Don’t assume that a ding or dent will necessarily cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to fix. Paintless dent repair (PDR) or paintless dent removal involves many techniques to get rid of minor body flaws. You can quickly and cheaply repair a number of surface issues, but keep one rule in mind-it’s called “paintless” for a reason. If damage has been done to the actual paint beyond something so small that it can be buffed out, PDR probably isn’t for you. However, if you notice door dings and other flaws to the body but the paint seems intact, PDR might just be your white knight.
Most often, body shop professionals use PDR for hail damage, small creases and door dings. Even bumper indents can sometimes be fixed with this process. Paintless dent repair services can be used to prep a panel for the refinishing that’s about to take place-this is dubbed “push to paint.” It all depends on how flexible the paint is (newer car paint work best) and the stretching capacity of the metal. The smaller the damage the greater the odds PDR will work, but even some seemingly massive issues may be a good match.
Method to the Madness
It might seem magical, but PDR has been in America since 1983 when it was brought here by Natalio Balderrama of Europe’s Dent Wizard International. Today, there are a variety of methods available, including using body picks and metal rods to move dents outward from the inside or from under the panel. Tabs and glue might also be used to pull dents out. Metal might be shrunk or high spots tapped down, too. This method is suitable for steel or aluminum, and reputable technicians flawlessly blend areas with the exact paint color and texture.
If the damage ends up being too severe, push to paint can come into play. This requires pushing most of the metal up, which can save you time and money. The majority of the time, paint won’t chip or crack with these two methods. However, if the paint is just in too bad of shape, too old or if it’s too cold, not even the best mechanic can stop cracking from happening. A quality mechanic won’t take the gamble if there’s any doubt.
Honing the Skills
Technicians use LED or fluorescent lighting to see the exact deformation. This process helps them properly push up the metal. This is an incredible skill that requires a professional to push just the right amount in the right place. A special tool called a PDR reflector board is used, but it still requires years for a technician to learn these PDR skills.
Like most things in life, trial and error comes into play. An unskilled technician can do more harm than good, which is why it’s crucial to only go to a shop with proven experience and success. When getting an auto body repair estimate, be sure to ask who the technician is, how long they’ve been doing PDR and their success rate.