Dent Repair Basics for Students Enrolled in Auto Body Repair Courses
For as long as we’ve used cars as our primary mode of transportation, people have placed a lot of importance on the condition of their vehicle’s finish, as well as protecting it from dents and other damage. But any number of things—from small (or large) potholes, to gravel, to hail—can cause dings and dents, and several methods of repairing such dents have emerged as a result.
Some traditional methods involve filling dents with paint or auto body filler; however, these don’t provide long-term results, since the actual damage is still there. Paintless dent repair has become the most popular technique for small-to-medium -sized dents. This is mainly because it is fast and doesn’t require spraying a vehicle with an expensive coat of paint.
If you’re planning to pursue an auto body career, read on to learn more about the history of paintless dent repair.
From Germany to North America: A Brief History of Paintless Dent Repair
Although paintless dent repair has been popular in North America since the early 1980’s, its origins actually date back another 30 years or so.
Well before paintless dent repair was taught in car body repair courses, workers at the Mercedes Benz factory in Germany were said to initially use tablespoons to correct minor vehicle dents. By placing their thumb in the spoon, workers were able to push dents out of car panels, easily smoothing the surface.
Since then, major advancements have been made in paintless dent repair techniques. The standard materials used for building car bodies has changed, and now that many vehicles are made from thinner steel, modern tools have been developed to improve the overall precision of paintless dent repair.
Auto Body Repair Courses Teach Students to Assess and Fix Dents
The first step in any dent repair process is to assess the damage. Once you break into the field, you will be required to assess the damaged vehicle in order to determine whether using a paintless dent repair method is possible, or if the damage requires a different technique. Of course, this will depend on the size of the dent and how easy it is to locate.
In most cases, paintless dent repair will be effective if the auto body professional can gain access to the rear side of the dent. This will involve carefully removing body panels, tail lights, and sometimes interior panels. Special tools will then be placed on the back end of the dent, and used to apply slow pressure to “massage” the dented area back to its original position.
During your career in auto body repair , you will definitely be required to use a wide variety of tools. Some of the most common tools that are used to fix dents include metal rods and body picks.
Specific types of lighting, such as LED panels and fog shields, are commonly used in body shops to reduce glare. This makes it a lot easier for technicians to identify even the smallest of dents. Because paintless dent repair is faster than other methods, body shops that use this technique are usually able to offer their customers same-day service.
Would you like to learn more by enrolling in auto body repair courses?
Visit ATC to learn more about our training programs or to speak with an advisor.
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