We all try to keep our cars as pristine as possible, but tragedy inevitably strikes and dents and dings pile up over time. Although this kind of damage is only cosmetic, it can be painful to see blemishes all over your car's beautiful paint job. Luckily, modern auto body repair techniques offer many options to repair damage to your vehicle.
In the past, most auto body damage was repaired by hammering dents and dings out of the body. This technique can be effective, but it generally requires some amount of filling, sanding, and ultimately repainting. Painting, in particular, can be a costly affair since matching the existing paint on your car requires a highly skilled technician and may involve painting and blending over a much larger area than just the location of the damage.
A cheaper and more modern option is paintless dent repair. As the name implies, paintless dent repair (sometimes known as paintless dent removal or PDR) allows body damage to be repaired without the need to repaint the body. Additionally, paintless dent repair does not require any filling, which means that your vehicle's body panels will remain entirely factory original after the repair.
Paintless Dent Repair Limitations
Although paintless dent repair is the preferred option for many auto body repairs, it is not always the right choice. Paintless dent repair requires the underlying paint to be in good condition and also requires that the metal has not been too badly deformed. If the dent has caused your vehicle's metal to stretch, then paintless dent repair will not be a realistic option.
Likewise, any serious damage to the vehicle's paint will make paintless dent repair less valuable. If the metal has not been stretched then it is possible that normal paintless dent repair techniques can be used to repair the body panel, but ultimately the area will still need to be repainted with all of the extra cost, time, and difficulty that implies.
Advantages of Paintless Dent Repair
The two largest advantages of paintless dent repair are the cost and time. Whereas traditional body repair can require your car to be out of action for several days (or longer!), paintless dent repair can usually be done in a single day. Paintless dent repair is also significantly less costly than traditional body repair, both because it requires technicians to spend less time repairing the damage to your car and because there is no need to paint the body panel once the repair is complete.
A less apparent advantage of paintless dent repair is that your car remains factory original after the repair. Traditional body repair generally involves the use of a filler which is leveled, sanded, and painted to match the rest of the car. This is a perfectly effective way to repair damage, but it means that your vehicle's body panels are no longer as they were from the factory. This can affect the resale or trade-in value of the car, making traditional repair even costlier in the long run.