The answer to the above question depends on how you define cheaper. Paintless dent repair (PDR) is often the cheapest option for fixing a dent in your car, truck, or other vehicle.
That’s because you don’t have to use expensive materials, like paint. Nor do you need to perform a lot of complicated activities, like cutting out and replacing metal, or swapping in new panels. This helps keep costs low.
However, paintless dent repair can cost several hundred dollars. In some cases, costs might even surge into thousands of dollars. Still, there’s an important caveat: even if the repairs cost $600 or $1,200 or whatever, PDR may still be the cheapest option available.
There are some situations, however, when PDR will not be the cheapest or most affordable option. We’ll take a look at those situations later.
Ultimately, paintless dent repair can cost less than $100. Or, it can cost more than $1000. Many different factors will impact the final cost of the dent repair. Let’s take a look at some of these factors.
The Deeper the Dent, the Deeper the Hole in Your Wallet
The depth of the dent often impacts the price of the paintless dent repair. All other things equal, deeper dents are harder to pull out and smooth over. The more work, generally speaking, the more your final bill will be as labor is one of the biggest costs with dent repair.
Further, the deeper the dent, the more likely it is that the paint was damaged. If the paint was damaged, you may need to repaint it or else your vehicle could rust. Of course, once paint is brought into the picture, it’s no longer “paintless” dent repair. Regardless, the point still stands: damaged paint means higher costs.
The Shape of the Dent Will Also Impact Repair Costs
Along with depth, the shape of the dent could also impact how difficult it is to pop out. The difficulty, in turn, will determine how much it costs to repair the dent. Why does the shape of the dent impact the difficulty of popping it out? Honestly, that’d require some rather nuanced physics lessons.
Suffice to say, certain dents are more resistant to being popped out. The structure of the dent itself will require more force to be applied. If you think of a truss in a house, the design of the truss can impact its strength. Similarly, the shape of the dent can impact its strength and resistance to being popped out.
Where Did the Dent Occur?
One of the biggest factors impacting the final price for paintless dent repair is where the damage occurred. If the dent is in a relatively flat panel, it’s often easy to quickly pop it out. Less labor means a smaller bill.
On the other hand, if the dent is in a sharp ridge line, it’s often more difficult to pop it out. This means the paintless dent repair technicians will have their work cut out for them. The more time they have to spend fixing the dent, the higher the final bill.
How Many Dents Are There?
So far, we’ve focused on the individual properties of singular dents. These are important considerations, but the quantity of dents is also important. If your vehicle has suffered a lot of dents, it may be easier and cheaper to simply replace the relevant panels.
Unfortunately, hail damage is a serious risk for cars, trucks, and other vehicles. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were more than 3,700 major hailstorms in 2021 and each year, insurers pay out between $8 to $14 billion in damages. From 2000 to 2013, hail caused $54 billion in damages and resulted in nearly 9 million claims.
In other words, hail storms are a serious issue. And much of the damage caused by hail comes in the form of dents. Check out a car that was parked outside during a severe hail storm and you might find many dozens of small dents.
In this case, it might be possible to repair most of the dents with paintless dent repair. However, doing so could be prohibitively expensive. Car insurance companies will regularly write off cars that suffered hail damage because it’s cheaper than actually repairing the damage.
Hail storms are one of the most common causes of high quantities of dents. However, other situations too could result in a lot of dents. If there are too many dents, PDR may not be an economically wise option.
How About Multiple Dents on a Single Panel?
Hail storms and other situations could result in a lot of dents across your whole vehicle. In some cases, the vehicle may end up “totaled” even if it runs fine.
Other situations may produce a lot of dents, but not dents across the entire vehicle. Still, if there are a lot of dents on a panel, say the car door or hood, it may be better to simply replace it.
For better or worse, there’s no one-size fits all solution for repairing dents. You’ll want to take your vehicle to a reputable, experienced auto body repair shop. There, the technicians can advise you on the best course of action.
So Is Paintless Dent Repair Cheaper?
Generally speaking, paintless dent repair is the most affordable option for repairing many dents. That said, in some cases, another treatment method may actually be more financially reasonable. It’s smart to get quotes for various services and to talk with autobody repair experts about what the best approach is. The right approach for fixing dents on one vehicle or dent may be different from another.
Paintless Dent Repair FAQs
Is Paintless Dent Removal Any Good?
Absolutely! Paintless dent repair is not only the most affordable option in many cases, but it may actually produce the best result and the fewest hassles. PDR can’t address every issue, however, like deep scratches that have exposed metal.
How Do You Compare Exterior Repair Options?
It’s best to start by looking at the dents themselves, including how deep and big they are. You also need to examine the location and shape, as these factors could impact the ease of pulling the dent out, and thus the cost. The same is true with quantity. If there are a lot of dents, replacing panels may be a better choice than PDR.
How Much Does PDR Cost?
By now, you may already know that paintless dent repair is often the most affordable option. But just how much should you expect to pay? Generally speaking, each dent will cost between $125 to $300 to repair. Smaller, simple dents may cost a bit less. Large, extensive, and complicated-to-treat dents could cost quite a bit more.
If you want to know the exact costs, it’s smart to bring your vehicle to an auto body repair shop. There, the technicians and experts on hand can help you understand repair costs and what the best next steps are.
Can PDR be Performed at Home?
You can buy cheap PDR kits online. However, these kits often aren’t up to the task of resolving major dents. Worse, if misused, they could end up damaging your car, causing scratches and other problems. As such, be careful when using at-home PDR kits.