Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) is the process of manipulating metal back into its original shape. We use specialized tools and lighting to restore a car’s body back to it’s manufactured condition.
The Paintless Dent Repair process consists of three steps.
- First, we estimate the dents on a car’s body to understand the scope of work in addition to the tools & time needed. We translate that into a price & timeline for the customer.
- Second, we do the actual repairs based on what we’ve identified and scoped out. Every repair is different. But every repair involves planning and special considerations depending on the size & type of dents.
- Third, we deliver the repaired car back to the customer after quality assurance. Unlike collision center repairs, PDR customers get many benefits for their car’s value at delivery.
Here’s how each step of the dent repair process works.
Estimating dents comes in two parts – identifying the scope of the damage and then calculating the material, labor, expertise, and time to repair those dents to the customer’s goals and budget.
Identifying Dents & Damage
PDR can fix a surprisingly large range of damage. Identifying “fixable” dents is a critical part of the process and how a good PDR tech will excel over a poor PDR tech. Generally speaking, we can fix dents that are pea-sized up to an entire crushed door – if the paint is intact and the car isn’t structurally damaged.
Structurally damaged means that the integrity of the car’s body is no longer safe to use & operate. You can have a door that is very dented and the paint is still intact but the bracing that runs through the door is bent, that would not be a good candidate for Paintless Dent Repair. But, there are always exceptions & creative options for every repair. If you have a question if your dent is a good candidate the best thing is to call us and set up an appointment to bring it by the shop.
Creating an Estimate for Dent Repair
We pride ourselves in accurate cost estimates for your time & money. We also appreciate the time that it takes to call or email to even ask for an estimate.
Customers have a few options to balance convenience & accuracy for cost estimates. You can email us photos, and we can give you a ballpark estimate via those photos. The best-case scenario is that you come into the shop and we take a look at your dent in person, we can walk you through the repair process and show you what it takes to repair the dent. An in-person cost estimate will provide you the most accurate cost estimate, along with an understanding of how we plan to approach the repair.
If you do want to take photos and send them in for an estimate follow these steps:
- Please put a post-it note next to the dent.
- Take a photo from a few different angles, dead on, from the back and the front. Stand back about a foot from the dent.
- Let us know if a magnet sticks to the panel.
- Use our contact form and attach photos to the form.
Paintless Dent Repair is not only a technique, but also a defined system with discrete steps. A good PDR technician will always follow the process and will never do an ad hoc repair. A good process equals a consistent, quality repair.
Planning the Dent Repair
Dents can be fixed in MOST areas of a vehicle. Door dings, of course, are most common, hoods, roofs, quarter panels, your trunk, hatch or decklid, are almost always repairable.
These areas are mostly repaired by gaining access behind the panel. We will de-trim the panel, remove moldings, lights, fender liners, anything, and everything to gain access behind that panel.
Your roof rails, which is the area between the roof and your windows/doors are repairable with a different kind of repair called glue pulling.
We manipulate the metal by using the glue to reverse the damage and make the metal high instead of low, then we smooth it out by what we call blending with a special hammer and knockdown.
Sometimes we have to pull one dent hundreds of times with our glue made for this repair, over and over again to get the metal to the correct place. Any dent that has less access is going to take a lot longer to repair. We use glue to repair most dents when we don’t have access to the panel.
We use special lighting to help us understand, repair, and see damage that is not visible to the naked eye.
Accounting for Paint Damage with PDR
Paint damage is a case by case basis. Optimally you would not have cracked or chipped paint any damage with your dent. We work our dents off the reflection of the car, once the paint is cracked the reflection is gone and we can not get the metal back to the perfect condition.
Also, if the paint is cracked you risk the possibility of the car rusting. Rust is like cancer and spreads. There are cases where the paint is cracked very minimally and we can continue with the repair.
The best case is to swing your vehicle by and let us look at the work that needs to be done.
Repairing Creases with PDR
We can fix this! Don’t worry. A crease dent is usually a complex and difficult repair and in past days would have been sent to a body shop. With the advancement in our trade in the last five years, tools have evolved and these dents are becoming more and more repairable.
Our skilled repair techs have learned how to handle creases, and although they can be painstaking, it is usually a faster repair time, less invasive, and a way to preserve the value of your vehicle by using Bondo and repainting the entire door.
Quarter Panel Paintless Dent Repair
The quarter panel is in the rear of your car behind the door. This panel is a trick to gain access to, but it is repairable! Usually, we have to do what is called Remove and Install and we can gain access to remove the dent with our tools through the light. If this is not possible, there is also access through the rear wheel, removing the liner or we can glue pull.
