What is Paintless Dent Repair (“PDR”)
Cars are likely subjects to dents and dings. Dents are no fun to get, range in magnitude, and are frustrating to see on a regular basis. Not to mention, some dents can even affect the value of your car! So, what is your best option for getting a dent fixed?
Before explaining Paintless Dent Repair (“PDR”), it would be beneficial to introduce other methods first so that there is a point of comparison. The following are two other methods have been known to be used to fix dents in cars:
- Auto Body Filler – filler comes in many different brand names and applications, but is essentially a plastic putty that is placed where a dent is located and shaped by hand to fill in the indentation. Then, using various techniques and sanding, the putty is expanded to cover the entire dent and is painted over as needed to match the car’s color. This method is often not the best solution due to its time-intensive nature, finicky look, and cost versus benefit. Overall, this method lays down a foundation as if to cover up an existing blemish without addressing the dent directly.
- Do-it-Yourself Tools – there are a myriad of tools available for purchase that claim to solve dents as if almost by magic. Turn on late night television, and you’re sure to see a few on infomercials. Similarly, the internet holds a number of techniques that involve normal household goods (e.g., a plunger, boiling water, compressed air, etc.) and adapts them to become dent removal tools. These methods offer varying results and may or may not be effective based upon user experience and application. In summary, these methods often attempt to fix a dent by focusing on the outer body of the car.
The aforementioned methods are both viable alternatives for fixing car dents; however, they have their limitations. PDR, on the hand, doesn’t apply the techniques from these traditional methods, and, instead, has the ability to restore your car body to a much more pristine condition. Additionally, PDR doesn’t require any chemicals and is often less expensive and more effective than alternative measures. It can also be used on a wide range of damages1.
PDR works by first assessing the location and the extent of the dent. This is critical because not all dents are created equal. To effectively complete PDR, a technician must gain access to all sides of the dent. As a result, the dent, itself, must be evaluated so that the technician understands the scope of how to access it. This may mean removing other parts of the auto body and related panels. Compare this to the previously mentioned traditional methods: PDR gains access to the back of the dent rather than addressing via a cover up or a frontal approach. This technique allows PDR to be more effective and more versatile in the long-run than its counterparts because it addresses the dent directly.
Once the technician has access to the dent, special tools are utilized to push the dent out and mold the body of the car back to its former shape. This process requires a skilled hand and attention to detail. Common tools used in this process include specially shaped and formed rods and hammers as well as specially modeled suction cups.
Once the technician is comfortable with the result of the PDR, they will reassemble any piece of the car body that may have needed to be removed and will perform any necessary clean up measures to make the car presentable and ready for the customer. Depending on the severity of the dent, PDR can vary in time to complete, but is often a less time-intensive process simply because it addresses the dent directly.
PDR is a great process that works on a wide array of dents and dings. It is a great method that involves no chemicals and can restore a car’s body to its almost original, pre-dent condition. So, when selecting a dent repair service, make sure you understand all of the alternatives available and select the option that best suits your car’s long-term needs.