You may have heard of paintless dent repair (PDR) for hail damage, but it can be used in some types of collision damage as well, saving time and money. What’s the difference between paintless repairs and traditional body repairs, and is it a good choice for your vehicle?
What is Paintless Dent Repair?
Paintless repair techniques bend metal back into shape without disturbing the paint. There are two main methods used to fix dents without disturbing the paint:
– Pushing out the dent from the back side of the body panel using a set of levers
– Pulling up on the dent from the front side of the body panel using a puller that attaches to glued-on pegs.
Is This Like Those “As Seen On TV” Suction Cups?
No. At best, these devices will pull on the panel and simply pop off. At worst, they’ll bend the panel, but not into anything resembling its original shape.
The metal used in body panels doesn’t have memory, so it won’t just pop back into its original shape. Instead, the metal must be carefully bent to return it to its original stamped shape. To remove a dent, the technician starts from the outside and works in, making several small adjustments to gradually bend the dent outward. Instead of a single pop, a puller will need to pull up on the panel multiple times across the area to reshape the dented metal. Likewise, the lever method requires constant circular pressure over several minutes to reshape the panel.
What are the Advantages of PDR?
Traditional body repair requires the replacement of damaged parts or straightening methods that connect tools directly to the bare metal. That means the panel must be repainted, which is a labor and material-intensive process. With PDR, prep time and finishing are minimized, which means major cost and time savings.
When Can Paintless Dent Repair Be Used on My Car?
Obviously, the paint needs to still cover the area that was dented. However, paintless methods may still be used on areas that will need a respray. Here’s what the technicians who inspect your vehicle will be looking for to tell if PDR is an option:
Paintless techniques work best for shallow dents on wide surfaces. This makes them ideal for fixing hail dents on hoods and roofs, but these techniques can’t be used to repair dents near the corners of body panels. When using the lever method, there needs to be easy access to the back side of the panel.
Sometimes, the panel needs to be heated to bend it back into shape. Steel body panels will almost always need to be repainted, as the high heat needed to soften the metal will destroy the existing paint. Aluminum body panels require less heat to bend, so sometimes the paint can be saved.
Paintless repairs can’t fix the metal itself. If the panel is gouged or stretched, more intensive repair methods will be needed.
The paint needs to be flexible. Newer paint formulations are more forgiving, and new paint is more elastic than old paint. If you have an old car with the original paint, that paint may crack as the panel is bent.
Is Paintless Dent Repair Just for Hail?
If the dents are shallow enough and far enough away from body seams, PDR can be used no matter what caused the damage. Even if your car was involved in a major collision, PDR can be used to repair areas of mild damage, cutting the overall repair time for the vehicle.
Where Can I Get Quality Collision Repair?
Merton Auto Body is an I-CAR Gold Class certified shop, which means our technicians always have the latest training to get your car back on the road as quickly as possible. If you need collision repair in Waukesha county, we’re just a short drive away, whether you’re in Pewaukee, Delafield, Oconomowoc or anywhere else near the Lake Country area.