Many dents and dings can now be repaired without a trace, when the work is performed by a skilled technician. And techniques have developed to the point that dings can be removed with the original paint in place.
Paintless dent removal (PDR) has become widely used over the past decade by car dealers, rental agencies and auctions to prepare vehicles for resale. Yet very few consumers are aware the process exists.
Paintless Dent Repair
Specially fabricated tools and techniques for PDR have been
developed to remove dents, often up to the size of a football, from
almost any body panel of a vehicle. No sanding, body filler or
repainting is necessary. In most cases, when the process is
complete the dent is no longer visible.
PDR is becoming more widely used, because the size of dent that can be repaired has increased over the last few years.
The widespread use of high-strength metal and resilient paint finishes has allowed PDR to become a viable alternative to traditional body repair techniques. In fact, some insurance companies will even waive the deductible if PDR is chosen over more traditional techniques.
What Can Be Fixed?
Limiting factors for a successful repair using PDR include the flexibility of the paint, and the amount the metal has been stretched by the damage incurred. Generally, the more shallow the dent, the greater the chance of paintless dent repair being a suitable option. Even dents with a several-inch diameter can be repairable with this method, as long as the dent is shallow and uncreased. Hence, often extremely sharp dents and creases may not be repairable - at least not without painting afterwards, although a very skilled master tech may surprise one with what he can get out.
Paintless dent repair is very effective for the following situations:
from very small to large dents;
generally 1990 model year and newer vehicles;
the paint has not been broken or cracked;
the dent is not near the edge of a panel;
the panel has not had previous body repair.
Admittedly, not all damage to the body of a vehicle can be repaired with PDR techniques, but if a dent cannot be removed completely, often the repair will make the damage almost unnoticeable.
REPAIRABLE DENT NON-REPAIRABLE DENT
Advantages of Paintless Dent Repair
A number of advantages for paintless dent repair include:
no repainting or body filler needed;
less expensive than traditional body repair;
same-day service in most cases;
no risk of paint overspray on other vehicle areas;
no risk of incorrect color matching;
vehicle retains original paint.
A vehicle with original paint retains a higher value than a repainted vehicle. Even if it is just a door or a fender, it is always preferable to maintain the original paint on a vehicle for as long as possible.
How Is It Done?
PDR technicians use specialized tools to push the metal back into its original shape from behind the dent. Depending on the location of the damage, the panel is accessed by removing trim pieces, through window openings or by removing inner panels.
In a typical dent removal, the metal around the outside edge of the dent in slowly massaged back into its original position. The dent becomes progressively smaller as the technician works from the outside edge; eventually the dent becomes so small it blends with the texture of the paint and disappears completely.
The most common methods of paintless dent repair utilize metal rods and body picks to push the dents out from the under side of the body panel. Additionally, glue and a specially designed tab may be used from the outside of the panel to pull the dents out. In either case, fine-tuning of the repair often involves "tapping" down the repair to remove small high spots , or shrink the metal, making the surface flat. Paintless Dent Repair may be used on both aluminum and steel panels.
Most repairs can be completed in a few hours, and prices vary depending on the location and complexity of the repair. PDR stays very competitive when compared with the cost of several hundred dollars to repair and repaint a single dent using traditional auto body repair techniques.