The Truth About Paintless Dent Removal

May 5, 2004 by
Filed under: Uncategorized 

There?s been a lot of grumbling lately about the effect Paintless Dent Repair is having on traditional body shops. Many shops are embracing the technology, but there are many that are whining louder than a litter of hungry piglets. Why are they upset? The same reason they are charging labor rates 60% of what they should be charging.

It?s no secret to regular readers of this column that I think the collision repair industry consists of one of the most ignorance laden group of business people in our economy. And when these people can?t understand something, or when they can?t cope with a new problem, instead of learning more about it, they throw a tantrum. Aside from being amusing entertainment for those of us who are blessed with enough gray matter to formulate an educated opinion, these tantrums serve no other purpose than to tattoo the forehead of the tantrum thrower with the word ?Idiot!?

PDR has been around in one form or another for decades. Those of us who haven?t taken advantage of the technology in some way by now might want to consider repairing cars in Afghanistan. At least there they will respect the Cro-Magnon mentality. If work gets slow there, and there aren?t enough old Toyota pick ups with bullet holes to repair, one could always sideline in camel crotch flea removal.

As in conventional collision repair methods, there are butchers and hackers in the PDR business. As there are so-called body men still using the ?cave and pave? method of dent repair, there are still PDR techs drilling golf ball sized holes in door jambs to access dings because they are either too lazy or too stupid to remove an interior panel. It is not the repair methods used that are deficient, it?s the brains of the technicians using the methods that are deficient.

The complaints I?ve been reading and hearing from disgruntled shop owners are varied. One of their biggest complaints is that after a hail storm the hail teams invade the town and take all the work. That sounds like a legitimate gripe. But instead of working on a solution for that particular problem, the chorus starts singing a different song, trying to discredit the method as harmful to the vehicle. They tell anyone who will listen that PDR ruins the corrosion protection, cracks the paint, the dents come back once the hail team has left, blah, blah, blah.

These are some of the most ridiculous arguments I?ve ever heard. To argue that rubbing a little coating off the inside of a galvanized door skin is more harmful than grinding the paint, primer and zinc coating off the outside of the skin, covering it with body filler, primer and more paint, is moronic. It?s a desperate attempt at manipulating the hearts and minds of other people, when what needs to be manipulated is the hearts and minds of those body shop owners and technicians who find PDR offensive. Instead of making good use of PDR, many are trying to discredit the method. Instead of training a technician in PDR they shun its use. Instead of offering their customers an inexpensive option to traditional repair methods they ignore the benefits of PDR.

PDR has its place in our industry. It is here to stay. Anyone who doubts this, anyone who turns their back on this technology is doomed. When done properly by a well trained technician, and in the right circumstances, A PDR repair is as good as or better than a repair done using the traditional methods. The myths spread by those ignorant few who refuse to evolve, those whose hemorrhoids are wrapped tightly around their neck, are so ridiculous that one wonders how their pathetic little minds summoned the creativity to come up with them. I?ve read that dents repaired using PDR reappear after a short time. I?ve heard people say it voids any manufacturer?s corrosion warranty. They say it will cause rust (How many rusted panels have you seen that have been repaired the old way?) because it damages the panels corrosion protection. They tell people the paint will eventually crack and peel (Yes, the paint may crack but only during the process.).

Paintless dent repair is not mysterious. It is not a trick. PDR uses basic principles that every body technician should know. But it goes way beyond the basics and those principles are refined. It takes lots of practice to achieve the skill level needed to make invisible repairs. Because of the refined skills needed, few auto body technicians have the patience to learn PDR. Because we run our businesses so poorly, where craftsmanship is measured in cycle times and efficiency rates instead of quality, most of today?s technicians are parts changing robots without the discipline needed to learn PDR. My shop is no exception.

We sublet all of our PDR work. It?s like adding an extra technician without the extra expense. Even with marking up my cost 100%, it still gives my customers a low cost alternative to traditional repairs. I offer it as an option on every suitable dent. We use it as an up sell on as many vehicles as we can. We?ll do a major repair and then offer the customer the opportunity to have all the small door dings removed at a very low cost.

I?ve been using paintless dent removal for about ten years. I?ve dealt with PDR companies that did great work, and companies that were total hacks. It?s no different than any other business. I?ve never had a car come back with a problem related to any of the myths told by the bitter fools who refuse to change with the times. If we ever have a hail storm I will welcome a PDR hail team. It would be like having a bunch of temporary help.

This industry is changing fast. In the next ten years there will be some dramatic innovations in car manufacturing. Keeping up with the changes are crucial for any shop wanting to be around in the next decade. If shops are having a hard time acclimating to paintless dent repair, how will they ever deal with the big changes? Those of you who embrace technology will survive. Those of you unwilling to change, to grow and evolve with the automotive industry will find yourselves working at some Indian casino or flipping burgers somewhere. But then, that?s probably a good thing for our industry.

