Paintless dent repair is one of the most sought-after repair techniques in the auto industry. In fact, auto insurance companies prefer paintless dent repair when applicable. But why? What makes paintless dent repair so special? In this article, we will go over the ins and outs of paintless dent repair, so you have a better understanding of what PDR means. We will also talk about which dents can be fixed by paintless dent repair, and the limitations of paintless dent repair. If you are looking for an auto body shop that specializes in paintless dent repair in Denver, Colorado, look no further than Capital Dent Masters.
What does PDR mean?
If you live in areas that are frequently affected by hail storms, it is likely that you’ve seen or heard of PDR, or paintless dent repair. Denver, Colorado is full of PDR shops. So what exactly is paintless dent repair?
Paintless Dent Repair (less commonly known as Paintless Dent Removal) is defined as a method of removing dents from the body of a vehicle.
What is Paintless Dent Repair?
Paintless dent repair is a technique used to remove dents from the body of a vehicle. Vehicles today are made with ‘factory access points’ which allow specialized paintless dent repair metal rods to be inserted between the metal panels of your vehicle’s frame. Each metal rod is a different length with a different shape at the end and gives varying amounts of pressure. This allows the technician to be precise when guiding the metal back to its original shape.
Where did Paintless Dent Repair Come From?
Paintless dent repair is said to have two contributors to its origin. In 1931, Frank T. Sargent published a book called The Key to Metal Bumping after working on bending metals in Germany. Mr. Sargent worked for BMW at the time. He primarily worked on tin, copper, and gold. In the 1950s, Oskar Flaig began using these principles while in charge of the show cars during the “International Motor Sports Show” in New York City. The show still continues to this day and is now known as SEMA. Flaig was responsible for shining the cars back to pristine condition each night for the following day’s event during the show. In order to save himself time and materials when fixing the dented cars, Flaig began to bend the dents, guiding the metal panels as close to their original shape. This meant he needed less filler and paint on each vehicle. When the show ended and they returned to the Mercedes-Benz factory in Germany, Flaig showed his coworkers what he had been secretly working on during the show. From there, paintless dent repair has evolved into the industry and artistry we know today. Dentless Touch wrote a more in-depth article about the origins of paintless dent repair, and you can read it here.
Why Is Paintless Dent Repair Preferred Over Conventional Repair?
The paintless dent repair technique reshapes the metal panel of your vehicle, while traditional, or conventional, dent repair fills in the dent with a substance that is painted over. Conventional dent repair is a multi-step process that begins with bending the metal as much as possible. Once the impact has been minimized, the technician fills in the rest of the dent with a substance, such as BONDO filler. The area is then sanded when dry, and a new coat of paint must be applied to the entire panel of your vehicle. Blending should also be performed on the surrounding panels so that your vehicle’s paint color is consistent.
Paintless dent repair, or PDR, repairs the vehicle without the necessity of repainting and without adding any new substances to your vehicle. This means that your vehicle is returned to you with all the original parts. Conventional repair always includes either adding a new part to your vehicle or replacing a piece of your vehicle in its entirety.
Why Do Auto Insurance Companies Prefer Paintless Dent Repair?
Auto insurance companies prefer paintless dent repair when available, especially for auto hail damage repair. GEICO Insurance even announced a partnership with a PDR company. Here are some of the top reasons PDR is preferred by auto insurance companies for dent repair.
PDR Keeps the Original Parts of Your Vehicle Intact
When the PDR technique is used, the original parts of your vehicle are revived back to their condition pre-dent. This allows your vehicle to retain its value over time, which is great from an investment point of view. For a vehicle that has been damaged in a hail storm like the ones we experience in Denver, Colorado, paintless dent repair allows your car to be revived after each storm. This revival of the original parts keeps your investment intact and your vehicle with you for years to come.
PDR Offers the Best Quality of Repair
Paintless dent repair, when done correctly, boasts a quality of repair that cannot be matched. Specialized lights allow the technician to see every minute detail in the curvature of the panel of your vehicle. Conventional repairs change the vehicle, and it is nearly impossible to match the curvature in that process. PDR simply guides the metal back to its original form, giving a superior quality of repair overall.
PDR is Eco-Friendly
Paintless dent repair has very little impact on the environment around us. The battery-operated mobile tools are rechargeable, and the only waste is a small glue pull in extreme repairs. The rods are guided by the technician, who only uses soap and water to wash the exterior of the vehicle in order to see the curvatures clearly. Conventional repairs require many chemicals and often result in the metal being sent to a junkyard.
PDR Repair Time is Shorter
Another reason auto insurance companies prefer paintless dent repair over the conventional repair for hail damaged vehicles is the time that it takes for the repair to be completed. While conventional repair inevitably includes a waiting time for ordered parts to arrive, paintless dent repair can begin right away. At Capital Dent Masters, we also believe in bringing in your vehicle when we are ready to begin repairs. This minimizes the amount of time you are without your car!
What are the Limitations of Paintless Dent Repair?
While most hail damaged vehicles can be repaired using paintless dent repair, there are a few limitations to the damage PDR can fix. Here are a few circumstances where a hybrid repair (if you will) might be a good one to consider. When there is damage to multiple areas of the vehicle, it is possible some areas may need conventional repair due to instances like these.
Material Type of Your Vehicle
The material your car is made of matters! Paintless dent repair is unable to repair dents on fiberglass or carbon fiber hoods. Plastic, iron, high-strength steel, and chrome are other materials that PDR is unable to bend back into shape. For vehicles made out of aluminum, be sure you are only working with a qualified professional, like Capital Dent Masters. This is especially important for show car collectors, as many vintage cars cannot be repaired with paintless dent repair.
Cracked Paint due to Dent Impact
Occasionally, when the impact of the object causing the dent is highly forceful or sharp, it will cause the paint on your vehicle to crack. When this happens, there are two options. The first option is to do a conventional repair from start to finish, whether that be filling in the dent or replacing the panel entirely. However, sometimes your insurance company will prefer that paintless dent repair be used in a scenario called “push to paint”. This means that the dents can still be repaired with PDR and simply repainting the panel afterward to complete the repairs. Doing this helps your vehicle remain as original as possible, which is always preferred. Repainting the panel ensures your vehicle remains protected from the elements.
Dents that Cover a Large Area
Large dents unfortunately cannot be repaired with paintless dent repair alone. When the surface area of the dent is too big, the ‘memory’ in the metal is too fractured to be guided back into place. A dent larger than the size of a half dollar is considered to be an ‘over-sized’ dent.
Lack of Access Point
When your vehicle is put together, there are access points built into the vehicle to make repairs more accessible. However, if the dent is in a location where the metal cannot be separated from the interior of the vehicle, the metal rods simply cannot access the dent to repair it. This is a rare occurrence with vehicles made in the last decade or so.
When Repair has Already been Attempted
The most important limitation of paintless dent repair to remember is that it cannot be done when repair has already been attempted. This means, that if you attempt to repair a dent at home and it is not perfect, a PDR technician is unable to fix it. Paintless dent repair uses the memory of the metal to guide it back into shape. When it has been tampered with, unfortunately, the memory is unhelpful. For this reason, we always suggest seeking an estimate from a professional paintless dent repair company first.
Paintless Dent Repair Auto Body Shop in Denver
For those of you looking for paintless dent repair for your hail damaged or door-dinged vehicle, look no further than Capital Dent Masters. A local autobody shop, Capital Dent Masters is located in the heart of Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood. We offer a variety of services to help you navigate the auto repair experience in a way that makes you feel good. Our family-owned and operated shop has the experience to give you the best quality repair along with the best customer experience.