Skip to content

When to Consider Paintless Dent Repair

When to Consider Paintless Dent Repair


One thing anyone who owns an automobile fears is returning from a shopping trip or outing and seeing a new dent or ding on their car, truck, van, or SUV. The danger is always going to be there, whether it’s from falling branches, runaway shopping carts, stray baseballs, car doors, or something else. Since most dents are cosmetic issues at best, you might opt to ignore it, but that could be risky. If you want to eventually trade-in your current vehicle, those dents could lower the trade-in value. Furthermore, untreated dents and scratches leave your vehicle susceptible to rust and corrosion, compromising safety.

And guess what? Repairing those small dings doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. You can get them removed easily with paintless dent repair.

What is Paintless Dent Repair?

Also known as PDR, paintless dent repair is widely considered as the most environmentally-friendly and swiftest solution to dent repair and removal. The method is non-invasive, does not require repainting, and does not harm the factory finish.

When PDR is performed by an auto technician, they follow crucial steps, such as:

  • Assessing the damaged area
  • Removing the affected body panel to see the extent of the damage from the interior side
  • Applying continuous and even pressure to the dent to smooth out the metal

Differences Between Traditional Dent Repair and Paintless Dent Repair

When you have dents traditionally repaired at a body shop, it typically involves filling the dent with a filler or paint that is then covered to match the rest of the exterior color. However, while this process does make the dents “disappear,” the actual problem is not being addressed. The dent is still there. Not to mention that the traditional process is expensive, time-consuming, and may negatively impact the value of your vehicle.

Paintless dent repair takes a different route. There are no fillers used, and sanding isn’t required. The process is much faster than the traditional method while costing you a lot less in bills.

How Paintless Dent Repair Works

We mentioned that paintless dent repair works with pressure applied to the damaged section of the vehicle and that no fillers are used. In the auto body repair shop, PDR is more like a dance. Sometimes, the technician has to get creative with how they even out the dent and make the damage invisible to the eye.

There are a series of instruments that an auto technician might use, such as knockdowns or tap downs, fender rods, whale tails, and pivot tips. They may pick up a rubber or slide hammer or brace tools, too. From there, the technician will remove the panel so that both front and back are exposed. They will begin from the backside, applying pressure to the dent so that the damaged portion is returned to the proper place.

To ensure that the metal has been restored correctly, the technician will shine a special light to check the smoothness of the exterior surface.

Sometimes the damage is far too extensive. When that happens, PDR may be applied first to get the metal back to as close to its original state as possible. Afterwards, the technician will fill in the irregularities, sand down uneven places, and repaint when needed. This method is also known as “push to prep” or “push to paint.”

What Kind of Dents Can Be Repaired With PDR?

Paintless dent repair is most often used for shallow dents, but even larger areas of damage that are several inches in diameter can be corrected. As long as there is no paint damage, PDR will work wonders.

Typical applications include:

  • Damage from gravel, pebbles, and small rocks
  • Hail damage
  • Bodyline damage
  • Fender benders or other minor collisions
  • Parking accidents and bumped car doors
  • Other dings of various sizes


The main factors that are considered include the location of the dent, the size of the dent, and the extent of the damage. Generally, most dents can be repaired with PDR, but there are some exceptions. For example, a ding close to the edge of a panel is going to require more effort to fix than one that is in the center of a body panel.

Does The Type of Paint Affect Paintless Dent Repair?

It might seem strange that the type of paint on your vehicle could affect a process with “paintless” in the name, but there is some influence. Automotive paint is made to have elastic properties so that it can expand slightly before cracking occurs. Some paints are able to withstand damage or stress for longer periods of time, making it more suitable for paintless dent repair.

Acrylic polyurethane enamel is water-based and far more elastic than the paint used on older car models, where a single dent could cause paint to crack and crumble. Since these modern pains are so flexible and resilient, paintless dent repair can completely repair dents without affecting the enamel on the body panel.

In the event that the paint is cracked or the scratching is down to the metal, PDR will be less effective. The dented body panel will need to be repainted.

Benefits of Paintless Dent Repair

There are plenty of advantages to choosing paintless dent repair over traditional dent repair. No wonder PDR has become the more popular option for car owners. Here are some of the benefits of paintless dent repair to keep in mind:

  • Paintless dent repair is a permanent solution. You never have to worry about the dent randomly reappearing one day. Once the dent has been repaired, the metal will retain its strength.
  • It is cost-effective. When you are looking for an affordable option, you will be amazed to find that PDR is inexpensive when compared to other methods.
  • Repairs are much faster than traditional dent repair. Rather than having to wait for an extended period of time and being inconvenienced by the lack of a car, you can enjoy a much faster turnaround time. Most PDR repairs take only a couple of days.
  • Extensive repairs are possible. Paintless dent repair is not solely for small dents or dings from a door. As mentioned above, you can use PDR in a number of occasions, including things like hail damage to something more extensive, like dents from fallen tree branches.

Bottom Line of Paintless Dent Repair

Consider paintless dent repair when your car has small dents or dings caused by things like hail damage or car doors. As long as the paint is unscathed, PDR is a quick and reliable option for removing unsightly dings.

Although there are DIY paintless dent repair options out there, it is best to see a professional to ensure the task is done correctly. At Elmer’s Auto Body, we will go the extra mile to make dents and dings disappear. If you want your vehicle to look like it did when you drove it off the dealership lot, come to us.

Give us a call today to schedule an appointment or to ask us your questions.

Contact us

Skip to content