Bumper & Plastic Dent Repair
Plastic dents are still repairable, but there are variables that go along with this… Plastic does not have a memory like metal but a lot of time we can use heat and tools to reverse this dent slowly. The paint may have fine lines, spider web cracked paint but this process can bring the plastic back to 80-95% with the fine lines still being there. Plastic has a better chance of coming back to its original shape if it is fixed very quickly after it was hit.
Repairing Dents on Car Molding
Yes. It is very common for molding to be dented, or cracked during hail damage. We see a lot of parts that crack or dent. Headlights, tail lights, spoilers, cowls, windshield, moldings, ¼ glasses. There are many parts of your car that can be damaged with hail and as we write a full estimate on your vehicle, we note and take photos of every part that was damaged for the insurance company. Changing these parts out or replacing them is part of the normal repair process.
Repairing Truck Beds with PDR
This is completely dependent on where the damage is located, the bedside is usually repairable depending on the damage, also the tailgate is repairable. In the bed itself, unfortunately, we can not. When the bed of your truck is damaged inside, we recommend one of two things… First, you can file an insurance claim and get it repaired at a conventional body shop, or second, you can put a coating in the bed of your truck, like Line-X. If you have a question about your truck bed, please let us know. Err on the side of asking us first!
Considerations for Boats, RVS, and Other Vehicles
This is absolutely dependent on the location of the damage. Hoods and doors are usually repairable with PDR and the rest of the vehicle is a case by case basis. Give us a call and let us know about your vehicle and we will determine if we are a good fit for repair.
Considerations for Sprinter Vans & Large Vehicles
Yes! This is a case by case basis. Sprinter vans are tricky to repair because we have a hard time with the larger panels, but we encourage you to come by the shop and we can take a look at your damage. Hoods, front doors, back doors, and some parts of the roof are relatively easy.
Delivering Your Car
Trained PDR technicians view car delivery as a step that is as important as planning & repairing the car.
Dent Repair Quality Assurance
Even though there are plenty of excellent solo PDR shops, quality assurance by separate team members is a critical part of our process.
Everyone on EZ Auto Spa’s team is trained on quality assurance, whether they actively pull dents or not.
Dent Repair Reporting & CarFax
One of the beautiful things about Paintless Dent Repair is that we are NOT mandated to report any damage. When you go to an auto body shop and use your insurance, or if the estimating software is a mandated reporter and they fix your vehicle, they have to report it.
With PDR you do not have to report because the car is not changing.
Paintless Dent Removal does not devalue your car like the body shop does because we are preserving the original panel and our repair process is minimally invasive.
However, we do believe that our customers have every right to understand exactly what has been repaired on their car. We carefully document every car and our PDR process so that our customers have a full report.
Customer Inspection & Delivery
The last step is the customer inspection & delivery. We work with every customer to establish a delivery schedule that works with their time and fits in their schedule. Whether it’s at an EZ Auto Spa location or at a customer’s house, we guide every customer through an inspection process to make sure they are completely satisfied with the results of the repair.
Alternative & DIY Paintless Dent Repair
Paintless Dent Repair has plenty of DIY enthusiasts empowered by books, YouTube tutorials, and educational websites. While we do encourageour customers to learn more about PDR, we also encourage our customers to understand both the long-term & short-term risks, value, and costs of DIY or alternative approaches to car repair.
PDR Kits & Home Hacks
At-home PDR kits are widely available on the Internet. But like any tool, it’s only as good as the skillset of the person using it. When you buy a repair from a trained & insured PDR tech, you aren’t just purchasing their tools and training, but also their judgement and experience built over hundreds or thousands of individual car repairs.
As for home hacks for repairing dents, they are the same as any other life hacks. At best, they might provide the illusion of a short-term fix. At worst, they will permanently damage your car or risk injury to yourself. We’ve seen & heard about nearly every hack from dry ice to toilet plungers and have yet to find any hack that would shorten or improve our process.
Unlicensed, Uninsured, or Untrained Techs
Unlike plumbers, electricians, doctors, lawyers, etc – Paintless Dent Repair does not require an occupational license from the State of Georgia.
There are several major industry certifications that customers can use to differentiate amateur PDR technicians from professional technicians. But, the law does not prohibit anyone from soliciting a dent repair job.
In fact, we’ve known many customers who have been approached in a parking lot and been told that a technician could fix your dent right then and there. At best, you’ll get a repair with major risk. Even if the technician does the repair, they may be underinsured and putting your car & finances at risk.
In fact, EZ Auto Spa (and most reputable PDR techs) personally knows all of our industry colleagues in North Georgia. Even if you don’t choose EZ Auto Spa for your repair, we can always confirm the reputation of a PDR tech.
We are here to help you always and if you have more questions about repairs, your vehicle, or anything else we can help with email us at email@example.com or call us at (888) 393-3687.