Paintless Dent Repair: The Truth, Myths, and Misconceptions

PDR, a better repair!

Let me first start by explaining what PDR or Paintless Dent Removal is for those of you who have never heard of the term. PDR is conceptually simple – simply put, it’s the process of removing damage from a car body panel without the need for sanding, grinding, body filling, or painting (hence the term paintless).

The process of removing damage to vehicles without painting them is actually not new at all, although popular industry tradition varies from tale to tale, Mercedes Benz reportedly started having “men of metal” work small imperfections. in panels while they were still on the assembly line. as early as the 1950s. Today’s PDR technicians have adapted various techniques to remove dents and dents from vehicles without the need for fillers and repaint almost like an art form. Better tools, training, and advancements in automotive clearcoat durability have led to miraculous results even for large dents.

Why can’t I just use a dent popper like the ones you see on TV?

Unfortunately, poppers, suction cups, and (this one makes me chuckle) dry ice just don’t work. First, let’s explore the “dent poppers.” You’ve probably seen Ding King’s late-night infomercials showing you how easy it is to just stick the lash in, put the lifter on the lash, and twist. POP MUSIC! The dent is gone! Right? Incorrect! the commercial never shows the big high point, the low point that remains or the sky prohibits the high point surrounding a low, or as I like to call them a “volcano”. The main reason this is a hack is missing tools and knowledge. Professional PDR technicians actually use a method to remove some selected teeth from the front of a panel with tabs, special adhesives, and a lifting device.

The main difference? The main assets of a technician are the eyes, the reflective source and the eye-hand coordination. a professional technician assesses the dent with a reflective source, be it a light, line board, or reflective post, and points to the “dead center” of the dent. Once located, the technician places a flange directly on this zero point and then uses a lifting device to bring the depressed metal as close to level as possible in one go. Once the pull has been made, the technician removes the tab and evaluates the area to determine the next course of action. Typically the area will require some work with a faucet device to level any area that has risen above grade. This process can continue for several tugs and taps until the area is as close to level as possible. Do-it-yourself doesn’t get a reflective source, touch, or train how to use each of these items, and in most cases makes the door, once small, a variable mess when you finally decide to pull the towel. . The suction cup is simply ineffective.

Very large and gradual damage may actually move with strong enough suction and may actually look somewhat better than the original dent, but it effectively “locks” the metal in place and distortions or buckles around the area that has not been successfully removed before. Addressing the major low areas of the dent is now cementing everything in place. The remaining item (and my favorite) dry ice and a hair dryer seems to get rave reviews on YouTube and the like. Unfortunately this once again does not address the buckles and only sometimes removes part of the dent.

The main drawback of this method is the process it uses. Dry ice or propellant from the “computer duster” will quickly cool the substrate and paint. Next, the hair dryer is used to quickly bring the panel temperature. above 150 degrees F. The rapid shrinkage and subsequent expansion of the substrate is what actually causes the dent to break, but what is happening at a much lower level is the paint damage. Paint is almost always microfractured, causing paint to crack, peel, and corrode. Much of this damage will not be seen for several months, when the elements have had time to break the fractures and make them worse.

One PDR company is just as good as another, right?

Not all dent companies are created equal and in fact let me expand on it by saying that not all pdr technicians are created equal. One of the main reasons for the boom in PDR business growth is the “claim to fame” or “gold rush” mentality. We’ve all seen the get-rich-quick commercials. Some very talented technicians have earned and still earn a living repairing teeth. However, most have moderate incomes that do not carry the bragging rights. All the Tom, Dick and Harry tired of their 9 to 5 job learn about the supposed 6 figure income earned by PDR technicians and head for two weeks of training at a misinformation factory like Ding King or Right Look and think they will settle down. the world on fire immediately after. In reality, they spend two (or even one) weeks learning little about real-world teeth and almost always pick up bad habits that will doom them to not being able to repair a dent properly.

The “Mills”, as they are affectionately called in the industry, also sell the aspiring technician a complete “package” with all the tools needed to repair any dent. Unfortunately, what they are really getting is the cheapest set of hangers made in China that you can buy for good money. The aspiring technician returns home after training and (after being told he is ready) begins to sell his service. The problem is that they often cannot see the dent properly to repair it and do not have the acquired skill to repair the smallest dent. The end result is a moderate improvement with high points throughout the dent and even cracked paint. The technician continues to be frustrated, trying to do better (or not if they don’t care enough about quality) or they will lower prices by justifying themselves that a lower quality repair is still worth something.

And even more so they will all throw in the towel together after making such a bad name that they can no longer find work. This increase in low-end “technicians” has led to the misconception that the PDR is an inferior repair process compared to a body shop. In fact, this conception is true when it comes to someone who performs such rude carnage. The general rule of thumb for a PROFESSIONAL paintless dent repair is that it should cost 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of a conventional auto body repair. Professional technicians have spent many hundreds, if not thousands, of hours perfecting their craft and they are no shortage. If you find yourself looking for the best deal (let’s face it, in this economy that doesn’t) be wary of a rock-bottom price. Most of the time, you’ll get what you pay for and end up wishing you paid a little more when the rust starts to show up where the dent was, due to the attack that cracked your vehicle’s paint!

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