Car Dent Repair 101

Five years ago, I was at the grocery store one busy, Friday afternoon.  The weekend rush was happening all throughout the aisles.  As I moved around the crowded store (pushing my cart aimlessly) something truly evil and sinister was taking place in the parking lot.  When I came out with my bags and found what any car enthusiast dreads, I knew the crime of the century had taken place – right there on my sterling gray metallic.

The moment before the disaster!

Wait for it… wait for it…

My beloved 2005 Ford Ranger FX4 Level II had been hit by the door of another car.  Granted, the structural integrity of my Ranger was unhurt but my ego had taken a massive blow.  That ding was staring back and laughing at me!

A small crater of agony pounding my automotive ego. Thankfully, I was about to attend Car Dent Repair 101. At the time, I had recently joined Sioux Falls Ford as a sales consultant and so I spoke with the guy at our dealership that specialized in Paintless Dent Repair, or “PDR” as it is commonly referred to.  After he had a go at that awful door ding (thank you, Brandon) I could take anybody to that side of my truck, point to the area where it was and hear them respond with: “wow, it doesn’t even look like anything was there.” And that’s just it.  Paintless Dent Repair is seamless.

The integrity of my factory paint was upheld and my resale value was unaffected.  PDR uses special tools called “rods” and “picks” to literally iron out a dent from behind.  PDR does have its limits, however.  It won’t repair larger indentations and impacts but for smaller blemishes like door dings, hail/rock dents and minor dimples it can really work wonders. Master technicians will even use high powered lights to examine the surface and to make sure said dents are ironed out consistently and evenly, without cracking the paint.

Toyota truck paintless dent repair

If done correctly, it’s impossible to tell PDR work was even completed.

Think of it like automotive art and science.  The technician must have hand-eye coordination when operating the tools and be able to tell which dents can and cannot be fixed.  In the case of hail damage, the tech must locate the dimples that seem to blend in and disappear within the paint.

Ferrari door ding repair

PDR takes a good eye, good training and lots of patience.

While PDR is designed for after the fact, chip guard and window tint provide preemptive protection.  I have become big advocates of these, especially since part of my automotive career revolved around high end, luxury cars. 

Window tint keeps out harmful UV rays and denies would be snoopers visual access to personal items.  Chip guard does just what it says: think of how many times rocks are kicked up by another vehicle.  Chip guard is applied most commonly to the hood, fenders and mirrors as these areas are notorious for taking rocks, pebbles, sand, salt, gravel and everything else imaginable on the road that can create chips and cracks.  Chip guard also does an excellent job preventing corrosion and is extremely resilient in all types of weather.

Window Tinting

Window tint can be installed on any vehicle.

Protection is a must but so is curb appeal.  That said – things like paintless dent repair, window tint and chip guard are little, yes, but they make a big difference on any car or truck.  They give protection and curb appeal simultaneously.  Car buffs (like us) would do well to employ them on our own ride and recommend them to our trusting friends and family members who seek our advice on what to do about their own vehicles.

Most dealerships and independent body shops offer these services.  When purchasing a new car, the window tint and chip guard can sometimes be added before taking the vehicle home – Finance and Insurance Managers will know so ask them.  There are also certifications for technicians in PDR, window tint and chip guard so be sure to check and make sure the person doing the work is certified.

Like I said, these things are an automotive art and science – not something anybody can just do but they are services anybody can take advantage of.

Oh and I never did find out who dented my beloved Ranger but I am sure it was an angry Chevy owner:

Typical Chevy Owner

Typical Chevy Owner…

Have you ever had paintless dent repair done on your car? How did it turn out?


Filed Under: Car CareCar OpinionsCool StuffEditorialsFeatureHow-To


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