You don’t have to pay a lot to fix a dent on a car. Paintless dent repair is a much cheaper option when it comes to fixing dents on cars. Let’s look at what exactly is paintless dent repair, and how much does it cost.
What is paintless dent repair? Paintless dent repair is a technique that uses specialized tools to pop the metal back into its original shape without damaging the car’s paint. Also called PDR, paintless dent repair can usually be done in 60 minutes or less, depending on the damage.
What’s great about this technique is that it doesn’t require any sanding or painting. It can also be done quickly and doesn’t cost much.
How much does paintless dent repair cost? Paintless dent repair costs around $50 to $125 for smaller dents, up to $150-$500 for bigger dents. The cost of dent repair will depend on factors such as dent size, location of the dent and the material where the dent is.
Let’s look closely at how paintless dent repair works, what’s the cost, and how to do it yourself.
What Is Paintless Dent Repair and How Does It Work?
Paintless dent repair is a way of removing dings and dents on your car using special tools, without touching the paint. This means there’s no sanding, fillers, or paint necessary.
PDR can fix all kinds of dents caused by pebbles and road debris, parking accidents, as well as hail damage. Skilled technicians can also fix bumpers and dents of various sizes at almost any location on the body of the car. Paintless dent repair works for many reasons, but it should be done properly as well.
Benefits of paintless dent repair (PDR):
- It’s quick and effective
- Cheaper than traditional body shops
- No paintwork or sanding required
- No discoloration to your car
- No need to involve insurance
Technicians use many tools such as a dent puller (car dent remover) to pull the dent and recover the original condition of the car. The metal can be pulled by a glue pulling technique, while using knockdowns to massage the dent. Another way is to press the metal from the inside of the panel, and rods and body picks are used to massage the dents.
Here’s a great video with examples on how to fix dents with PDR, from Learn PDR Online:
They may also use other tools such as slide hammers and rubber hammers, as well as reflecting boards to carefully check the repair process.
Sometimes they heat the metal for easier manipulation. The body then becomes more flexible and easier to work with. All of this requires training and years of experience, given that there can be more than 100 different pieces of tools at their disposal.
How Much Does Paintless Dent Repair Cost?
Paintless dent repair can cost as little as $50-100 for light dents, $75-300 for medium, and up to $300-500 for larger dents. The cost will depend on several factors, such as the dent size, dent location, and the extent of the damage.
Here’s a PDR price guide so you can get an average feel of the cost:
TABLE – Paintless Dent Repair Cost
From the table above we can see that for smaller dents, it costs between $50 and 100 to fix a dent in a car door. The price varies a bit, but usually, it’s below $100.
A similar price is for bumper dent, as it costs about $50 to $100 to fix a bumper dent, with very few permanent effects. Usually, you won’t be able to see where the dent was afterward. Rear bumper dents can cost very low, and sometimes can be done in under 30 minutes.
When it comes to the cost of fixing larger dents, the price is slightly higher, and costs about $75 to $150 to fix a big dent on a car, sometimes up to $200. The price will depend on several factors mentioned below.
The table also shows that rear quarter panel dent repair cost is usually between $50-150 for smaller dents and up to $300 and more for larger ones.
The main factor for PDR cost is the size of the dent. The size categories are a dime, nickel, quarter, and a half-dollar. There is also baseball size dent and larger. All these categories are taken into account when determining the cost to pop out a dent. Once you calculate the cost, you may want to decide whether to involve insurance.
Regarding insurance and cars repairs, I wrote an article on when to involve insurance for broken car windows, which you may find useful.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Paintless Dent Repair
Here are the main factors affecting the cost of PDR:
- Size of the dent (dime, nickel, quarter…)
- number of dents
- dent location
- type of metal for body
- and for bumpers, the material (aluminum, carbon fiber, plastic…)
The size of the dent is the main one, but the extent of damage is important because if you have multiple dents, they add up to a higher cost. The location of the dent affects the cost because it affects the difficulty to fix the damage. Dent removal cost will depend on all these factors, and maybe a few more.
