Paintless dent repair(PDR), also known as paintless dent removal, describes a method of removing minor dents from the body of a motor car. A wide range of damage can be repaired using Paintless Dent Repair as long as the paint surface is intact. Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) may be used on both aluminium and mild steel panels.
The most common practical use for Paintless Dent Repair(PDR) is the repair of hail damage, door dings, minor creases, large dents and bodylines damage.
The method can also be utilised to prepare a damaged panel for repainting by minimising the use of body filler. This technique is currently known as "push to paint".
Limiting factors for a successful repair using Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) include the flexibility of the paint (most of today's refined automotive paint finishes allow for successful PDR) and the extent to which the metal has been stretched by the damage, which depends on the thickness of the metal, the curvature or flatness where the damage occurred and the intensity of the impact. Generally speaking, the shallower the dent, the greater the likelihood of paintless dent repair being a suitable option. Even dents several inches in diameter can be repaired by this method as long as the metal and paint are not stretched. Most experienced technicians can repair a shallow large dent or crease to an acceptable level, but very sharp dents and creases may not be suitable for Paintless Dent Repair(PDR).
Paintless dent removal (PDR) was invented by Oskar Flaig in February 1960 during the "International Motor Sports Show" in New York City, USA.
Oskar Flaig was an ordinary member of staff at Mercedes. His job was to take care of the paintwork of all the show cars presented at trade fairs. Damage, scratches on the paintwork and small dents, produced by the public during the day, needed to be re-painted at night, so the vehicles would be in perfect condition on the next day. At the trade fair in New York City, Oskar Flaig used a hammer handle to push out a small dent, so he would need to apply less filler before painting. Nevertheless, the result already looked perfect after pushing. This was the beginning of paintless dent removal. Paintless dent removal (PDR) was introduced to North American from Europe in 1983 by Dent Wizard International founder Natalio Balderrama, and consumer awareness of the method has grown in recent years.
In other forms of metal working, similar techniques of paintless dent removal, may have been employed as early as the 1930s in automotive assembly plants, and was popularised much later.
The most common PDR techniques utilise metal rods and body picks to push out the dents from the underside of the body panel. Glue and specially designed tabs may be used to pull out the dents from the outside of the panel. Fine tuning the repair often involves tapping down the repair to remove small high spots. Quality technicians can blend high spots to match the texture of the paint called orange peel. Pushing too hard can create high spots that cause the clear coat and paint to split or crack. Experienced technicians can avoid cracking or chipping with the use of heat, although a re-painted surface has a greater likelihood of cracking. Furthermore, it is unwise to "glue pull" a repainted panel, because you risk also pulling non factory paint off. When damage is so great that body filler is necessary, a Paintless Dent Repair technician may "push to paint", minimising the damage before filling, sanding, and painting, thereby saving time and cost.
The process of paintless dent repair requires a technician to manipulate precise locations of metal to the correct height, which can only be observed by the use of a Paintless Dent Repair light. fluorescent or LED lighting, or in some cases a reflection board, may be used to visualise the deformation of the dent and to aid the technician in locating the tip of the tool being used to push the metal. Without a reflection from a light source or board to read the dent, the fine detail of the process may not be suitable for the technician.