Paintless dent repair (PDR) is a repair technique that involves removing a dent from a vehicles’ bodywork. If the paintwork is still intact it is possible to fully remove most small dents and reshape the panel back to its original form without any fillers or paintwork.
Because there is no paintwork or filler involved there are some limitations to what damage can be repaired using PDR. When it is possible, PDR is the best repair option because it will keep the repair within the original manufacturers paint warranty and will avoid filler work and costly paint spray.
Most soft or shallow dents can be removed fully whether they are the size of a 5 pence piece or the diameter of a large dinner plate. Successful dent removal is dependent on the extent that the metal has stretched and also the available access to the area directly behind the dent.
Even if the metal has been stretched it may be possible to reduce the damage considerably using PDR techniques.
The most common dents repaired with PDR are often referred to as ‘parking’ dents or ‘trolley’ dents this is because a lot of damage is caused in carparks when one vehicle owner opens their car door and it collides with the adjacent parked vehicle.
Although small, these dents can de-value a vehicle considerably when it comes to its resale.
There are a couple of different repair methods commonly used depending on the area of the dent and the available access there is to the area directly behind the dent.
Using a variety of different shaped metal bars and rods, a skilled technician is able to remove the dent by massaging it out of the panel from the inside. The stretched metal is slowly manipulated back to its original form.
The other commonly used repair method is ‘glue pulling’ this is great for areas that do not allow easy access to the inside panels such as roof panels and rails. Specially designed plastic tabs are glued to the dent with a glue specifically designed for powerful adhesion but are still easily removable from the paintwork.
Although a dent will have an obvious ‘low spot’ where it has been pushed in there is nearly always a slight ‘high spot’ or ridge at least along one side or sometimes surrounding the dent. Often during the repair process high spots can also be caused whilst pushing out the dent and these are then ‘tapped’ back into shape.
Often on close inspection even original manufacturers paintwork can have very slight indentations often referred to as ‘the Orange peel’ effect as it is slightly pitted in appearance like the skin surrounding an Orange.
A skilled PDR technician is able to reshape the panel and ‘blend’ to match the original paint finish.