Minor dents and dings on an otherwise pristine paint job can make us crazy. I mean, how many times do we check the same mark expecting it to heal itself?
And, let’s be honest, we love our body shops, but we don’t love the wait, the cost, or the invasive collision repair procedures.
We will look at paintless dent repair and decide if it’s more convenient than our car sitting at a shop for weeks (or months).
What tools are used in paintless dent repair?
You don’t need a full-on body shop to get rid of paintless dents. But, you will need a handful of specialized tools to take advantage of the ease of paintless dent repair.
Tapping style or hammer
Sometimes the dent is so small that really only you notice. And the kicker is, it takes a paint and body technician mere minutes to bend the metal back into place.
While cheap starter paintless dent repair kits are easy to find, we recommend starting with a quality company like Keco, Dent Craft, or A1. Starting out, a kit should have a small hammer or tapping tool that allows you to knock down high spots and waves on the outside of a damaged panel. You want to get rid of marks, so you will want to work carefully.
Glue Pulling style
Glue pulling uses specialty adhesives and plastic pulling tabs, which does exactly what it sounds like. PDR technicians attach the tabs to the damaged area and use slide hammers, mini lifters, or bridge pullers to manipulate the metal in a controlled way.
Sometimes using glue pulling is able to repair the damage to 100% alone, while other times it improves the damage and allows PDR rods to finish the details.
Although there are many cheaply made tools on the market, we highly recommend using high quality, affordable priced tools to do the job right the first time.
Car panels work like a shell for your vehicle, and sometimes coming at a dent from underneath is the best way to achieve a repair.
You will use the rod to slide underneath or behind the panel, cautiously push them against the minor dent, and press the metal back out.
What other materials are required for paintless dent repair?
Paintless dent repair kits and tool carts vary, and some people elect to buy each tool separately. Either way, it is good to know what’s out there.
- LED inspection light
- Isopropyl Alchohol
- Spray bottle
- Microfiber Towel
- Grease Pen (for circling damage)
- Variety of glue pull tabs
- Umbrella with suction cup (if working outside)
- Crease pull tabs
- PDR glue
Does paintless dent repair tool work?
Paintless dent repair has a success rate of around 95% and remains the simplest way to eliminate dents, dings, hail damage, and even minor collision damage.
If there are cracks or chips in your paint then even after a successful paintless dent repair, you will still see the damaged paint. At this point you may be able to polish out the scratches, touch up the scratches, or you may need to visit a collision center to have it re-painted.
A good rule to follow is that when you initially notice a dent, fix it ASAP to avoid it getting worse or rust setting in (if paint is damaged).
How do I use PDR tap down tool?
All you have to do is Google how to use a tap-down tool, and you will find a gazillion YouTube results.
Let’s take a look at the basic principle, though.
- You want to tap down on high spots while holding the tap down using one hand and the hammer.
- The hammers come in all types and varieties. You’re good to go as long as the weight and model are right with you.
- Use the hammer to tap down high spots into your panel.
Is paintless dent repair hard?
Paintless dent repair isn’t complex. But, its extremely tedious and takes quite a bit of time to master.
If you are a DIYer just know that the first several repairs you attempt may look worse than if you hadn’t attempted. We highly recommend working on a practice panel to hone in your skills.
It’s insanely expensive to take your vehicle to the body shop whenever a shopping cart gets frisky at the grocery store.
Paintless dent repair costs far less and only takes a couple of hours.
What are the qualifications for dentless dent repair?
- Vehicle Make. Different vehicles are more challenging or less challenging based on the wya they are designed.
- Year Model. Older year models will be more challenging as the metal can be much thicker.
- Damage location. A good rule of thumb is that if it is close to the edge of a panel, you may be out of luck as a beginner.
- Condition of the Panel. It’s always going to help if the panel is original. Re-painted panels make it much more difficult to predict the outcome. There may be bondo or poor paint on the panel.
- Condition of the Paint. Chipped, cracked, and damaged paint may need an autobody mechanic’s expertise.
A Few More Questions About Paintless Dent Repair
Does paintless dent repair really work?
PDR is a relatively new bodywork technique but is the best way to erase that ding or dent that is annoying you. All you need is a good access area to carefully massage out the imperfection.
You’re looking at an extremely high success rate. PDR is also less expensive, faster, and less invasive than traditional body work.
Does paintless dent repair fix scratches?
The act of Paintless Dent Repair does not fix scratches. However, most technicians are happy to go over your options for polishing or touch up.
Will paintless dent repair fix a dent in my bumper?
How much does paintless dent repair cost?
A professional PDR technician will charge anywhere between $100 up to several thousand depending on the damage. Pricing changes based on a number of factors.