Can it be Fixed with PDR? A Complete Guide to Paintless Dent Repair
Can My Dent be Fixed with PDR?
If your vehicle has sustained a nasty dent, whether it’s a parking lot scar or a dent from an accident, there’s a good chance it can be repaired with PDR. Most minor dents can be repaired by the dent repair experts at Dent Force so long as the paint is still intact, and the dent isn’t too complex in nature. Since paintless dent repair can remove 80-90% of dents, it is the best way to get a dent out of your car.
If we can access the area behind the dent, we can often massage out the dent with the Paintless Dent Repair process. The best thing about PDR is that we do not need to add body filler, need to repaint, or even disturb your vehicle’s factory paint during the repair process. Because of this, PDR is also far less time consuming than the traditional dent repair process where a body panel is sanded down, body filler is added, and the panel is repainted.
If you want to have your vehicle dent free for a fraction of the cost and in less time, the paintless dent repair process is a great way to restore your vehicle’s body panels. Most Paintless dent repairs can be done for much less money than repainting and traditional repairs and can be completed in less than a day!
We understand that many of you still have questions about the paintless dent repair process, so we have created an in-depth guide to answer many of the PDR questions you may have. After reading this, you will have a better understanding of the repair process and whether or not your vehicle can be repaired with PDR.
Dent Shapes that can be Repaired with PDR
Every dent is unique in some way. No two vehicles have the exact same shape, and no two objects or other vehicles that could cause damage to your vehicle have exactly the same shape. Because of this, we see a wide variety of dents in all shapes and sizes.
You may be wondering – “how does the shape of my dent affect its ability to be repaired with the paintless dent repair process?” – It’s a bit of a long-winded answer, but it plays a role in it’s repairability!
An important part of paintless dent repair and determining if the process can repair your dent is assessing the complexity of the dent itself. A more complex dent means that it is more difficult to repair. There are a few different factors to consider:
Creasing in the Dent
If the dent is creased, it means that it may not be able to repair with PDR. Although there are many skilled PDR technicians in the world, creases make it difficult to restore the body panel to its regular shape. A good example of dent complexity and how creasing affects the dent repair process is squeezing a pop can or pop bottle.
Think of it this way. When you squeeze a pop can or pop bottle, it will leave a dent. If the dent you leave in it is round and smooth, you can normally manipulate the can or bottle with your hands and easily squeeze out the dent to return it to its original shape.
However, If you crease the can or bottle when you squeeze it, no matter how hard you try to pop the crease out, a ridge will always exist. You can continue to fight with the dent and the crease as much as you’d like, it will almost never return to its original shape.
The same theory applies to your vehicle. Although different materials are often used, and automotive paint has different properties and elasticity, a round dent is easier to pop out, and creasing will make it difficult.
Most PDR technicians have specialty tools, picks, hammers, and equipment that make it possible to remove some dents with mild creasing, but these dents usually need to be repaired with the traditional dent repair process as the paint will need to be disturbed, and body filler will need to be applied. In some extreme cases, the panel may even need to be replaced.
The Depth of the Dent
Another important consideration is the depth of the dent itself in your vehicle. Dents that are shallower are often easier to repair than deeper dents. Given that more of the vehicle’s body panel will be affected by a deeper dent, it can limit it’s repairability and the integrity of the vehicle’s body panel as well. The deeper the dent, the less likely the panel will be to return to its original shape.
The elastic limit of your vehicle’s paint will also be a determining factor. Automotive paint can only flex so much before it begins to crack. The elasticity of paint varies from one auto manufacturer to another. Some vehicles have different thicknesses and additives in the pain that allow their paint to be more flexible whereas others are more brittle. A vehicle with more flexible paint can sustain a deeper and more complex dent without cracking, and a vehicle with more brittle paint and a harder clearcoat will crack sooner when damaged.
PDR technicians are trained to look for stress cracks and other signs that the damage may have exceeded the paint’s elastic limit before repairing your vehicle. If the paint is showing signs of cracking, your panel will need to be repainted, and the traditional dent repair process will be needed. It’ll be time to head to an auto body repair shop for that dent!
