Gaining access to dents for PDR is one of the many interesting, and sometimes challenging, aspects of this trade. In this article, I will briefly describe the basics of a PDR repair, how a PDR technician approaches the repair, and how access to the dent is achieved.
How is a Paintless Dent Repair Done?
Paintless Dent Repair, or “PDR” for short, is the manipulating of the damaged exterior metal or plastic on a vehicle. The PDR process involves reshaping the skin back to its pre-damage condition with the use of special tools that push, pull, blend down, and flex both the backside and the front side of the metal. With that said, most of the repair process is actually pushing the metal from the backside.
Special tools with blunt or sharp tips are used, with leverage, to push that low metal back up to its original place. The tools are often just simple metal rods with handles. After that, a PDR light is used to cast a reflection on the glossy exterior finish, the technician will then put a light push with their tool. This “test push” bends the light reflection and allows the tech to know exactly where the tool tip is.
How Does a Tech Approach the Repair?
Before a paintless dent repair can be done, the technician usually draws up a plan of action. This process considers a whole variety of variables about what approach should be taken. A right plan can save the technician a bunch of time and energy. Above all, It will almost always help give the technician the best chance for a clean and successful repair.
The tech will consider:
- The year, make, and model of the vehicle
- The particular panel that is damaged
- The location of the dent on that panel
- The condition of the paint finish
- The integrity of the metal
- The hidden components or bracing that may be in the way
- The tools that would work best given the accessibility options
Gaining Access to the Backside of the Damage
Once the tech has considered all these things the only thing left to do is to work at getting access to the backside of the metal skin where the dent is located. Every panel presents a different strategy and some panels cannot be accessed at all. If this is the case, Plan B is usually considered (glue pull process or push to a conventional repair).
Gaining access to dents can only be achieved with a little bit of R&I. This “R&I” procedure simply stands for “Remove and Install”. For instance, If the damage was on the roof the tech would need to R&I the headliner. If the damage was located on the decklid or hatch, the plastic interior trim would need to be dealt with. In addition, you will find a video below of a repair that was done today in our Post Falls shop on a Chevrolet Equinox rear quarter panel. The video shows how we gain access to these challenging panels.
If you are in the Eastern Washington or North Idaho area (Spokane, Liberty Lake, Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene, Hayden) and are interested in a paintless dent repair from Dent Viking, please contact us at your convenience. 208-625-9006
Also, please find answers to other questions on our FAQ page.