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13 Comments on The Truth About Paintless Dent Removal

  1. Joe Hutchins @ Dents,Dings &Colors INC. on Wed, 5th May 2004 4:12 pm
  2. I have been in this industry for approximately 26 years in one fashion or another.I love my career no matter what the hang ups are with it.Our shop welcomes any and all PDR repairs.We have a factory trained technician on staff.(that would be me.)No matter what you think of PDR it is a great repair method.It requires a lot of skill and patience.It is more profitable than any other repair the shop can do.Let’s face it,The INS. companies still do not have a leg to stand on when it comes to pricing it.Hence, I have control! However they are doing a good job trying to take the profit out of it. (FYI ALL OEM FACTORIES USE IT)

    Joe, I agree 100%. I wish I could make 50% gross profit on everything else we do. As far as OEM’s using PDR, that’s where the industry was born.

  3. Double on Thu, 6th May 2004 11:19 am
  4. We sublet all our PDRs for the time being. Not much hail around here.
    One note though…
    Toyota does not approve Paintless Dent repair per Collision Repair Information Bulletin # 60.
    It sites, among other things, microcracking of paint and using wedges that will alter the designed pressure between the belt mldg and Door glass.

  5. hitfixer on Tue, 11th May 2004 6:06 pm
  6. Don’t forget to charge for access time & inner refinishing

  7. butch on Tue, 15th Jun 2004 1:57 pm
  8. I have been in the PDR business for 10 years…we have 2 response teams and over 50 tech’s available for a hail storm. I have worked retail, bodyshops and for dealers. All our lead techs are vale national certified master craftsmen in paintless dent repair.
    PDR is a great business..if you need knowledge just ask! 1-888-488-4245(HAIL)

  9. d lector on Sat, 6th Nov 2004 2:50 pm
  10. well said.

  11. Jon Redfern on Sun, 25th Mar 2007 10:32 am
  12. Double,

    Toyota has reconsidered their stance. PDR is now an approved process. See TSB #146 September 2006.

    The truth is Toyota factories have used the process for many years also.

  13. King of the Ding on Wed, 9th Jun 2010 3:18 pm
  14. The many benefits of this new art form of Paintless dent repair is amazing. I wonder, and this is a new topic, with the millions of panel repairs being performed every year and those panels being saved from the conventional grind, sand and paint methods.Are having a positive affect on the environment.

  15. King of the Ding on Fri, 3rd Dec 2010 1:45 am
  16. Paintless Dent Repair is here to stay. The boundaries of what can be repaired are constantly being improved. Insurance companies are saving billions. Body shops would be wise to develop relationships with the best PDR companies in there area because insurance adjusters are writing things like hail damage for Paintless dent repair. PDR is no longer an option it is the preferred method for these types on repairs.

  17. Jeff Schueler on Sun, 1st Jul 2012 10:19 am
  18. 16th year doing PDR it is a better alternative than cutting off roofs as with any job they must always be dealt with on a case by case basis. When you deal with experienced professionals it makes all the difference. Yeah I did PDR at a toyota port when that toyota comment was put up, just sayin!

  19. Tim on Wed, 31st Oct 2012 12:00 pm
  20. I wanna get in pdr so bad but dont 10 grand for tools and private training.any help plz by s.louis in illinois thx Tim

  21. Jeff on Fri, 21st Aug 2015 5:07 am
  22. I had a dent taken out of the side of my pickup on the bed and a couple years later I had rust right in the middle of the panel. I guess when they pulled the dent it broke the bond where their was double sided steel pancaked togeather and water got in and rusted it.

  23. Bill Holick on Thu, 7th Apr 2016 3:40 pm
  24. All the brokers need to get the hell out of the business. You can check Montgomery county records and see that I’ve been doing this for well over 20 years. I use to do just dealerships, i could walk to the manager, ask if i could walk the lot and when they heard i did dents i was there best friend it seemed. It was easy to get work back then. Now everyone says 20years experience. I challenge. You see my name and county I’m from you’ll see Superior dent removal. Lets see who really has 20+ in this business. Brokers, learn it ALL or get the fuck outAnd

  25. Jeff on Fri, 8th Apr 2016 9:57 pm
  26. Lose a gig to a broker Bill? They’re not a favorite of the independent U.S. hail Tech but there is a place for hail brokers, honest, educated , connected, diligent, yup a rare breed but they are out there. Don’t be so hostile there’s a lot of negative entities in the dent business don’t be one, stay professional sell on quality, turn around time no drilling and your winning attitude, most importantly represent the industry in a positive light you’re a part of it! Best of luck

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