To push or to pull, that is the question! Most people know that PDR stands for paintless dent repair. What many people don’t know is that there are three different methods of removing dents without paint: dent bars (push), glue puller and suction cups. Even though the most popular method of PDR is pushing a dent bar, there are situations where a glue puller may be more effective.
So how do you decide which method is best?
The most important factor when deciding whether your PDR job is a pull or a push is to accurately evaluate the damage. Understanding the difficulty of the dent, where it is located, plays a huge part in making the right decision.
You also need to know the advantages of each type of method to accurately assess what would serve you best.
Here are a few general comparisons to weigh out the pros and cons of Glue pulling vs pushing the dent out.
Glue Pulling Pro’s
Glue pulling gives you the option of pulling the dent and tapping down the crown at the same time. This can streamline the process and save you time.
However, the real-time saving jewel is NOT taking the car apart to get access to the dent. If you’re using a dent bar, you need access to the back of the dent. This requires some level of disassembling the car to gain access.
Ability to pull out strong dents
One plus to using a glue puller is that most of today’s glue manufacturers produce very strong glue. Normally, you don’t have a problem getting larger, stronger dents out.
Glue Pulling Cons
Glue pulling cannot remove ALL dents
Some dents (such as body line dents) are extremely resistant. In these cases, even with a strong glue, it may not be strong enough to repair the toughest types of dents.
Glue loses strength in hot temperatures
Another problem you can count on is the quality of bonding the glue has when the temperature is hot in your working environment. Once temperatures rise above 30 degrees Celsius you start losing its gripping power. The glue won’t fully Harden when it gets too hot.
Higher risk of damaging paint
Glue pulling has a much higher risk of damaging the car’s paint. This risk increases if there has already been some paint repair. If it’s a factory paint job it’s the most ideal situation with the lowest risk of disturbing the paint. Regardless, glue pulling can pull the paint right off the vehicle.
Push Bar Pros
A quicker process with clean access
Using a dent bar to push the dent out can be a much faster process when there’s nothing blocking access to the dent. The actual process of removing the dent with the dent bar is faster as one push can be the equivalent of several pulls.
More control over the damaged area
The dent bar is more precise. You have more control over the dent and where you’re applying the pressure. This is especially useful for micro lows where finer detail is needed when moving the metal.
Ability to adapt to the dent
To add to the control factor, you’re able to use different shaped, different sized tools as you work through the dent. In many situations, the dent can change shape. As the dent evolves you can change the shape of your tool according to what the situation demands.
Dent bar is not affected by hot weather
The temperature of your working environment makes no impact when using a dent bar. The truth is that heat allows the technician to work the metal with more ease. Heat also makes the paint less resistant to moving with the dent-so lowers the chances of cracking.
Cons of using a dent bar
Need clean access to the dent
Using a dent bar is only effective if you have the proper leverage from behind the dent. This means that you need clean access to the dent to get the job done right. Some dents may be obstructed by braces or frames which can affect the quality of your dent removal.
Leverage is required to effectively remove the dent
If the access to the dent is wide open with NO obstructions it can also work against you. To get a dent out you need the right leverage to push the tool against the dent. Every situation can change depending on the dent’s location and the type of vehicle it is.
Dent bar requires disassembling trim and parts
One of the largest aspects of time consumption is removing car parts to access the dent. It’s not just removing the trim but also replacing them as well when the job is done.
Risk of damaging the car during removing/replacing parts
The more parts that are involved in a PDR job, the more chances there of something going wrong. If you’re removing and replacing a lot of parts and pieces you run the risk of something breaking somewhere along the process.
How to accurately determine which method is better
To make the best decision for your vehicle, you need to accurately assess the damage and ask yourself the following questions.
What type of dent is it?
Make sure you understand the nature of the dent and will be needed to get the dent out completely. If the dent is too strong, glue pulling isn’t the right choice.
Are the conditions ideal for glue pulling?
If you’re outside on a hot day or inside without control of the ambient temperature, you may have trouble getting the glue to harden. In this case, glue pulling isn’t a viable option.
What’s your level of skill with each method?
Some people are good at pulling glue and some suck at it. Why risk pulling off the paint on a vehicle when you don’t have to? On the flip side, maybe you’re a glue-pulling wiz kid. And your push game isn’t so great. Choose the method that you know best for the situation that presents itself.
Do you know the car you’re working on?
If you know the car you’re working on, you may not have a downside to taking it apart. You won’t lose too much time and if you’re confidently reassembling the parts you lower your chances of making mistakes and breakages.
If you’re not sure about access to the dent you might consider glue. If you’re not sure about taking the car apart and putting it back together again then using the dent bar for PDR might put you in a tough situation.
What’s the most popular choice?
Most master technicians opt for a dent bar when the dent is more complex. A glue puller could save you a lot of time but when it comes to completely removing the dent, a dent bar offers much more flexibility and options on your strategy.
Not up to removing the dent yourself? That’s what we’re here for! Feel free to contact us anytime and book your appointment. Get the process started using our PDR Cost Calculator and we’ll get back to you as soon as humanly possible.