Paintless dent removal cost is cheaper than traditional bodywork, and it can save you time as well as money. With a skilled technician and minor damage, it will be as if there was no dent in the first place.
Paintless Dent Repair – How To DIY
Just like we can tint car windows by ourselves, we can learn techniques of paintless dent removal as well, but only a few can master them. If you’re looking to do some high quality PDR repairs, you may need higher quality tools such as these excellent PDR lights.
Here’s a quick guide on how to do paintless dent repair by yourself on a bumper:
Use a plunger
The easiest way to pop out a small or medium-sized dent is to use a plunger. Just splash some water on both the dent and the plunger and start pushing and pulling until it pops out. Make sure it’s a cup plunger (for sinks), and not a flange one (for toilets).
Use boiling water
You may encounter some difficulties with plastic bumpers. You can solve this issue by boiling some water and throwing it on the dent to make it more flexible.
Use a hairdryer and compressed air
Start by heating the bumper with a hairdryer at its maximum temperature, which will expand the plastic and make it more flexible. As soon as it gets hot, grab the can of compressed air, turn it upside down and begin spraying the area where the dent is. Cold air will cause the plastic to contract, and the dent will pop out.
Many times, it may be best just to have a professional do it, if the repair cost is reasonable. However, if you are determined to do it, here are more tips on how to do PDR yourself. Additionally, this video may help you as well:
Paintless Dent Removal Tools and Kits
It’s one thing to use a plunger to remove a dent, but entirely different to learn how to use professional tools. Even though it can be difficult, it’s still possible to start your own small business in the niche of paintless dent removal.
Keep in mind that it can take years to get good enough to start a business of paintless dent repair. Even after a few years, it takes time to become comfortable with all the tools. There are about 100 different pieces of tools, from PDR lights to slide hammers and knockdowns, and several techniques to learn. You can begin by getting a dent removal kit and start practicing.
To put it in perspective, it costs about $50-100 for the first small dent, and each subsequent dent is drastically less if you want to hire someone. However, every business starts small, and it always takes time to grow. What matters is that it’s possible. The first step would be to go to practice on some dented doors, or go and learn from a professional in your area directly.
You’re going to need some tools as well. Luckily, the cost of paintless dent repair tools for newcomers isn’t that high and is usually in the range of $100 to $200. You can do a lot of work with a starter kit. However, the advanced levels require you to invest a lot more and spend around $3,000 for a solid PDR kit.
You can get started with these paintless dent removal tools:
- OEMTOOLS Dent Puller Set (amazon)
- Anyyion Dent repair kit (amazon)
- Wcaro Dent Repair Kit (amazon)
- Keco Glue Pulling Starter Kit (for newcomers)
- Keco Robo Mini Dent Lifter Hail Kit (most popular)
- Keco Level 2 Glue Pull Repair System with cart (for advanced level)
- Dentcraft Tools PDR Tool Sets
These dent repair tools can be a great start not just for personal use but to provide service as a business. It takes watching some “how-to” videos and a lot of practice to become great at it, but if you take your time, they can be a great start to creating your own small PDR business.
To do high quality PDR work you need better tools, starting from best PDR Lights and light boards to various hammers, rods, bars and glue guns. The cost of paintless dent repair tools at can be in thousands, some of them above $3,000 for a complete set of tools. Then again, this isn’t a niche where you’d want to cheap out.
Is hail damage worth fixing and how much would it cost?
If the hail damage didn’t scratch the paint, then a good body shop can make those dents go away. Typical hail damage car repair cost ranges between $2,500 and $3,000 in the US. Smaller dents usually cost around $30 to 50, while larger ones can cost above $75.
How big of a dent can paintless dent repair fix?
Using specialized tools, paintless dent repair can fix almost any dent size, from a dent of the size of a dime, up to large impact dents. If the dent was too large, once it pops up slight damage may still be visible, due to the large area of the impact.