The internet is full of videos showing people removing dents from their car with inexpensive tools. It’s magical to watch the dent pop back out and make the car look like it never had a dent in the first place. After you’ve finished watching, you’re most likely asking the question “is paintless dent repair hard?”
Strictly speaking, no. Paintless dent repair isn’t hard, but it’s not as simple as it looks, either. Sometimes you can get lucky and pop out a dent using hot water or air, then use a tool or ice to make the metal flex back into place. However, if you wait too long to fix the dent, your chances of success are much lower due to metal memory.
The fact is, paintless dent repair can be more complex than it looks, especially if it’s in areas where body panels need to be removed. You need to buy good tools, and they can cost more than what a professional charges to repair multiple dents.
You’re better off going to a paintless dent repair shop and getting your dents repaired by a professional. The results are far better and the repairs are invisible. You’ll also avoid accidentally damaging your car further.
How hard is PDR?
On the surface, PDR doesn’t look difficult at all. The fact is, some kinds of dents are simple to resolve with PDR, while others require the ability and skill to take apart the interior and exterior of the vehicle.
A round dent in the door is likely to respond quickly and easily to a suction tool, but a crease or ripple takes more work to repair.
You can try to do PDR on your own with the help of YouTube videos, but you may find that it’s not as easy as it looks. A PDR technician has learned how to manipulate metal and make it respond to their efforts.
That is, the technician has developed a feel for how the metal reacts to pressure, they can repair it without affecting the paint of the car, and they have the right tools for the job.
Someone who makes doing something look easy is a sign of a good professional. They’ve developed their skillsets, have familiarity with their tools, and have an innate sense of how far metal and paint can be pushed without damage. The pro gets the job done quickly and makes your car look whole again without spending a lot of money.
Can PDR fix scratches?
Yes, PDR can fix scratches in paint as long as the paint itself isn’t damaged. This is partly due to the elastic qualities of automotive paint, and partly due to the self-healing properties of clear coat.
A final buffing may be necessary to blend the edges of the clear coat together, but the total amount of work needed to fix a scratch through PDR is much less labor-intensive than that of conventional scratch removal.
How long does paintless dent removal take?
The amount of time needed for PDR depends on the dent, its location, and its complexity. Some dents are easily popped out in minutes, such as a small round dent, while others are more labor intensive.
A shallow, round dent is the simplest type to repair. Provided the paint isn’t damaged, they will be resolved in a matter of minutes. If your car has been dented by hail and has multiple round dents, it can take a day or two to get all the damage reversed through PDR. However, this is far less time needed for conventional body repair that requires removing body panels.
Dents that are more complex or creased will require more time to repair. It takes about an hour for a PDR technician to repair an individual dent, and that’s not accounting for removal of anything that’s in the way of the dent. That is, if the dent is located in an area of the car that requires the removal of a door card or body part, it’s going to need more time to repair.
The best way to find out how long your car needs to be in the body shop is to come in and get an evaluation of the areas you want to be fixed. The PDR technician will evaluate the damage and let you know if it’s repairable through PDR, what you can expect from the process, and how long it will take to fix your car. Always remember that the information is estimated and it can take less or more time to repair the damage depending on what the tech encounters during the process.
How is paintless dent removal done?
Paintless dent removal is done using the correct technique to address the dent. The PDR technician has a number of tools and techniques at their disposal to get the job done right. They combine that with their understanding of how automotive paint functions and the properties of automotive sheet metal.
As previously mentioned, round dents are the easiest to repair. They can be popped out with a suction tool that doesn’t damage the paint, and won’t stress the sheet metal. The key is using the right amount of suction to bring the dent flush with the surface and make the car look smooth again. When a suction tool is used right, the car looks as if it had never been damaged.
Dents that are more complex, such as a ripple or crease, require the use of hammers and blocks to push the dent out. The technician may need to remove portions of the interior as these types of dents have to be worked on from the reverse. Once the obstructions are out of the way, the technician uses a chisel-like tool to gently work the indentation and get it level once again.
Care has to be taken at all times to prevent the metal from getting pushed out too far or overworked. When a car gets a dent, the sheet metal loses its structural integrity to a degree. The PDR technician has to use the right amount of force and pressure on the metal at all times in order to be effective. Personal experience and informed judgment enable the technician to get the job done right.
It’s a wise idea to get your car in for PDR as soon as you notice a dent. The dent stretches the metal and thins it out, but over time, it will harden from temperature fluctuations. The sooner you get your car fixed with PDR, the better the results will be.