Dents and scratches are an inevitable part of being on the road, or exposed to the elements. But even though drivers expect a certain amount of wear and tear on their vehicles over time, most of us want to hold on to that “new car” look for as long as possible.
If you’re a new owner, a dent or scratch – no matter how small – can be so bothersome, it’s all you can focus on when you look at your new purchase. And what’s worse, estimates for repairing even minor surface damage can run into the thousands. Traditionally, a collision repair or auto technician would have to sand, fill and paint the damaged area – which is where costs begin to sky-rocket. But these days, modern automotive painting or body repair training teaches students how to repair a dent without re-painting, saving time, energy and most importantly, owner dollars!
Paintless Dent Repair
Over the last decade or so, paintless dent removal (PDR) has become common practice for removing dents and dings. The technique is widely used by car dealers, rental agencies and auctions to prepare vehicles for resale. And yet very few consumers are aware that the option even exists. Auto body repair specialists use specially fabricated tools for PDR, erasing damage up to the size of a football from almost any vehicle body panel. No sanding, body filler or repainting is necessary, and in most cases, when the process is complete the dent is virtually invisible.
How PDR is Done
Paintless dent repair technicians gradually push the metal back into place from behind the dent. Depending on the location of the damage, the panel is accessed by removing trim pieces, through window openings or by removing inner panels. Experts reveal that successful PDR takes quite a bit of patience on the part of technicians – they have to carefully “read” the paint to determine precisely where the dent ends, and know exactly where the tip of their tool is at all times. The tech will slowly and gently massage the metal back into place, beginning at the outside of dent and moving inward until the surface is restored. Eventually the dent becomes so small that it blends with the texture of the paint and disappears completely.
Becoming a Dent Doctor
If you think you’ve got the patience and attention to detail required to be an effective PDR dent doctor, there are attractive automotive careers for technicians with special expertise in this area. They can find work at franchises of national chains, car dealerships, independent and auto body repair shops. PDR has become so effective (and in demand) for hail damage, that some insurance companies actually hire “hail chasers” who track bad weather in order to perform paintless dent repair to damaged cars!
To see a detailed demo of how PDF is used to repair hail damage, check out this video: