PDR, which stands for paintless dent repair, is a relatively new process for removing dents from your vehicle, in a fraction of the cost of a body shop. You can completely restore any door dings, minor dent, large dent and hail damage done to your vehicle, back to its original condition.
This process has taken the sting out of paying a body shop for car repair. The process does not involve any bodywork, repainting or replacement parts. By simply working the dent slowly back to its former shape, it’s possible to completely fix any area that still hasn’t been perforated or punctured.
The PDR process can be broken down into the following stages:
- Finishing Touches
Not all dents are created equal. In order for PDR to work effectively, a technician needs to assess whether the damage is within the scope of repair.
Small dents are easily repaired providing the paint surface has not been damaged.
Larger dents can also be reversed if the metal has not been over stretched and the paint is still intact.
Creased dents can be repaired as long as the crease is not too deep, and the paint and metal can be reshaped back to its former condition. There are of course ways to get around instances of chipped paint and odd-shaped dents, which is the reason for the assessment.
The estimate is based on the following: A technician will base their pricing on the severity of the dent, the accessibility to the dent, the tools needed to perform the repair and the time it will take to complete the job.
Small dents are more often estimated to be within an hour of repair time. Larger dents can be in the area of approximately three to six hours.
Hail damage can be a much more involved process depending on the number of dents caused by hail. It is not uncommon for hail repair to take three days to completely restored a vehicle.
When the agreement is made to repair the damage, the technician will follow what’s known in the industry as the repair plan. This is tentatively created when the assessment is made and an estimate is given.
The repair plan is a detailed outline of the best possible method of repair. The plan is based on the accessibility of the dent, the tools necessary to perform the repair and the finishing touches that would be required before the vehicle is returned.
The tools used in PDR vary with every job. The three options used by technicians are dent pullers, steel rods and hammer and tap down. The technician’s selection of which tool to use is based on what will be the most effective in reversing the dent and which method will render the damage undetectable on completion of the process.
At Magic Dent Repair, we do not recommend the use of suction cups for dent repairs. This method of dent removal has been notoriously seen on infomercials and sold as dent removal kits. The suction method can literally pull up to 120 pounds of pressure making it ideal for many different types of dents repair in a body shop.
Make no mistake, as simple as this process may sound, the application requires the skill of a trained technician. If this method is applied incorrectly, there is the risk of incurring additional damage to the vehicle.
This method of dent removal is exactly how it sounds. A dent can be pulled back to its former state with the use of a special type of glue sticks and lifting tools that allow the technician to grab on to the dent and pull from the outside of the panel.
A fast-drying glue stick is heated with a glue gun and applied to a glue tab, then applied to the dent. Once the glue dries the technician will attach a lifter (mini lifter), which will allow for a firm grip on the dent. The dent is worked out by pulling gently and reworking that area to the original condition it was in before the damage.
Although the glue is extremely strong, the glue dissolves quite easily by spraying an alcohol-based solution around the area. The glue is then cleaned off entirety to complete the dent pulling process.
This method requires the technician to access the dent from behind the panel where the damage occurred. The technician will have a collection of specialty tools that take on a multitude of different shapes. Each tool is shaped accordingly.
A skilled technician will then apply the right amount of pressure to gently push the dent out, gradually shaping the metal back to its unaltered state before the damage.
When applying this method it is not uncommon to use heat in these areas to prevent the paint from cracking.
Hammer and tap down
In many cases, the technician will be required to “tap down high spots” or “crowns” in the repair area. Crowns and high spots occur toward the outer areas of the dent and is a common feature based on how the metal reacts to sudden impact when the dent occurs.
Tapping these areas down will alleviate the pressure that is holding the dent in place and create a smaller surface area of the actual dent.
The tools use to tap down crowns and high points are hammers and tap down tips.
A technician is able to see the slightest amount of distortion using a dent light. This type of light projects a mirror image of the dent onto the surface of the repair panel and creates a ripple effect.
This allows measurable dent estimation and makes the removal process extremely precise. Most dents that qualify for PDR are basically undetectable after undergoing the process because of the level of detail the dent light can detect.
Once the dent has been restored and the area matches the rest of the body of the vehicle, there might be some light sanding and touch-ups. In many cases this is not necessary, however, it all depends on the severity of the dent.
Paintless dent removal is a preferred method for insurance companies, body shops, car dealerships, retail customers and retail customers.
This alternative solution for dent removal can save hundreds of dollars for every occurrence. The process is inexpensive, fast and completely eliminates all signs of any damage, making your vehicle appear as if nothing ever even happened.
Learn how to remove a dent from the door panel in a case study on a 2018 Ford Mustang.