What is Paintless Dent Repair?

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September 13, 2018

We all drive different makes and models, but two things remain the same. All our cars have miles and memories attached to them.

Unfortunately, all those miles often come with a few minor dents.

It’s not enough to warrant a new part or even a new paint job, but it bothers you all the same.

Paintless dent repair is a method of removing minor dents, like hail damage or door dings, from the body of your car without the cost of a paint job.

Do you need some autobody work done on dents smaller than a few inches in diameter? An experienced technician uses paintless dent removal techniques to help your vehicle look like new. Is your car a candidate? Keep reading to find out.

What Is Paintless Dent Repair?

Paintless dent repair or removal (PDR) is a restorative process used to quickly remove minor dents from the body of a vehicle.

Technicians apply PDR by using pressure on the exterior of the dent to encourage it back to its pre-damage position.

Why is it paintless? Traditional repair places a body filler in the dent cavity. Because the filler stands out so much, it requires sanding, paint matching, and finally a paint job to hide the repair.

Traditional dent repair works on large dents, but traditional bodywork is expensive. It also fails to address the dent itself. It fills it in rather than moving the body back into place.

Fillers don’t play a role in PDR. By eliminating that step, you also get to skip the sanding, paint matching, and ultimately painting thereby removing the time and expense from the project.

Paintless Dent Repair Techniques

Every auto body shop claims to have trade secrets for painless dent repair.

Most have their origins in the most common vehicle dent repair techniques.

Common dents suitable for removal are often repaired using metal rods on the body to push the dent back out. In this technique, the technician carefully uses the rod and applies pressure at the bottom of the dent to move it back into place.

The technique requires access to the underside of the body panel.

Hard-to-reach repairs like roof dents might use a special glue formula and paintless dent repair tabs. Technicians apply the materials to pull up the dent from the topside of the body panel.

These techniques get the bulk of the dent out, but some evidence of the damage often remains.

The key to refinding the just-off-the-lot look is to go a step further and tap down the repair to even out the area. By tapping carefully, the small high spots blend into the body as if there was never a dent at all. They might also use a tool called an orange peel to blend the paint.

Of course, these techniques require the user to find the exact amount of pressure.

Too much pressure creates high spots that damage the clear coat and even the pain. A technician takes some of the pressure off the paint by using heat to make the coat more malleable.

When Paintless Dent Repair Is a Good Idea

Paintless dent repair is a good idea when your car has one or more small dents that damage its value or ruin its aesthetic. PDR is ideal for cars with damage from:

  • Hail
  • Shopping carts
  • Door dings
  • Small dents (under 4″) without paint damage

PDR is perfect for the damage done to your car simply by driving it.

Major accidents or autobody work still benefit from traditional dent repair especially when paint damage occurs.

Things to Look Out For Before PDR

The premise of a paintless dent repair is to avoid an expensive paint job.

While high-quality technicians work carefully to avoid cracking or chipping the paint on most cars, some are more likely to see chipped or cracked paint after the procedure.

Has your car already been repainted? Repainted surfaces are far more likely to crack than existing paint. Heat reduces the likelihood of paint damage on all cars, but repainted surfaces still see a greater likelihood.

Is the paint on the area already scraped or damaged? A more detailed repair may be on the cards if you want the like-new look.

Can I Just Push the Dent Out Myself?

Paintless dent repair sounds simple in theory. While DIY dent removal is a cheaper option because the tools are cheaper to buy, you can’t buy the finesse of an experienced dentology expert.

Applying too much pressure could send the dent in the opposite direction and there’s little room for error before it happens. Reversing the dent costs more to fix than PDR in the first place.

In other words, you can try to push the dent out yourself. However, you may actually make the situation worse.

Remember, PDR isn’t as simple as pushing the dent out. The technician also evens out the area as require and uses techniques to protect the paint along the way. You are more likely to restore your car (and its value) when you use a professional service.

Get Brand New Look for Your Car

Taking the car out of the garage means wear and tear. Dents show how many miles you drove and memories you made – or how many times you parked too close to the shopping cart bay at the grocery store.

Dents, scratches, and nicks are inevitable as long as you’re driving your car. Restoring your car’s body isn’t costly. In fact, you can watch this car get repaired in only 30 seconds.

Does your car need repair? John Harris Body shops will remove the look of all those miles while leaving your memories intact. Contact us today.

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The easiest and most convenient way to pay for your portion of the repairs to your vehicle is to endorse your insurance claim check and submit it to the shop. Of course, cash and checks are always welcome. Credit cards may also be used. We accept Visa, Master Card and Discover. For more information, please see our Payment Policy.

If your deductible is not waived, it will be your responsibility to pay us when you pick up your vehicle. If you aren’t sure about your deductible, you can call your agent and he can tell you whether your insurance company has waived your deductible or whether it will be your responsibility.

Claim numbers are issued by your insurance company at the time you report your accident. Just jot it down and bring it in with you when you come in to begin the repair process, we will do the rest.

You will be notified by phone when your vehicle is ready to be picked up. You can also check this website. You will see a message next to the last picture of your vehicle telling you that your vehicle is ready to be picked up. Feel free to call or e-mail your advisor during the repair process if you have questions or concerns.


What a wonderful surprise to be notified that our car was ready for pickup after only four days in your shop. The staff is very professional and reflect a great sense of service and respect for the customer.

Joel P. Winchip

You have been absolutely amazing. Thanks for the quick turnaround and for the constant updates. :)

Toney Romero

Thank you for the wonderful service you provided. Happy Holidays!!!!

Tomika Nibbs

I would certainly use you again if necessary. Hope not, but you did great job!

Frank Grier

My car looks beautiful and the repairs were completed sooner than estimated. Dropping my car off and picking it up was simple and pleasant because Wanda is awesome. Thanks for all you guys do!

Cynthia Goss

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