If you don’t already know, Paintless Dent Repair is the act of removing dents without having to repair paint.
Since there is no paint and refinishing required, paintless dent repair is normally cheaper than getting your car fixed at a traditional Bodyshop.
Remember, I said CHEAPER, not cheap. Paintless Dent Repair is still a skilled trade with repairs that can take many hours.
Sure, you can use a DIY PDR Kit to remove some small trolley dings and door dents, but for anything more, it’s best left to the pros.
How Much Does Paintless Dent Repair Cost?
There are many factors that decide how much Paintless Dent Repair Costs.
Generally, you will pay between $50-$125 for door dings and $100-$500 for larger collision dents.
If you’d like to know the cost of hail damage, it will vary massively based on the number of dents, as well as the size and location.
I suggest contacting your local paintless dent repair companies for a more accurate estimate.
Reading this article will give you an insight as to how prices are estimated but local companies can and will set their own prices.
Why Choose PDR over traditional Repairs
When it comes to vehicle refinishing it’s always best to take the least abrasive measures first, being able to restore the original panel without using body filler & damaging the factory paint job is always going to be the better option.
Below are three reasons why you’d choose PDR over body shop repairs:
Cost-Efficient – Every dent is different, some may require a lot more time and effort than others but in most cases, PDR procedures are quicker than a traditional repair as you don’t have to repaint the damaged area.
Less labor and no material cost = Cheaper repairs.
With PDR being a cheaper procedure, it’s often better value to pay for the fix yourself rather than making a claim with your insurance provider.
No downtime – When you put your car into the garage or body shop there’s going to be a period of time where you are without a vehicle unless it’s a chain shop with courtesy vehicles (Manufacturer body shops/Insurance work).
There are numerous technicians who will travel to your location and work on your car in your driveway or at a place of work. Traditional methods will keep your car in the shop for at least a day whereas minor PDR will take hours.
No risk of botched blends – Thanks to the fact you’re not actually repainting the damaged area there’s 0 chance of poor blends or paint mismatch.
You may find that the paint isn’t as flexible and is cracking, but experienced PDR techs will tell you this beforehand and direct you to a body shop to carry out the correct repair rather than risking further damage to your vehicle.
How Paintless Dent Repair quotes are estimated
The cost of paintless dent repair will vary between companies. The best thing you can do for yourself is shop around, get various different quotes, even from businesses online.
You’ll probably find that the smaller businesses are willing to offer you a better price, but they may also have less social proof meaning you could be scared to trust them.
For example, I once took a slight bumper scuff to a Bodyshop and received a quote for $600. I found an independent shop that repaired it for only $200 and it looked just as good.
Make sure to do your research, find a business or technician that has proven results and you feel like you can trust. Don’t choose someone just because their price is cheaper, that’s normally how you get burned.
Below is an idea of how each PDR company will assess damage and estimate repair costs:
Dents often appear smaller in natural light so a job may seem less effort to the untrained eye than it actually is. Body shops will properly inspect your vehicle using LED inspection lights generously estimating the time and labor cost based on their findings.
If the dent is located on a bodyline it will require more skill and patience to repair.
As a result, Bodyshops will have to use more experienced PDR Techs and will be a more time-consuming job overall hence the higher price.
Some Bodyshops will tell you they don’t do PDR on body-lines, whether that’s down to lack of experience or they’re trying to sell you a more expensive procedure I couldn’t say.
Make sure to get multiple quotes and see if there you can use PDR or if it’s a job that genuinely requires traditional panel beating and painting.
Ease Of Access
A lot of PDR jobs require you to get behind the dent and push it out. If a technician needs access to behind the dent but has to remove lights or pieces of trim to gain access to the dent, it’ll add time onto the job meaning you’ll have to pay more labor costs.
Dents that cannot be repaired using PDR
Unfortunately, not every dent can be repaired using PDR. There are 2 scenarios where you definitely can’t use Paintless Dent Repair.
If your paint is old and is already peeling in places, there’s a good chance that it’s not flexible enough to be pushed or pull back into shape without any further paint defects occurring.
Any good company will tell you the risks, ask if you want to continue or move on without risking making it worse.
Most PDR techs will only be willing to work on panels with minor stretches in the metal.
Cases where the metal is stretched to extremes, They’ll not be able to do anything. As a result, they’ll reject the job and refer you to a body shop with expert panel beaters and painters.
Holes, Piercing & Rust
It’s fairly obvious why these cannot be repaired with paintless dent repair. Any situation where the original metal is missing will require fabrication work.
Whether it’s welding or completely replacing the panel, it’s a little above a PDR Techs paygrade. This is when you would have to resort to using a traditional body shop or coachworks.
Paintless Dent Repair procedure
PDR is a very basic concept but completing a high-quality repair while being efficient takes a lot of skill and experience. If you’re looking to get into this line of work practice & patience is key.
Asses The Damage
Before the tech gets to work there are a handful of factors he will consider. While PDR is generally a procedure with little risk there are things that can go wrong.
Depending on the size of the business, you may find that the technicians are the ones doing the estimating.
Generally, an estimator and technician will both assess the car in a similar way except the tech will be looking and thinking about the quickest and easiest way to repair it.
Using PDR techniques on something that needs to be repainted anyway will be a waste of time and money, it’s much more efficient to do a traditional repair.
Accessing The Dents
Now that the damage has been assessed and photographed it’s time to start accessing the dents. Massaging the dents back to normal from behind is the safest and cleanest PDR repair technique so taking off trim and interior will be necessary for most jobs.
Experienced technicians will have tools for every job, you’d be surprised at the abundance of tools they have and where they’re able to reach. In rare cases where dents cannot be accessed from behind, slide hammers and glue may prove effective.
Make sure to read my other article and familiarize yourself with the best paintless dent removal tools that technicians will use to fix your car.
Performing the repair
Depending on the severity of the dent and the experience of whoever is executing the repair, repairs can range from minutes to hours, sometimes even days.
Some dents will require very little effort and will come out with gentle massaging, others will require a lot more attention.
Years of experience with the right tools will always trump someone that has all of the tools but no experience.
Is Paintless Dent Repair Worth It?
Only you can decide what your car is worth to you.
Paintless Dent Repair is definitely worth it on a high-value vehicle or supercar. If you have a $3000 car and the cost of repairs is $1000, it’s probably not worth repairing.
I personally ask myself 4 questions when deciding whether it’s worth repairing the body of my car.
- Can I afford the repair?
- What is the car worth?
- How much have I been quoted?
- How much do I value having a flawless-looking car?
Answer those questions and you’ll probably find that you no longer care as much about the damage on your car.
Getting your car repaired is a big deal, it costs a lot and you will want it to look perfect. A lot of the time, even when using professional shops, the repair is underwhelming.