Common Causes of Small Dents that can be Repaired with PDR
The wonderful thing about paintless dent repair is that it can repair a number of different small dents that have been caused by a variety of things. It’s by far the quickest and most cost-effective form of small dent repair that exists. Some of you may be wondering what types of damage can be repaired with paintless dent repair and what some of the common causes of small dents may be. Almost every vehicle owner will return to their vehicle after parking it somewhere and notice some damage at some point in their lives. We’ve created a helpful list of what could cause a dent in your vehicle for you to determine what happened!
Collisions can be the cause of Small Dents
Collisions are often the cause of small dents. We all know that accidents happen and that vehicles bump into each other sometimes. If you see a small dent on your bumper, door, fender, or another body panel on your vehicle, it could have been caused by another vehicle bumping into it.
Look closely at your dent. If you can see another colour of paint in your dent, there is a good chance that another vehicle has bumped into yours. Although this may be alarming, the other vehicle’s paint will normally rub off and so long as your paint has not cracked and the impact scratching is not too severe, these dents can be repaired with paintless dent repair.
Door Dings are a Common Cause of Small Dents
We’ve all done it before. Either you accidentally parked a bit too close to another vehicle, or they did at the grocery store. While you’re trying to put your groceries away inside the cab of your vehicle or get inside, you accidentally bump the door of another vehicle. In most cases, vehicles have side trim and other things to protect the actual body panels from sustaining damage, In some cases, vehicles do not have them and end up with a nasty dent on the side.
Door dings have a pretty distinctive shape to them. Most doors have a round outer edge that comes into contact with a body panel on your vehicle and will impact your vehicle with a swinging motion. The result is a sort of egg or crescent-shaped dent that will also sometimes have a ridge or mild crease on the inside.
In terms of the repairability of door dings, the same rules apply as a small dent repair from a collision. There is often some impact scratching on the surface from the other door coming into contact with your vehicle and sometimes even a trace of other paint left behind. So long as the paint has not cracked, there isn’t any severe creasing in the dent, and the area behind the dent can be accessed, door dings can be repaired with paintless dent repair.
Hail Damage can be Repaired with Paintless Dent Repair
During the rainy season, PDR technicians are usually kept pretty busy thanks to the many hail damage repairs that need to be made. Hail damage normally affects the horizontal body panels on a vehicle. When hail falls from the sky, it will commonly leave tiny dents on the hood, the roof, the trunk, the tops of the fenders, and quarter panels on your vehicle.
Bigger hailstones falling from the sky means that there are likely bigger dents in your vehicle. In some cases, the sides of your vehicle can even be damaged by hail as well if there are heavy winds during a hail storm. Strong blowing winds can cause the side of the vehicle facing the wind to be hail damaged and also require hail damage repair.
The main thing to consider with hail damage is the size and quantity of the dents that your vehicle has sustained in a hail storm. If the hailstones are large enough, they can actually create dents that are too big or too complex to be repaired by the paintless dent repair process.
Because most hailstones are round in nature, they leave a dent in your vehicle that is similar to what would be caused by a golf ball. There is often no impact scratching from hailstones because they are smooth, but PDR technicians will need to ensure that there is no stress cracking in your vehicles paint as a deeper dent could exceed the elastic limit of your paint. As long as there is no cracking and the area behind the body panel can be accessed, a small dent from hail damage can normally be repaired. PDR is one of the best options available for hail damage repair.
Small Dents Caused by Sports Accidents
Another common cause of dents in vehicles is sporting accidents. We’ve all seen it happen in the movies before, a kid hits a baseball out of the park, someone’s aim is off with a golf shot, and some kind of sports ball lands on a vehicle and damages it. In the spring and summer during sports season, this happens quite often.
Things like basketballs, baseballs, soccer balls, golf balls, and more can leave dents in your vehicle when they fly off course. Luckily, the dents caused by these sporting accidents are often minor and shallow round dents that can be repaired by the paintless dent repair process.
When sporting balls come into contact with your vehicle, they often just create a round rent with no impact scratching. In some extreme cases, golf balls can leave more severe dents, but it is unlikely. If your vehicle’s factory paint is not showing any signs of cracking at the area behind the dent can be accessed by a PDR technician, these small dents can often be removed, and your vehicle will look good as new!
