No, You Are Not Painting Over Your Dent Cheaper | Think, Grow, Educate PDR
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No, You Are Not Painting Over Your Dent Cheaper

Not-Getting-Painted-Cheaper"Perhaps your value structure needs some serious retooling. Perhaps what you want is blinding you to what else could be. Perhaps you are holding on to your desires, in the present, so tightly that you cannot see anything else—even what you truly need." Jordan Peterson

Attempting to compare a repaint to a paintless dent repairs value is no contest, it's not even the same sport. Repainting a vehicle is never cheaper than getting a paintless dent repair, even if the body shop quote is cheaper. Luxury items, like getting a minor dent repaired on a car by highly skilled artisans, don’t fall into the typical commodity category either, because there are varying skill levels with very different results. Like hiring a portrait painter, you can get a cheap stick figure drawn in pencil or a detailed oil painting — the prices will differ. So when looking for a paintless dent repair, choosing the right person for the repair is more important than a price point. 

The Marshmallow Test

In the 1970s, Stanford University did a delayed gratification study led by psychologist Walter Mischel. The test was simple, offer a child one single marshmallow to be eaten now or if the child could wait for fifteen minutes, they could have substantially more marshmallows later. The children in the test who had the willpower to wait grew up to have significantly better lives measured by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index, and many other life measures. In essence, good things do come to those who wait.

Placing Cost Over Results

The fallacy of placing cost over actual results, sidesteps the most profitable aspect of any monetary exchange, by placing cost over what the repair will look like when it's completed. 

It is possible to lose sight of the entire purpose of the inquiry and focus on money alone. Which in all honesty, is a very natural and logical response, given the limited knowledge of the automotive industry and the technical skills involved. Given a choice between a fast cheap repair now, some will always choose the marshmallow now, over a multitude of marshmallows tomorrow.

CarFax: The Hidden Cost Of A Repaint


A vehicle's value is significantly affected by its permanent report card — CarFax. A little dent or ding on the surface of an auto body, can and will cost you far more than the original price of a repair. 

Body Shops cannot paint a single panel alone, if they did, it would stand out like a sore thumb. The human eye perceives more than seven million colors, a slight shade change from one panel to the next, is very noticeable, almost comical. To combat this problem, body shops use a method known as “blending”. That is, the panel with the dent will be repainted and all adjacent panels also. 

When viewing a CarFax, every panel that was blended into goes into the system as damaged. It doesn’t appear that you had a single small dent on one panel, now it looks like the entire side of the vehicle was involved in a collision. This is why a repaint, hurts the value of your vehicle so astronomically. 

Not Double Jeopardy, Four-Fold Jeopardy

So why not just get it done even cheaper and avoid reporting to CarFax altogether? If you manage to get a repair that is not on Carfax, the vehicle will be scanned with a depth gauge on resale. It will be discovered that the vehicle has an unsafe, unreported repair. The vehicle is now effectively worthless until its properly repaired in a certified body shop and documented. The unreported repair cost, the reported repair cost, the loss of value due to CarFax, plus increased insurance premiums, equals four-fold jeopardy.  

Value vs. Price


A general manager of a dealership would choose a one thousand dollar paintless dent repair over a free paint repair. Why? Because the loss of value in the vehicle far outweighs anything resembling equal value for the repair types. Paintless Dent Repair is a massage and auto bodywork is open back surgery: no contest, different sports.

Dealerships, auto-auctions, auto rental agencies, or any entity that rely primarily on vehicle values, ask two primary questions: First, what will the paintless dent repair look like, once it's complete? Second, how long will the repair take? Retail customers tend to ask more commodity-based questions like, “What is the cheapest and fastest?”. The question sets the bar: the lowest price point, no regard for results. This has a cascading loss effect: 

  1. They lose out on a repair they can live with.
  2. They lose money, that could have been applied to a quality repair.  
  3. They lose time, which would have been better spent waiting for a quality repair. 
  4. They lose the value of vehicle with a negative CarFax

Repainting a vehicle is never cheaper than getting a paintless dent repair, even if the painting is cheaper.