Everything you need to know about paintless dent repair. 

What is paint​​​​less dent repair?


Paintless dent repair also known as PDR or paintless dent removal. It is a paint-free method of repairing minor dents and dings from the body of the vehicle.

With paintless dent repair you don't grind, sand, fill or repaint the vehicle surface. You can restore a vehicle’s body to a like-new condition in a shorter time and at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional body repair and paint.

Paintless dent repair works good on steel and aluminum panels. As long as the paint surface is intact, you can repair a wide range of damage, including creases, bodyline dents, door dings, and hail damage.

PDR is also utilized in a "push to paint" or "push to prep" technique. This technique allows you to reduce the use of body filler on the damaged panel before painting. Applying a thick coat of body filler will eventually shrink, crack and fall off. 


By using a "push to paint" technique, you can reduce the use of body filler and repair will last much longer.


Paintless dent repair history.

Oscar Flaig - Inventor of PDR

A man from Germany named Oscar Flaig was the first person to discover paintless dent repair. In 1960, he worked for Mercedes-Benz as a body repair technician.

He prepared showroom cars for "International Car Show" in New York City and had to make sure vehicles were free of any imperfections.

The public who was attending the show would leave dents and scratches on the vehicles. At night Oscar would have to repair and paint damaged cars to make them ready for the next day.

Oskar used the handle of a hammer to push out a dent so that he can apply less filler before painting. One day, after massaging a small dent out, the result looked perfect and didn't need traditional bodywork and paint.


After the show, Oscar went back to Germany and continued developing paintless dent repair. 


Soon, he invented paintless dent repair tools of different shapes and sizes. He used wrecking bars, screwdrivers, handles from brooms and hammers. Oscar discovered that spring steel was the most suitable metal for tool manufacturing.


This is how paintless dent repair was discovered. 

How does paintless dent repair work?

Paintless dent repair works by gaining access from the back side of the dented panel with special tools.

Once I gain access, I begin to apply a small pressure slowly increasing it. The pushes are precise, even, and pointed to the center of the dent.

For large dent repair, I use a glue pulling method. I use a special hot glue and tabs designed for PDR.


There are more techniques and methods of paintless dent removal and I'll try to cover as much as I can.


What are the methods of Paintless dent repair?



I use these five different methods daily depending on the size, location, depth, and severity of the dent. Every method is different from another, but they all  repair dents without the need to paint.


  • Pushing
  • Knockdown
  • Glue Pulling
  • Blending
  • Heat magnetic induction

Pushing


This is a traditional way of repairing dents. This method typically is the fastest and most effective.


Pushing method is done by using many specialized tools such as:

  • Rods
  • Picks
  • Hooks
  • Whale tails
  • Flat Bars

Whether dent is on the door, hood, trunk lid or fender these tools help me to gain access behind the dent and massage it out with direct pushes.


Rods


( Image Source: DentCraftTools)

Rods are typically used on open areas with plenty of access. Their size varies from 16" and can reach up to 80" long. Diameter vary from 3/8'' to 5/8''. Rods can provide a stable and very controlled push to move a large area of metal.


Hooks


( Image Source: Blehm PDR tools )

Hooks mostly used in the upper area of the doors. They are made to get behind those dents that are blocked by a door brace. Their sizes also vary as well as their shapes.


Whale Tails


( Image Source: Dent Craft PDR Tools )

Whale tails are other great tools to get behind those dents with limited access.


Their edges are sharp and can easily cut through brace glue and reach to dent. Whale tails come in different widths and lengths. The width of a whale tale can be anywhere from 3/8'' to 4'' wide and length from 4" to 50''+


Flat Bars

( Image Source: Anaconda tools )


I use these dent repair tools mostly on fenders. Fenders are wide open and provide plenty of access where you can insert a flat bar of any size and length.

Flat bars provide significant leverage, and that makes them unique when it comes to a large dent repair on fenders.

There are only a handful of companies that make these flat bars.

One of them is Dent Dial. The ability to bend this bar in different shapes is a unique feature of dent dial bars.

Dent Dial is based in California and made by Sal Contreras.

Sal used to be a carpenter. When he learned PDR, he wanted to make his tools.

In a little while his tools became so popular that he decided to start a production line and sales.

Sal and his Dent Dial bars are leaders in today's PDR world.

Anaconda is another popular brand. These bars are made in Russia.

They also provide excellent leverage and can be very helpful in certain situations.





Knockdown

( Image Source: Dent Craft PDR Tools )


Knockdown is a process of tapping down outward dents that are caused by an impact from the back side of the panel.

This tool is also used for tapping down the crowns on a regular dent to even the dented area.

