If you have a minor dent or ding, you may be eligible for a more substantial discount on your vehicle repair than you might have expected. The best-kept secret of automotive dealerships, rental agencies, and body shops since the mid-1980s, paintless dent repair may be right for your vehicle's outer shell reconditioning. The best way to find out is by sending a few images to a certified Paintless Dent Repair technician.
What is Paintless Dent Repair?
Paintless Dent Repair is the science of removing dents by pushing or pulling on the factory finish, leaving the vehicle in its original state before the damage. This process stands in stark contrast to a body shop that uses fillers and paints to achieve the same results. An analogy from the medical field would be the difference of a 30-minute chiropractor visit versus undergoing surgery to relieve back pain. Both remedies produce the same results, but the long-term effects of the later could be more damaging to your body's longevity. If done professionally, one can expect virtually perfect results with Paintless Dent Repair, at a fraction of the cost of a body shop. Essentially, this science, also known as dentology, removes minor pressure blemishes from a vehicle's outer surface, using leverage from behind the dent.
Can I fix a Dent Myself?
Contrary to popular belief and the myriad of youtube videos, dents do not just "pop" out. Dry ice, blow dryers and suction cups are not methods of genuinely fixing a dent: the aftermath is often far worse than if the damage were left alone in the first place. Paintless Dent Repair is not a DIY project: logically it makes perfect sense to push a dent from behind randomly; however, the reality is far from what you might suspect. Ask us to see the hundreds of images we have where customers attempted to repair vehicles themselves, its a mixture of comedy and sadness; DIY almost always makes the damage worse, and in some cases preventing a successful paintless dent repair.
There are three main ways that the PDR Process works and how this process might affect your dent repair and its price. Automobiles are comprised of metal rather than Bondo, fiber fillers, and questionable aftermarket paints: regardless of how amazing a body shop job may appear for the first year, there is a reason that painted vehicles lose value at auto auctions, and placed into a negative category within Carfax. In a nutshell, cars are manufactured out of metal, and paintless dent repair keeps them that way: saving you money for the trade-in value.
How Does Paintless Dent Repair Work?
1. Direct leverage. Gaining access to the metal with direct force on the dent, from behind. This can be done behind your factory bracing, through sound dampening pad, and on body lines for a minor uncharge. This method traditionally requires the creation of access, which will be plugged and rust proofed once the job is complete. PDR is the preferred method of Dealerships and Auto Auctions because it doesn't cost as much and it's typically a faster repair for the technician.
2. Indirect leverage. Gaining access within the recess of a panel and using a bridge to affect the surface or skin of your vehicle. Typically this requires the removal and reinstallation of factory parts, such as inner door trim, headliners, or anything that might prevent access to the outer shell from behind.
3. Glue pulling. The process of pulling the surface of the damage with specially formulated hotmelt glue in conjunction with hardened plastic or metal tabs. Necessarily, the tech will choose the appropriate tab, type of glue, temperature of the glue, all based upon the climate, temperature, location, and type of alloys within each panel. Once the glue and tab are attached to the surface of the metal it is either lifted with a slide-hammer or a mini-lifter. Typically, a slide hammer shocks the metal with a very strict upward jab, while a mini-lifter provides more direct and slower progress upwards. In the hands of a professional, this process is excellent for areas that cannot be reached with other methods.