WHAT IS PAINTLESS DENT REPAIR?
Paintless Dent Repair is a technique used to push a dent out using special tools in specific patterns without having to repaint the panel, as the name suggests. A Dent Craft technician accesses the back of your vehicle’s panel through various access points and uses leverage to carefully push the dent out.
The technician will also tap parts of the dent with a hammer and a tapper made out of hard nylon or polished metal. This is done to release tension surrounding the dent and to bring down any areas that may be high. It is a precise process that requires a highly skilled and experienced technician. Our technicians have several years of training so we strongly recommend that you do not attempt paintless dent repair on your own. You will cause more damage to your panel that may not be repairable.
Before a dent occurs, the metal in the body of your car has a generally uniform tension throughout it. When an object strikes your vehicle’s body, it creates a distortion in that tension. A Dent Craft technician uses a collection of techniques to essentially reverse the dent and return the panel to its original state of uniform tension.
A Better Repair
The result of paintless dent repair leaves your vehicle looking amazing without having to paint over your original factory finish. The paint applied in the factory is the best paint your vehicle will ever have so paintless dent repair preserves the value and integrity of your vehicle. It is also a very fast repair which is another big benefit of paintless dent repair.
What can be fixed using paintless dent repair?
Paintless dent repair can be used on all sizes and shapes of dents but there are limits to what it can do.
If the paint is damaged, then paintless dent repair is not the ideal repair. However, some of our customers who have minimal paint damage are willing to live with touch up paint, choosing to save their original paint job.
If the metal is very stretched, then paintless dent repair is not effective. Stretched metal is what engineers call metal failure, the point where the metal’s structure gives way under a large amount of pressure. A Dent Craft technician is able to repair deep and slightly stretched dents but if the metal has failed, the vehicle will have to go to the body shop and get painted.
Aluminum panels can be repaired using paintless dent repair. They are a bit more difficult to repair but the results are very similar to steel panels. One of the big differences is that heat is used along with more finesse to unlock the dents.
What about bumpers?
We can repair plastic bumpers using heat and some of the same techniques we use on metal. But we are not able to repair steel bumpers in most cases. The steel on a truck bumper is extremely rigid and we have had very limited success in repairing them.
The Glue Method
The glue pull tool is used to pull the dents out of the panel rather than pushing them from the inside. This tool can only be safely used on original paint.
Paintless dent repair does not work on chrome trim. These parts have to be replaced.
Stainless Steel Appliances
Paintless dent repair has a rather low success rate with stainless steel appliances. The dents have to be shallow so the glue puller can be used to pull them out. Plus these repairs typically make the dents look a lot better but it is difficult to get the same quality as can be achieved on vehicles.
As tools and techniques are getting better, more difficult dents are candidates for paintless dent repair.
The tools we use to repair dents are unusual, and essential in our work. A particularly unique tool to our trade is the reflector board or line board, a plexiglass board that is brightened by natural light and battery operated LED light boards with black lines or a specialized foggy image printed on it. We use a suction cup to attach it to the vehicle with a flexible arm called a Loc line so we can bend it in any position. This board is a portable reference to use while we repair the dent and it makes the fine details of the dent much easier to see.
Next are the specialized metal rods. These come in all shapes, sizes and lengths but they are generally long and skinny to access the tight spaces behind your vehicle’s panel. We use these to push the bottom of the dent up.
Finally, we use various hammers with an assortment of nylon or polished metal knockdowns to tap down the high spots of the dent.
This is an alternative to the typical paintless dent repair technique because some dents are not accessible from behind. Using glue designed for this process, a plastic tab is fixed to the dead center of a dent. Then a puller is positioned and the technician carefully lifts the plastic tab, and pulls the dent out with it. Not all PDR companies use or excel in the art of glue pulling. This is a very specialized component of PDR and it is essential that it is done correctly.