Other Things That Cause Small Dents in Vehicles
There are many other things that can cause small dents in your vehicle. Things like falling objects, like an apple falling from a tree or something dropped from a roof can cause dents on your vehicle’s horizontal body panes. Even incidents as mundane as a shopping cart in a mall parking lot bumping into your vehicle or a child riding their bike into your vehicle can cause small dents.
Regardless of what causes the dent in your vehicle, so long as the dent is not too severe, the paint is intact, and the area behind the body panel can be accessed by the PDR technician, the small dents in your vehicle can be repaired by the paintless dent repair process.
Body Panels that can be Repaired with PDR
Many people want to know which body panels can be fixed with paintless dent repair on a vehicle. The answer to this question isn’t completely straightforward. It depends on the material that the body panel has been made of, the shape of the panel, the severity of the dent, and the location of the panel on the vehicle and how it affects access to behind the panel. We’ve gathered some information on the types of body panels that can be fixed with PDR.
Hoods can be fixed with Paintless Dent Repair
Generally speaking, most alloy and sheet metal hoods can be repaired with the PDR process. Seeing as most hoods can either be easily removed from the vehicle and the liner can be removed from the hood, PDR technicians can easily access the area underneath your hood to pop out dents.
If your vehicle’s hood sustains a small dent from hail, a falling object, a sports ball, or another circumstance, it can generally be repaired with the PDR process. As long as the paint is still okay and the dent is not too complex. A PDR technician will be able to repair the hood on your vehicle.
There are some types of hoods like carbon fibre hoods or fibreglass hoods that cannot be repaired with PDR. If you have one of these hoods on your vehicle, they are unlikely to be dented, but they will need to be replaced or repaired by an auto body shop.
Most Doors can be Repaired with PDR
Similar to hoods, most alloy and sheet metal doors on your vehicle can be repaired with the PDR process. Because most doors can either be easily removed from the vehicle or the door card, inner cover, or door skin can be removed, PDR technicians can easily access the area behind your doors to pop out dents and restore them to their original shape.
If your door has a small to medium-sized dent from a collision, a door ding, or something else coming into contact with it, the door can generally be repaired with the PDR process. As long as the paint is not cracked, doesn’t have severe impact scratching, and the dent is not too complex, a PDR technician will be able to repair your door.
There are some instances where your door may not be able to be repaired with PDR. Some vehicles have plastic door skins and other things where dents may not pop out, like metal or alloy will. If this is the case, your vehicle will need to go to an auto body shop.
Typically Front Fenders can be Repaired with Paintless Dent Repair
Because front fenders are generally easily removed, the area behind dents in them can be accessed and repaired with the PDR process. Fenders usually bolt onto a support or a piece of your vehicle’s frame making them simple to remove. Once removed, technicians can easily access the area behind them to pop out dents and restore them to their original shape.
If your fender has sustained a dent from a collision or something else coming into contact with it, if the paint is intact, it can probably be repaired with the PDR process. There are some instances where your fender may not be able to be repaired with PDR. Some dents in fenders on body lines end up being too sharp or complex in nature to be removed and for the fender to be restored to its original shape. In cases like these, the fender will need to be replaced, and your vehicle will have to be repaired with the traditional auto body repair process.
Quarter Panels Can Normally be Repaired by PDR
Quarter panels have some of the same characteristics as front fenders, but they can normally not be removed from your vehicle. Quarter panels are usually an integral part of the vehicle’s body, like the body pillars that attach to them. In most cases, the area behind quarter panels can be accessed from inside your vehicle’s trunk or where your tail light attaches to your vehicle.
If your quarter panel has sustained a dent from a collision, a door ding, or something else coming into contact with it, it can generally be repaired with PDR so long as the paint is intact and the dent is not too complex. Some dents on body lines on a quarter panel end up being too sharp or complex in nature to be removed and for the fender to be restored to its original shape. In cases like these, body filler will need to be applied to the panel and your vehicle will have to be repaired with the traditional auto body repair process.
The Vehicle’s Roof Can Normally be Repaired by PDR
The roof of a vehicle is a large horizontal surface and is often prone to getting dents from things falling on it like hail, baseballs, and even sometimes fruit! Luckily, most roof dents are completely repairable with the PDR process.
