Paintless dent repair has been an important part of the automotive repair industry for over 30 years. Many motorists over the years have reaped the benefit of paintless dent removal. Paintless dent repair specialists have restored vehicles back to looking as good as new, but there are still a few myths flying around about this repair method. Let’s have a look at busting some of the top myths and misconceptions.
Paintless dent repair (PDR) causes the paint to stretch
This is one of the misconceptions when it comes to PDR, but it could not be further from the truth. Not all vehicles are going to qualify for PDR because the damage has already chipped or scratched the bodywork. In this instance, PDR would not be offered because you would need to have another type of repair altogether. PDR would be suitable if the metalwork had been damaged by someone’s car door opening onto your vehicle or a dint caused by extreme weather conditions, such as hail, for example. The PDR technician will use a range of techniques to work the metal from behind the dent and with gentle manipulation, pop out the hollow so that the surface is smooth again.
Technicians have access to a range of specialist tools with defined applications built into them such as plastic tips which lessen the risk of damaging the paint. Modern paint has the ability to be manipulated without losing its shape. Consequently, there is little to no danger of stretching the paintwork and risk seeing it crack in the future.
Dents get sucked out causing the metal to buckle
Another well-known myth is that PDR involves something like a cross between a sink plunger and a suction cup to pull out the dents in the car. With this type of pressure, drivers are under the impression that such force would end up cracking and damaging the metalwork of the car not to mention the paint job.
Contrary to popular belief, experienced and skilled paintless dent removal technicians use a range of specialist tools and techniques to remove the impact. They are trained to very carefully and slowly massage the dent from the inside of the panel of the car, while applying gentle pressure and supporting the external section. In this way, the metal skin, which is flexible, can be returned to its original position without causing stress fractures to the metal or cracking the paintwork.
Dents will come back after PDR
This is a myth. Modern vehicles are made from alloys that have a memory function (similar metals are used to make spectacles that you can twist and bend). This is all to do with the structure of the metal alloy which is also known as shape memory alloy. Once the metal on the car has received a dent and been massaged back into place by a PDR technician, it is not going to pop back into its damaged state. The metal framework on cars wants to return to its former structure, which is why when using gentle manipulations, it will easily return to its original shape.
DIY dent removal works just as well
Tempting though it may be to think that you can do just as good a job as the experts, this is not going to be the case and you could end up making things a lot worse. If you are tempted to turn to web browsing for a DIY solution, you will come up with a number of options. People advocate using everything from dry ice to direct sunlight and a rubber plunger to convince you that you will save yourself a lot of money and hassle if you try to pop out the dent yourself.
Professionals, on the other hand, utilize specialized body picks and metal rods to push the dent from underneath the body panel. Specially designed tabs and glue may also be used in order to pull dents from the outside of the bodywork. Technicians will then work their way across the impact by tapping down the repair which removes small high spots. They blend the high spots, so they match the surface of the paintwork, so it looks as good as the day it came out of the factory.
Technicians also have access to special lighting in the workshop which allows them to see and “read” the dent as they move along repairing it. Some very skilled technicians use normal workshop lighting or daylight, but specialized lighting is advisable. All of these techniques take a lot of training and practice so it’s not something for the unqualified DIY layman to attempt.
PDR can fix anything!
As good as PDR is, there are some types of damage that are not going to be repairable using this method. Your best option is to take the vehicle to an automotive repair shop dealing with smash repairs. Experienced technicians will be able to check out every ding, dent and buckle and confirm exactly what they will be able to restore on your car. The important thing to remember about PDR is that very sharp dents, chipped paint or collision-related damage cannot be repaired using this method.
The limiting factors, in this case, would be the extent that the metal has been stretched by the damage plus the flexibility of the paint. The stretch of the metal depends very much on the intensity of the collision, the thickness of the metal and the flatness or curvature where the damage occurred. The shallower the dent, the greater the success of using PDR.
All in all
Accidents will occur, but if you get a proper inspection and treatment by a paintless dent removal specialist, there are many chances that your car can return to its factory finish look without having to undergo a complete overhaul in an auto body repair shop.