For many people familiar with older techniques for auto body repair, paintless dent repair can often seem like snake oil. Traditional methods of auto body repair generally involved reshaping metal, adding filler, and ultimately priming and respraying entire body panels. These more serious techniques are still required for certain types of damage, but paintless dent repair is rapidly becoming the method of choice for situations where the existing paint has not been damaged. This makes it especially suitable for minor accidents or weather-related events such as hail damage.
This article will provide a brief overview of how paintless dent repair works and why it has become so popular.
What is Paintless Dent Repair?
Paintless dent repair (PDR) actually describes a wide variety of tools and techniques used to repair automotive panels without requiring filler or repainting. Paintless dent repair techniques are particularly desirable since they return body panels to their original state, with no evidence of a panel being repainted and no filler that can potentially fail later on. PDR is often cheaper as well, in part because paint preparation is such an expensive process.
One important thing to keep in mind that PDR has nothing in common with the cheap, consumer-grade tools commonly sold through infomercials. While these tools make many claims about their ease of use and efficacy, they do not compare to the corrections that can be done by a professional PDR technician using commercial grade tools. In many cases, they do not work at all.
When is Paintless Dent Repair Effective?
While PDR offers many, many benefits over traditional auto body repair, it is only suitable for use in specific circumstances. Since repairs are done without the need to repaint the panel, PDR can only be used in cases where the paint itself has not been damaged. Additionally, the metal must remain intact and uncreased. Creased metal will always result in paint damage and, more importantly, in these cases the panel itself has been damaged in a way that cannot be corrected. For this type of damage, traditional fill and repaint repairs are necessary.
What About Cost?
Lower repair costs are one of the largest advantages offered by paintless dent repair. In most cases, small dings can be repaired for less than $150. Repairing multiple dents and dings over a single panel is usually fairly inexpensive as well, and even repairs across an entire car tend to be significantly less than traditional auto body repair techniques. In cases where damage ranges in severity and is spread across multiple panels, the right choice may be a combination of traditional repair for areas where the paint has suffered damage and paintless dent repair on panels where it is viable.
While paintless dent repair may seem too good to be true, it is a well-established set of techniques performed by highly trained and skilled professionals. For cases where a vehicle's paint is intact, paintless dent repair is often the best possible repair choice.