As long as the headliner in your vehicle can be removed, it is fairly easy for a PDR technician to access the area behind your dents and remove them from your vehicle’s roof. Hail damage and other roof dents from round objects falling on them can generally be removed as they do not damage your paint or severely deform the panel. In some cases, where a tree branch, a rock, or a heavy object has fallen on your roof, the dent may be too severe to be repaired with PDR. In these extreme cases, your vehicle will need body filler to be applied or even a new roof.
How does your Paint Affect the PDR Process?
Although it may seem like your paint has nothing to do with removing a dent from a metal or aluminum body panel, it actually has a lot to do with it and what the limits of the PDR process are!
As we previously mentioned, automotive paint has an elastic limit of how much it can stretch before cracking occurs. Some paints are more flexible than others and can sustain a larger, more severe dent before the paint is damaged or disturbed. If the paint has cracked or it has been scratched down to the metal, it is unlikely that the paintless dent repair process will repair your dent, and your vehicle’s body panel will need to be repainted.
The cool thing about modern automotive paint is that it provides more than just aesthetic value. It does a lot more than just make your vehicle look pretty! It acts as a protective layering and has many desirable properties.
Most water based acrylic polyurethane enamel paints have great elastic properties and are still very environmentally friendly. Because of their great elasticity and resilience, impacts and dents that would normally cause your paint’s elastic limit to be exceeded and crack or become damaged are now completely repairable by the PDR process.
Some older automotive paints do not have the same elasticity or resilience that modern automotive paints. Some exceptions do exist to this rule, though. Some modern vehicles use more brittle paints and clear coats that can cause paint to be less elastic than water based acrylic polyurethane enamel paints. We’ve all seen old vehicles in junkyards and parking lots from the seventies and eighties where a minor dent has caused the paint to crack and begin to chip off. In cases like this, the panel simply needs to be repainted.
Body Panel Materials that can be Repaired with PDR
Generally speaking, most metals and alloy body panels can be repaired with the paintless dent repair process. If your vehicle is made of sheet metal, aluminum, or an alloy, so long as the panel isn’t too severely damaged, it can be repaired with the PDR process. This is because these types of panels can be shaped with manual tools, are malleable, and have a metal memory, as discussed above. Most vehicle’s body panels can be repaired with the paintless dent repair process, but there are some that cannot.
Materials that cannot be repaired by PDR
There are some body panels that are made of different materials with good reason, but they cannot be repaired with the paintless dent repair process. Things like plastic bumpers, fibreglass fenders, carbon fibre hoods, and composites cannot be repaired with the paintless dent repair process.
This is because most of these materials are unlikely to dent to begin with. Although plastic bumpers and doors sometimes sustain dents that can be popped out easily, these panels cannot be fixed with PDR as they do not have a metal memory like other panels. When damaged, plastic panels are normally just discarded and replaced. Things like bumpers, trim, and other plastic parts of your vehicle will need to be ordered from a dealership or auto body shop.
When it comes to more brittle materials like fibreglass or carbon fibre, the materials are more likely to crack or split when damaged and do not dent. If this is the case, they will need to be repaired with filler or professionally by another specialist.
The Types of Vehicles that can be Repaired with PDR
Almost any vehicle can be repaired with PDR. As long as the vehicle is constructed with one of the repairable materials that were listed above, they can be repaired with the paintless dent repair process. The PDR technicians at Dent force have repaired it all! When it comes to cars, we have worked on coupes, sedans, wagons, high end sports cars, and more. We love pulling dents out of beautiful cars and restoring them to their original condition.
We have worked on many different types of larger passenger vehicles to remove dents as well. We have used paintless dent repair to fix dents in trucks, SUV’s, Jeeps, Crossovers, Vans, Mini Vans, Panel Vans, and more.
Whether your vehicle has a unibody construction or body on frame, we can remove dents from your vehicle and make it look as good as the day you first drove it home. Different vehicles come with different complexities, but they can all almost certainly be repaired with paintless dent repair so long as the damage is not too severe.
How does Metal Memory Affect the Paintless Dent Repair Process?
One of the things that the paintless dent repair process relies on is “Metal Memory”. This basically means that the metal has a tendency to want to return to its original shape. Normally, this can be attained with PDR as long as the dent hasn’t exceeded one of the limits we have mentioned above.
