What you need to know about paintless dent repair

What you need to know about paintless dent repair


It's a fact of life that your car is going to pick up the occasional dent, especially if you live in a busy area where the risk of dings and knocks is increased. But there’s no need to panic: the paintless dent repair (PDR) method is an excellent way of removing dents and restoring a car’s bodywork, without having to fill up the dent and paint over it. PDR professionals use specialist equipment to restore dented bodywork, carefully pushing out the dent by massaging the affected panel from behind. This technique gets rid of the dent, while causing no damage to the paintwork.

PDR is often a preferable option to standard methods of dent repair. PDR tends to be more cost-effective and quicker than other forms of dent removal – you can be up and running again within a few hours, since you don’t need to wait for the paint to cure. The reason that PDR is cheaper is because there’s no need for a pricey panel replacement.

Paintless dent repair is suitable for small dents where there is no damage to the paintwork, such as that caused by a trolley, a bicycle or a car door hitting the vehicle in a car park. Damage from hailstones and rock chips can also be effectively repaired with the PDR technique.

Paintless dent repair also works excellent as part of a more comprehensive dent repair effort. PDR decreases the amount of filler that is required, while reducing the need for repainting.

How paintless dent repair (PDR) works

Paintless dent repair is a complex procedure which needs to be carried out by a professional with bags of experience. This is because an effective repair demands precise manipulation of the car’s metalwork, so that it can be returned to its original state. PDR often involves restoring the bodywork from the inside of the panel, gradually massaging out the dents using body picks and metal roads. The deeper the dent, the longer that the repair takes, and it may need to be done in multiple phases.

Technicians regularly utilize a reflective board, or fluorescent or light emitting diode (LED) lighting, as this helps to illuminate the affected area, making it easier to repair the dent.

How do technicians repair dents with the PDR method?

Let’s take a closer look at the tools which experts use to get in behind the body panel, which enables them to softly massage out the dents.

The kit used to make a complete PDR repair includes metal rods of various shapes and sizes, whale tails, wire tools, door hooks, black beauties, flat bars, window tools and tweakers. For maximum accuracy, technicians may also use light readers. Glue pulling kits are also helpful for removing the dent.

Experts keep this large collection of tools on hand because no two PDR jobs are the same, depending on the extent of the dent and where on the vehicle it is. That said, metal rods are nearly always a part of the repair work, as these are what help to return the bodywork to its initial shape. However, as the equipment needed to conduct a high-quality PDR are very expensive, it makes much more economical sense to hire the services of a trained professional.

Why paintless dent removal (PDR) is the best way to repair a dent

Here are a few key benefits of paintless dent repair, as a way of restoring your car’s bodywork:

  • It’s good value: Compared to other methods of dent removal, paintless dent repair is very cost effective. Not to mention, with no need for repainting, it’s a speedy form of repair, too.
  • No insurance claim necessary: The cost of PDR is typically cheaper than the insurance excess on your vehicle. Therefore, you won’t have to make a claim, which will keep your insurance premium as low as possible.
  • PDR does NOT cause discoloration: PDR does not affect the paintwork of your vehicle, so there’s no danger of the color or finish being altered following repair.
  • PDR works with nearly all dents: It doesn’t matter whether the dent is deep and large, or if it’s just a tiny knock – paintless dent repair will do the trick. However, PDR is best with large, shallow dents where the paintwork has not been damaged.
  • PDR helps maintain the market value of your vehicle: Generally, bodywork damage will significantly affect the resale value of a vehicle. However, the quality of PDR repair eliminates the damage and protects the car’s value. This is especially useful for older cars, where it tends to be harder to find the appropriate paint color or finish – PDR takes away this concern.
  • PDR is an excellent complement for more comprehensive repair: Paintless dent repair works wonders when conducting a bigger repair where repainting is unavoidable. In this case, PDR reduces the amount of sanding and filler needed while limiting the repainting required.
  • PDR is a popular repair technique with car manufacturers: The automobile world has embraced paintless dent repair, and the vast majority of manufacturers approve this technique for their vehicles

When you contact us for a paintless dent repair, our experts will first conduct a full assessment of the damage to your vehicle to determine whether PDR is the most appropriate method. Paintless dent repair is great for when the dent can be accessed from behind, and when the paintwork hasn’t cracked.

How complicated is it to carry out PDR?

PDR is certainly complex and is not a skill that can be learned overnight. This is why it’s best to get a professional to do it, rather than attempting to do so yourself, which could end up making matters worse, causing additional damage and leading to extra expense. For the average car owner, it does not make financial sense to purchase the metal rods, body picks and other equipment needed to massage the dent from the inside. And it’s not as simple as just pushing the dent back out – you cannot just stick your hand behind the panel!

To get to the surface of the dent from the inside, liners and several panels may have to be taken out. Moreover, very subtle adjustments have to be made to perform a successful PDR – push at the dent too hard and it could worsen the dent and potentially damage the paintwork.

How to perform PDR

Hopefully, the contents of this article have given you an understanding of what paintless dent repair is. Here’s a step-by-step guide of how a professional would carry out a PDR procedure.

1) Assess the dent

Before a dent can be repaired, it needs to be identified and thoroughly analyzed. The PDR professional will take a close look at the dent (or dent) which needs repairing and establish the best way to get behind the metal bodywork to fix it. After the technician has worked out how to remove the dent, they will settle on an area to begin the work.

Many technicians use a suction-mounted LED light to get a complete picture of the dent – bringing light to the dent is necessary even during the day. To make things easier, a technician will typically do the PDR out of sunlight, using only the artificial light of the LED.

2) Push out the dent

The repair man or woman will then get to work, using long metal rods which will fit nicely behind the layers of bodywork. These rods are able to get in between the panels so that there’s no need to remove the lining or panels to conduct the repair. Although depending on the location of the dent, some removal may be needed. The technician will then use the metal rods to carefully push the dents upwards, bringing the bodywork back to its original shape. The more severe the dent, the more repetitions may be required to completely flatten the dent. The location of the dent can also make things less or more awkward.

3) Even out the bodywork

The dent and the PDR work may slightly alter the thickness of the metal, meaning additional repair is needed before the job is finished. When the dent is pushed back out, the metal where the dent occurred may mushroom, resulting in a barely-visible ring. To get rid of this ring, the technician will normally tap the ring so that it falls in line with the rest of the bodywork, using a plastic ‘tap down tool’ and rubber mallet.

4) Polish the dent

After the dent has been repaired, the clear coat may still have some inconsistencies – this can be caused by when the dent happened, and by the PDR technique. To bring back the car’s paintwork to perfect condition, the expert may combine wet-sanding with high-speed polishing. This technique is the final step to a PDR repair, and will leave the clear coat as smooth as it was prior to the dent.

5) Repeat

On occasions, the process may need to be repeated to fully repair the dent. A PDR expert has all the patience in the world, and will not relent until the job is done.

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