The condition of your car often shows what type of person you are.
Driving around town with unsightly dents and dings is embarrassing, it paints the image that you’re careless and bad at driving, but really, you just can’t afford the prices body shops are quoting to fix your vehicle.
With minor dents and dings often costing over $300 to repair, the only cheap option left is to attempt DIY PDR.
Choosing a paintless dent repair kit can be a little bit overwhelming at first. You probably don’t know what tools you’ll need, why you need them and what to pay for them. I know when I started out, I definitely didn’t.
To make life easier for you I’ve compiled some crucial information and a list of Dent Repair kits that will allow you the best chance at success.
BEST DIY PDR KITS:
Most Complete DIY Dent Repair Kit: “GLISTON” 89 Piece Paintless Dent Repair Kit
Best Value for Money: “POWPDR” 56Pcs Auto Paintless Dent Repair Kit
Budget DIY Dent Repair Kit: “ARISD” Paintless Dent Repair Kit (Gold Dent Lifter)
Entry Level PDR Rod Kit: WHDZ PDR Rods Auto Body Dent Repair
5 reasons you should buy a dent repair kit
Cheaper than paying professional prices – While paying a professional will often result in quicker results and a better finish it’s very painful paying the prices that they ask, a lot of people will not be able to afford it either!
DIY kits offer you the opportunity to remove all shapes and sizes of dents with ease and will often cost you less than 1/10th of the price.
Spending your Saturday pulling out hail damage and knocking back high spots may be a better investment than parting ways with your hard-earned cash. Though when you get round to it, it might not feel that way!
Fix dents in your car quickly – I don’t like driving my pride and joy around town knowing it’s not looking the best it could be.
Having a pulling kit at home allows me to sort out any unfortunate dings courtesy of poor weather conditions or careless trolley drivers at the mall. I can go out onto the street and pull a dent within seconds, instead of having to wait for a mobile PDR tech or shop to do it.
Improves car resale value – The condition of your cars bodywork will have a huge effect on the resale value. Spending a little bit of time pulling the minor dents out may end up netting you an extra $1-200 on resale.
Learn a new skill – If you’re like me and enjoy being practical, learning PDR can be pretty interesting and a simple glue pulling DIY kit may open your eyes to a new hobby, side hustle or career.
FEELS GOOD MAN – Call me crazy but I love seeing things improve as a result of my actions. It’s a good feeling walking out to your car looking clean and dent free, but it’s an even better feeling knowing you removed the dents yourself.
Types of dent repair kits
PDR tools have one of two uses, they either pull metal into place or they push metal into place.
As a PDR beginner, you’re most likely going to be buying a pulling kit as well as a tap down kit (if it’s not already provided in your pull kit).
Read how to use a dent puller before you buy one, this way you know what you’re getting yourself involved with.
Glue Pulling Kit – This is by far the most common kit used. It’s fairly straight forward and there’s a lot of content on youtube you can watch if you’re struggling.
What’s great about Glue Pulling kits is that they often come with all the pieces you’ll need to remove a dent as an amateur.
When buying a glue pull kit you’re supplied with a dent pulling device, glue tabs that attach to it, PDR glue sticks and depending on the kit, a hot glue gun.
There are 3 types of glue pulling devices that are commonly used in these kits, I’d personally opt for a slide hammer when possible.
Suction Pulling Kit – I suggest you stay away from these. They can be effective for bigger dents and can even pull with 130lbs+ of force but they also seem to be the tool that is the least consistent at providing results.
You also have to buy lots of different sized pullers because the bigger ones don’t work on small dents. If you insist on giving suction kits a go, Manelord provides a cheap, quality looking puller but it is for big dents only!
Tap Down Kits – Tap downs are made of aluminum and have various different plastic heads that allow you to flatten high spots without scratching or damaging the panel you’re working on.
You’ll often find tap downs and hammers in many of the glue pulling kits. If not, you better buy one. Everyone in the industry owns some form of tap down device and you should too. They’re very useful.
Push from behind (Specialist PDR Rods) – If you want to operate as a professional PDR technician you will have to master the trade using specialist rods.
Specialist PDR rods are made in all different shapes and sizes with lots of different purposes. The main idea for each rod is that they allow you to access the back of a dent so you can gently massage the metal back into place.
Watch this video to see why the professionals get paid the big bucks!
Best DIY PDR Kits
There is an abundance of DIY PDR kits available to buy but which one should you choose?
Below is a list of the best PDR kits money can buy, I’ve included a kit for all price points so don’t worry if you can’t afford to spend over $100 on PDR, That’s probably why you’re doing it yourself anyway!
Most PDR kits come with an empty “alcohol bottle” this is for Isopropyl alcohol to clean the glue off after you’ve made a pull. You WILL NEED TO buy your own Isopropyl or Acetone.
Most Complete PDR KIT: GLISTON 89 Piece Paintless Dent Repair Kit
If you want the best tools for the job, you’re going to have to pay for that privilege. Glistons’ 89 piece set is the most extensive set I have found for the money.
It comes in over $100 but it provides you with every tool you could ever need for DIY PDR and will save you much more in repair costs!
This set gives you 3 dent pulling devices (including a slide hammer), a tap down kit, a glue gun ,8 glue sticks, numerous glue tabs and an LED Reflector board which helps you perfect those hellish highs and lows.
Thankfully for those of you who don’t want the hassle of having to watch videos on every single tool in the set, Gliston has created detailed picture guides with text teaching you just enough to get the finish you desire.
