You know that sinking feeling when you arrive back to your car from a trip to the shops and there’s a dirty-great dent in the door that wasn’t there before? Ninety-nine times out of a hundred the person who caused the damage will be long gone, leaving you with the bill to sort it out – and I speak from experience! About a year ago we bought a new (to us) family car, a 2011 Passat estate. It was the most expensive car we’d ever bought. We’d had it a week and went to the playground with the kids. When we came back to the car there was huge dent and a big red scuff mark on the rear door. Parked next to us was a big red people carrier, whose rear door lined up perfectly with the new dent in our car. Miraculously, along with the dent, came a very apologetic note from the driver of the people carrier (see, there are still good people out there!) Anyway, long-story-short it was all sorted out through their insurance and I digress because the point of this tale was to do with the bill for the repair job – it was a whopping €800 +vat! to repair a car parking ding! Now if I’d had to shell out that kind of money myself I’d be apoplectic with rage!
What i didn’t know about at the time was another potential, and much cheaper solution called paintless dent removal.
What is paintless dent repair?
It is exactly what it says. It’s the process of removing a dent from your car without needed to use paint or filler. In a nutshell, this process involves gently pushing pulling and massaging the dent out of the car’s body assuming the original paint job of the vehicle is not damaged. Paintless dent repair has been around for a number of years but only recently have we seen more and more of this practice. Traditionally if you have a dent or damage to your vehicle you would call into a local body-shop and ask for a price to repair the damage, you would find yourself facing a few problems.
1.You would have to leave your car in for at least 24 hours.
2.The price quoted would be at least three figures (Above €/£ 100).
3.You would have to use filler and try to match the original color of the car which if not done right can stand out a mile.
4.With the cost being so expensive you can sometimes find yourself needing to claim from your insurance or break out the piggy bank.
With paintless dent removal, the process is made a lot easier and not as painful on the pocket. The benefits of paintless dent removal are
1.Can be done at your work or home.
2.No paint or filler required leaving your car in original condition-Perfect for classic cars.
3.Dents can be removed for as cheap as €/£50 depending on the size and placement of the damage.
4.No problem with your car being 50 shades of gray.
5.It can be done faster than you can say #Thatgobshiteisafterhittingmycar….try it.
Recently we heading down to the paintless dent removal experts Dentpro.ie with Project GTI to see how paintless dent removal is done. We also let Marty take a hammer to the driver’s wing of the car and let the use the paintless dent removal technique to reduce the chance of Marty getting fired for damaging the golf-Hell it was fixed that fast we set out another challenge for them.
The Paintless Dent Removal Process
We set Dent pro the challenge of removing this massive dent from the wing of a 2015 Seat Ibiza as you can see in the image above. The guys wanted to point out that this was an extreme example of what could be fixed but was confident that the team could fix it. Every vehicle and dent that arrives in the workshop are different no two dents are the same. This means that they have no predetermined steps of how to remove a dent from your car.
When the car arrives the PDR ( Paintless Dent Removal ) tech will access the damage and see what they see fit the best way to repair the dent. They need to look at how are they going to access the rear of the panel so they can push out the dent using the specialist tools.Generally, they are bespoke tools and many PDR techs will end up manufacturing their own tools for the specific job on hand. Once they have access granted that will use it to massage the panel back into original condition.
What if they don’t have access to the rear of a panel?
The paintless dent removal technician does not have access the to rear or the panel is smooth they have other weapons of choice in the form of hot glue and a slide hammer. They have different tabs which they apply onto the panel itself and using a slide hammer they can start to pull the dent out. A combination of all the tools will also the technician restore the panel back to its original profile.
The most Important Tool for paintless dent removal
Among all of the tools that the technician would use the light is considered the most important of the lot. They choose the LED type light and place on the far side from himself so that he is facing the dent and his eyes are in alignment with the dent. At various points of the process, you will see the technician hammering down on your bodywork! Yeah, they also need to hammer down any high points which appear in the paint. The team said to “ Think of a stone dropping into a pond, the ripples from the stone will create high points in the water” or in this case the paint. Hammer down on them gently returns them back to normal. Although it doesn’t look like the hammer is actually doing anything but the team is always rubbing the panel down by hand to feel any high points in the panel.