There are many types of knockdown.

  • Fine Tip
  • Blunt Tip
  • Rubber Ball
  • Mushroom Tip

I use fine tip for very sharp indentations and final touches.

It is very sharp and can leave scratches on paint if not handled properly. 


So you want to be careful about how you use it. 


Blunt tip mostly used to tap down medium sized crowns,1/8'' to 1/2'' in diameter. Blunt tips are not sharp and don't cause any paint scratches in the repair process.


Rubber Ball tip originally was designed to move large crowns from 1'' to 4'' diameters. I use this tip for blending and knocking some large "eyebrows" and buckles.


I use mushroom tip for blending and finishing dents on rail roofs, A-pillars and C-pillars.





Glue Pulling


Dent Lifter for PDR

I use glue pulling method in areas where access is limited. For example, roof rails are not accessible from inside. Dents on roof rails are pulled using high strength industrial hot glue, specialized tabs, a dent lifter or slide hammer.

First, I clean the area from dirt and silicone or wax products. I use 91% isopropyl alcohol for that purpose.

Next, I apply a hot melt glue over the pulling tab. Then I try to place the tab with hot glue directly in the center of the dent.

Special Glue Tabs for Paintless dent repair

I use dent lifter or slide hammer to pull the tab once the glue is cured.

The glue pulling method is not precise and controlled as traditional pushing, so you will have to repeat this procedure many times until you get perfect results.

This method requires more expertise and time to repair dents, and because of that, it costs more than the traditional pushing method.

A glue pulling method cannot be used on re-painted panels as it will result in pulling off the paint.



Blending


PDR Blending Hammer

Blending is a relatively new process of dent removal with a specially designed hammer with polished tips.


Knocking around the dent creates a sort of vibration on the panel that causes the dented metal to go back to pre-accident condition.

Blending works on very shallow dents and mostly this process used on roof rails, C-pillars, and A-pillars.

Blending also used to perfect larger dents to knock down or flatten ridges and "waves".






Heat Magnetic Induction

( Image Source )


This method of PDR is the latest and most advanced. Heat magnetic induction was designed to work on tiny and shallow dents. 


It doesn't work on larger or sharp dents.



Professional paintless dent repair work can not be done without special PDR lights.


PDR light for hail damage repair


Paintless dent repair can't be done without professional light. These lights help you to place the tip of the tool directly in the center of the dent.

Sooner you hit that center of the dent, better results you will have at the end. Without using light, it is almost impossible to do that.

PDR Lights come in different sizes and variations. Some are shop lights, and some are designed for mobile use working on rechargeable batteries.

Light boards can be small as 14" and reach up to 48" ​​wide.

Large lights give a crisp view and attention for small details. They used mostly on hail damage repairs.

Small lights are portable and great for all around use.

Prices for smaller portable PDR lights range from $400 to $650 and for shop lights from $800 to $1500 with all necessary accessories and batteries.

Mobile paintless dent repair light that runs on battery. No cords

( Image Source )





How long does it take to learn paintless dent repair


The learning process of paintless dent repair varies. Some people have a natural talent, and some have to achieve that.

It takes about four full weeks to learn all basics, essentials of PDR.

Learning paintless dent repair process is very difficult and has its curves.

It will take a whole life to master paintless dent repair.


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Benefits of Paintless dent repair

  • Maintain original paint
  • Retain original parts
  • No Carfax history report
  • Quick Turnaround time
  • Environmentally friendly solution 
  • Saves money
  • Does not harm your vehicle ( least invasive way of repairing minor dents )
  • Approved by all insurance companies

Conclusion



Paintless dent repair has been around since 1960. It is an excellent way of repairing small and minor dents, hail dents and bumper dents without paint or fillers. 


This method is fast and proven to work.
Of course, PDR has its limits and is not a solution for all dents.
I can't use a PDR on paint damaged dents or rusted areas.

 
However, if your paint is intact, compare to a traditional body shop paintless dent repair method can be a cheaper, faster, and environment-friendly option to remove these nagging dents.



In this photo Arslan Gadz is the owner and the technician of Ars Dent Repair. He is very passionate about Paintless dent repair and takes a tremendous pride in his craft.

About Arslan Gadz

Hello! My name is Arslan Gadz.
I am the owner and technician of Ars Dent Repair - Paintless Dent Removal of Baltimore LLC.
I have over ten years of experience working on cars of all makes and models. I am a very passionate dent repair technician, and I love what I do.
I take tremendous pride in my craft, and I always strive to provide the best quality services. I promise to take care of your car as if it's my own.

Would you like to get a free quote?

Hi!

This is Arslan Gadz.

I am quality focused. 

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