If you’ve ever experienced a minor ding or dent in your car, you may have researched what is paintless dent repair and what is involved in the process? At Steve’s Detailing, we provide the finishing touch for this type of repair, which we can attest to being incredibly effective at restoring a vehicle to like new shape. Looking into the service ourselves, it seems that it will save you a lot of time and money, too. So, let’s talk more about what is paintless dent repair.
It has most likely happened to us all, at some point. You walk out of the grocery store, only to find that someone has dinged your car by hitting it with their door or bumper. Also, there are those little fender benders, when we should have given a little extra space between our car and the one next to us. The good news is that paintless dent repair can be just the remedy you need.
Paintless dent repair can rectify a broad range of damage as long as the paint surface is intact. It may be used on both aluminum and steel panels. Door dings, creases, dents, bodyline damage and hail damage, are just some of the more popular issues utilizing paintless dent repair, but not limited to those. It can also minimize the use of body filler when repainting. Usually the shallower the dent, the greater the chances of paintless dent repair being a suitable option. Experienced technicians can fix a large, shallow dent or a crease, to a satisfactory level, but paintless dent repair may not be the proper method for extremely sharp dents or creases. Ask your service shop what they can achieve for best results.
Techniques involved in paintless dent repair utilize metal rods and body picks to push out the dents from the underside of the vehicle body panel. Glue and specially-designed tabs may be used to pull out the dents from the outside of the panel. Finishing touches of the repair involve tapping down the repair to remove small high spots. Experienced technicians can blend high spots to match the texture of the paint, sometimes called orange peel. But if they push too hard, it may create high spots that cause the clear coat to split or crack, which of course is not a good thing. Avoiding cracking or chipping is the ultimate goal. When the damage is so high that body filler is necessary, a paintless dent technician can “push to paint,” fixing most of the damage before minor filling, sanding, and painting. This will save you time and money in the long run if the dent is large.
Technicians also use fluorescent lighting, LED lighting, or in some cases a reflection board to help them visualize the deformation of the dent and aid in locating the tip of the tool used to push out the metal, reforming it to the proper height. Without a reflection from a light source or board to read the dent, the fine detail of the process may not be suitable, and the results will be less than satisfactory. Paintless dent repair requires skill and a good eye, so be sure to find a company that knows their stuff and has the experience in this technique.
Since around the 1940s, “dingmen” have been “pushing” or “massaging” dents out of vehicles. An issue arose as the tools they used could not prevent cracking or creasing of the paint, and it looked like the art may be dying. However, in the early 70s and 80s, the auto industry started making thinner, more flexible metals for panels and roofs. This was ideal for the dent repairmen of that time. Cracking paint issues resolved and the quality of paint and clear coat improved. Now, tools have also improved, and dingmen can take out larger and larger dents. You can sometimes even find mobile paintless dent repair.
The pros of paintless dent repair:
- Same day turnaround, versus days in the body shop
- No deductibles or insurance claims
- Restores an original factory finish
- Environmentally friendly
- Repairs are gentle on your vehicle
- Cheaper than body shop repairs
- Repaired dents do not reappear
The cost of paintless dent repair will vary, but in general, you can estimate with these guidelines (without comprehensive insurance). Depending on the cause of the damage, such as hail, your costs will go down considerably if you are insured.
- Dent size and depth location will determine the cost
- Smaller, easier to reach dents will run between $35 to $45 per dent
- Medium sized dents will go up slightly to $45- $55 per dent
- Hard to access areas, such as roofs, jump to $60 to $65 per small dent and $75-$80 for large
Now, you could try to repair your car yourself, but the tools alone can be somewhat costly. Dentcraft Tools are probably the highest quality tools found online, but the 72-piece set alone will run you about $2000. That is much more than the cost to take it to someone who truly knows what they are doing. But if you would like to know how it is done and what type of specialized repair tools are often used to achieve the look, it may be worthwhile investigating the inside steps to how they pop out those little dents and get your car back to new again. The tools look somewhat like a jigsaw puzzle in some respect, so referring the job to a paintless dent repair shop is a good idea!
Now that you know what is paintless dent repair, the frustration of seeing the initial damage to your vehicle will certainly be an easier pill to swallow. There’s no need for a full, heavy-duty body repair at an expensive dealership or auto body repair shop. And there’s no need to go without your car for days on end. Of course, once your paintless dent repair specialist has finished bringing your car back to life, come to Steve’s Detailing for a buff, polish, and wax to make your vehicle feel brand new.