Paintless Dent Removal (PDR), The Body Shop Alternative

by Don Elliott on March 29, 2012

Not all dents are created equal. Parking a little too close to the kid’s game can leave an unsightly baseball shaped dent. Errant grocery carts change a smooth door into a door with a depressing depression. Mother Nature can sprinkle your car with haPaintless Dent Removalil leaving more dimples than there is on Tiger Wood’s golf ball. One easy and not so expensive solution to fixing some dents and dings is paintless dent removal.

The secret behind paintless dent removal, commonly known as PDR, is the metal memory. Both steel and aluminum tend to want to return to their original shape. Trained technicians using an array of special tools massage the metal from the inside of the panel to return it to its original shape.

Paintless dent removal services have several advantages over more traditional body repair services:

  • The paint is not “broken.” Paintless dent removal services maintain the continuity of the factory-applied finish, assuring the best long-lasting results for dent removal.
  • Original equipment parts remain in place including hinges, factory welds and seals, all areas where rust and corrosion can create problems.
  • Paint matching, clear coats, and faded finishes are not an issue.
  • Paintless dent removal services do not involve any chemicals, solvents, welding, or excessive heat. This makes it a “green” repair process.
  • Costs to perform a paintless dent removal are considerably less than traditional fill and paint techniques.
  • Fixing dents without bodywork maintains your used car value.

Not all dents can be repaired with paintless dent removal services. If the metal is creased or near the edge of a panel, the technician cannot get a clean repair. The dented area cannot have been previously painted or repaired. The size and depth of the dent can also be an issue. Metal has a memory, but if it is stretched beyond certain limits it cannot rebound completely.

Most car dealers and automotive repair shops offer paintless dent removal services. Detailers and auto auctions also provide paintless dent removal services. Most paintless dent removal companies act as sublet services to a variety of repair facilities. They also provide paintless dent removal services directly to consumers, often as a mobile service in your driveway or in the parking lot at work.

Get a quote from the technician performing the repair before agreeing to the service. As noted above, not all dents are created equally. A simple single dent in a door panel could cost as little as $75 to remove. Significant hail damage on the hood, roof, and trunk lid could cost $1,000 or more. However, this cost is still significantly less than a body shop would need to charge to fix the same damage.

Finally, even though paintless dent removal would appear to be a simple repair process, the skill of the technician is very important. Paintless dent removal tools in the wrong hands can do more harm than good to your car’s sheet metal.


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