You can try using a whip motion. By moving back and forth while following the direction of the weld, you reduce the risk of burning.

This should be your main concern, regardless of the direction of the weld. On very thin sheets, the whip motion also works downhill, so don’t be afraid to use this welding method.

Test Your Settings to Prevent Damage

As finding the appropriate technique takes a bit of practice, you can take a piece of sheet metal and test it until you get the right heat setting.

Only when you’re sure you won’t burn through the material can you stick weld on your auto body panels.

According to some professional welders, if you use 6011 welding rods on thin sheet metal, you will find that the optimum heat setting is about 80-90 amps. Beyond that, you’ll be more likely to damage the panel. In addition, always ensure you wear the proper safety gear and welding helmet.


As you can see, stick welding auto body parts is possible, but it requires great care and a certain amount of practice. Once you get a grasp of it, you’ll surely do a great job.

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