Gliston is so confident in their long-lasting product quality they offer 2 years warranty. If you find a way to break the robust dent removal tools in the first 2 years you own them, they’re happy to replace them or send you a refund!
Buy the Gliston 89 Piece PDR Kit on Amazon
Best Value for Money: POWPDR 58Pcs Paintless Dent Repair Kit
There’s a lack of PDR kits that offer more than a budget kit but not quite enough to be a premium option. POWPDR Clearly caught on and have released a 58 piece kit with 3 pullers, a tap down kit, a glue gun, PDR glue, and many different glue tabs.
The POWPDR kit misses out quite a lot of useful extras but the major item you miss out on when buying this kit over the Gliston one is the LED Reflective board.
When compared to our budget option, the benefits of the POWPDR kit become very obvious. You get a Slide Hammer, a higher quality tap down kit with various rubber heads and many more glue tabs.
This is a very nice kit for those that can’t afford to spend the extra cash on the Gliston kit. It’s a big upgrade on a budget option and is not too far away from being a premium DIY PDR kit. It also comes with 12 months warranty if you’re worried you don’t like it!
Click here to buy the POWPDR 58 Piece kit on Amazon now!
Budget PDR KIT: ARISD Paintless Dent Repair Kit (Gold Dent Lifter)
Now for a budget option, ARISD has released an affordable beginner PDR kit which comes with 1 Golden lifter, 1 bridge dent puller, 1 glue gun, 15 glue tabs, 10 PDR glue sticks, scrapers and more.
For the price, you can’t really complain, the build quality is good and you even get a plastic tap down tool in the kit. If you’re looking to learn PDR for less than $50, this set provides everything you will need as well as instructions on how to use each tool.
ARISD previously released a golden dent puller which broke easily, since then they’ve improved the build quality and released this set as a solution.
Just like Gliston, ARISD is offering a 2-year warranty on this kit. If you find any issues with this kit send it back to Amazon and receive a replacement or your money back.
It may take a couple of pulls but the ARISD kit will allow you to restore your car back to factory without damaging your bank account.
Purchase the ARSID kit on amazon today and make your car look brand new tomorrow!
Slide Hammer PDR KIT: ARISD Slide Hammer/T-Bar PDR Kit
I felt as though I should include a Slide Hammer kit because it’s by far my favorite tool and is very versatile.
Both the Gold Lifter and Bridge pullers require the feet to sit evenly on the panel so that it can generate force and pull the dent out whereas the slide hammer does not. Instead, you have to create the force by pulling the sliding rod backward. This method of pulling requires effort. if you’re not willing or able to use muscle, stick to the other devices.
ARISD have managed to keep the price low and the build quality high with this kit. It’s also fairly inventive as the slide hammer can double up as a T-bar.
As well as the slide hammer you’ll receive 16 Black glue tabs to fit all dents and 6 glue sticks. Unfortunately, like most low-cost PDR kits, you’ll need to supply your own glue gun.
You cannot go wrong when buying this ARISD Slide Hammer Kit from Amazon.
Entry-level PDR Rod Kit: WHDZ PDR Rods Auto Body Dent Repair
If you’re looking for a quick fix you’re better off sticking to the kits above. PDR rods probably aren’t for you.
As suggested throughout the article, If you are serious about learning PDR as a skill or trade you should buy a set of rods because it will allow you to practice like the professionals. Be prepared to learn about each rod and what sharp, flat and round ends will do for your finish.
Professional PDR is a huge learning curve and you should be prepared to invest thousands of hours into the trade.
If you buy these tools I’d suggest practicing on panels that are scrap, don’t try to use them on your prized possession until you know you can fix it. Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and your local breakers will have cheap doors and hoods you can buy to practice on.
The WHDZ 6 Piece kit is great for beginners, it’s an affordable price and gives you various different types of rods that will help expand your knowledge.
These are professional PDR rods built for the trade, they are not easy to bend, it is unlikely they will rust if looked after properly and they will not damage paint when pushing from behind.
Serious about learning PDR? Buy the PDR Rod kit on amazon now.
Tips for DIY PDR
Work from the outside in on bigger dents – When pulling bigger dents it’s important you work from the outside of the dent otherwise you could create one big high spot and it’ll become harder to work on the outer parts of the dent.
When working on bigger dents you’ll probably need to use a slide hammer, suction cup or PDR rods. The golden lifters and bridge pullers are often only good for small trolley dings and hail damage.
Buy a tap down kit – High spots are inevitable in PDR, especially if you’re using pulling kits. Do yourself a favor and invest in a tap down kit with a light hammer and various rubber heads.
It will allow you to quickly knock down any high spots without a care in the world and will cost you less than $25.
Don’t get frustrated – If you’re the type of person that gets easily frustrated, needs instant gratification and overthinks things then PDR probably isn’t for you.
When you find yourself getting frustrated, it’s important you remain calm and logical. If you cannot it’s best you walk away and come back later, or maybe try out a dent which is easier. The last thing you want to do is create more dents.
KEEP IN MIND:
There are always risks when performing PDR, while the kits are made to pull dents out of your car there is a very small chance that your paint is not in good enough condition for PDR. That being said, most modern cars without any signs of paint defects will be fine for PDR procedures.
Every dent can be fixed if you’re willing to put enough time, effort or money into it.
You need to remember you’re inexperienced and are using budget DIY Kits, don’t expect too much from these kits.
If you want to take your skills further I suggest picking up some of the best pdr tools and taking time to learn the trade.