The problem with larger dents is that sometimes the metal can become stretched. This is normally what has happened if your paint has started to crack. In these cases, it will no longer want to return to its original shape as it has been given a new memory.
When a dent has a sharp ridge, creasing, or anything that looks like it could cause the metal to twist or tear, the metal has almost certainly been stretched. This is why these cases make it extremely difficult to repair with the PDR process. Panels like this often require body filler or replacement to make the panel appear as if it still retains its original shape.
The Paintless Dent Repair Assessment Process
Many of our customers wonder how the paintless dent repair damage assessment process works. It’s really quite simple! Damage assessment needs to occur before we begin working on a customer’s vehicle to ensure we aren’t trying to repair a dent that cannot be repaired due to the severity of the dent or another roadblock.
The first step in the assessment process is to look closely at the dent and determine the severity of the damage. Our estimators will look for many of the signs we mentioned above that would indicate that your dent could not be repaired. They ensure the metal is not stretched, the paint’s elastic limit has not been exceeded, that there are no extreme ridges or creases in the dent, and that the impact scratching can be polished out. If the dent is within these parameters, the estimator moves onto the second step.
The second step in the paintless dent repair process has to do with accessing the area behind the dent. Given that your dent could be anywhere on your vehicle, it could be in a location where a PDR technician could not access the area behind the dent which will impede the ability to repair the dent. If it is impossible to access the area behind the dent for whatever reason, the dent cannot be repaired with PDR.
The third step is to estimate the dent repair cost for the panel on your vehicle. Estimators look at the factors above, the quantity of dents, and do a dent repair cost analysis and estimate. In some cases, if there are many dents on a panel or the cost of repairing with PDR exceeds the cost of replacing the panel, we will suggest that the customer take that route. The estimator will also take into account damaged trim pieces and get a quote on what it will cost to replace parts like this.
After this has been completed, a quote is created and reviewed with the customer or the insurance company. If the quote is approved, the repair is scheduled, and the PDR technicians will repair the vehicle.
Although there is an in-depth assessment process, 80-90% of dents in vehicles can be repaired with the PDR process. We complete the assessment process to ensure that we are working in the customer’s best interests and to ensure that the repair can be completed without any complications. We want to ensure that your car looks as good as the day it rolled off the lot after your dents have been repaired with paintless dent repair.
The Average Paintless Dent Repair Cost
The cost of repairing your dent depends on the factors listed above in the assessment process. A dent that is more complex will take more time to repair and cost more than a simple dent repair. A dent that is more difficult to repair because the area behind the dent cannot be accessed easily will also take the technician more time to repair and cost more.
Another thing to take into account is the quantity of dents on your vehicle. A roof with hail damage and 30 dents will also be more expensive to repair than a single door ding. Regardless, it is difficult to ballpark exactly what it will cost to repair your dent. No two dents are alike so it is hard to compare!
Studies show that the North American average cost to repair a minor dent is between $90-$130 and a major dent can cost around $200 or more. It really depends on your unique situation so please request an estimate before getting your mind set on a particular cost.
Regardless of the cost, paintless dent repair is always going to be cheaper than the traditional dent repair process, and it is better for the environment too. Because we do not need to use body fillers, to repaint, or use harmful chemicals with the paintless dent repair process, we don’t have an adverse impact on the environment, and we save you money. Although our trained technicians have a comparable labour rate to an auto body shop, we can often repair dents quicker and save material costs over the traditional dent repair process. Paintless dent repair is the cheapest and most efficient way to repair dents on your vehicle.
For all of your Paintless Dent Repair Needs, Visit Dent Force
We hope you found this comprehensive guide on paintless dent repair helpful and you found answers to many of your PDR related questions. We want to ensure that you’re well educated about repairing your vehicle so that you understand how PDR can repair your vehicle without breaking your wallet. It really is one of the best ways to get a dent out of your car.
At Dent Force, we go the extra mile to ensure having your dents repaired is as quick and painless as possible. We treat each and every customer’s vehicle like our own and ensure that we provide the best workmanship and quality with every repair that we complete. That is the Dent Force advantage and how we deliver quality that cannot be matched by our competitors. If you want your vehicle repaired by true professionals so that it looks as good as the day your car drove off the dealership parking lot, pay a visit to Dent Force today for a quote.