Having car dents repaired doesn’t have to be a long, complicated, expensive process. Paintless dent repair is a quick, affordable way to effectively fix minor dents. Imperfections in the surface of the car body can be smoothed out without touching the paint job.
We’ve got answers to car owners’ most common questions about paintless dent removal. Find out how it works, what it can fix, and how much it costs.
What Is Paintless Dent Repair?
In the automotive industry, paintless dent repair is also called PDR. This non-invasive method removes small dents and is perfect for fixing body damage when the surface of the paint is still intact. Auto body technicians can use PDR to repair a wide variety of damage in both aluminum and steel body panels.
The main advantages of this technique are that it is quick, effective, and inexpensive. It also doesn’t require repainting the car and won’t hurt the factory paint finish. By not touching the original paint, paint-free dent repair helps maintain the car’s value.
What Can Paintless Dent Repair Fix?
PDR can be used to fix shallow dents, even for large dents up to a few inches in diameter, as long as there are no signs of paint damage. The usual applications include:
- Hail damage,
- Gravel, pebbles, and road debris damage,
- Parking accidents,
- Bumped car doors,
- Fender benders and minor collision repair,
- Bodylines damage,
- Dents and dings of varying sizes.
This dent removal technique can also be used as part of a process called ‘push to paint’ or ‘push to prep.’ In this case, a damaged panel is smoothed out using PDR before it is repainted. This helps decrease the amount of body filler needed to make the repair.
What Can’t Be Fixed with Paintless Dent Repair?
Not all damage can be fixed with this method. For example, it’s not recommended for scrapes abrasions which have ruined the surface of the paint. This is true for chipped, cracked, bubbling or peeling paint or minor paint scratches caused by shopping carts, rocks, or keys. If the paint finish has been compromised, touching up or repainting is necessary to protect the metal of the car body and prevent rust.
The success of dent repair depends on the quality of the paint currently on the car body and the extent of the impact. Deeper indents and pits, which have stretched the vehicle’s metal further, may require more invasive repair techniques.
How Does Paintless Dent Repair Work?
The paintless dent repair process is really an art; skilled professionals know that each vehicle dent responds differently to the tools of the trade. Sometimes body shop technicians must try a few different strategies to get the car body back in line and pre-damage condition.
Special tools used to pop out the dented metal are called tap downs or knockdowns, whale tails, fender rods, and pivot tips. They may also use a slide hammer, rubber hammer, and brace tools. First, working from the backside of the body panel, techs use these tools to push out the dent and bring the damaged area back to the right height. Then, they use special lights and reflecting boards to make sure that the repair is complete. The final result is a smooth surface all along the bodyline.
If the damage is too extensive and will require body filling, PDR can first be used to fix the dent as much as possible. Then, the technician will need to fill the remaining irregularities and create a smooth surface which is later sanded and painted. Clearly, this process requires more time and is more expensive when compared to simple paintless dent repair.
Handy car owners may want to try do-it-yourself dent repair, but we advise having this job done professionally. Without the proper tools and experience, it’s easy to back a minor dent much worse and even ruin the paint job. For example, pushing too hard can create high spots that can crack the car’s clear coat or paint layer.
How Much Does It Cost?
Though paintless dent repair is a cheap way to get good looking results, the price can vary a lot. For small dings, it may cost between $75 and $125. For larger damage that can be repaired, such as collision dents, it may cost between $150 and $450. Extensive hail damage covering large sections of the car can cost up to $2,500. This big difference in price varies depending on the following factors.
Extent of the Damage
The number of vehicle body panels which require dent repair – as well as the number of dents in any one panel – will influence the estimated cost.
Size of the Dent
In the auto industry, techs often use coins to describe the size of dent damage. Whether the impact visible is the diameter of a dime, nickel, quarter, or bigger, this helps us estimate the cost to fix it. Also, the depth of the indentation can impact repair costs.
Location of the Dent
The location of damage in terms of which body panel and where on the panel the dent is located is another important factor. Dents closer to the edge of the panel, for example, take more time to fix.
Is Paintless Dent Repair Covered by Insurance?
Yes. This type of car repair should be covered by your comprehensive car insurance or by the insurance policy of the at-fault party in a collision.
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Auto Body & Dent Repair Near You
Badell’s Collision is a proud member of the community here in Pennsylvania. For more than 16 years, our skilled team has provided top-quality vehicle repair services. Trust our family-owned auto body shop for all of your auto body, collision and dent repair needs. Visit our locations in Aston and Malvern, or use our simple online estimate form to learn more.