StormWise’s excellent reviews and hundreds of 5-star ratings make us regular recipients of complicated questions regarding what paintless dent repair can fix. Because we get a lot of the same questions, we have put together this guide to explain exactly what paintless dent repair can and can’t fix.
If you find yourself in a situation with a small dent or light collision, it may not be something you necessarily need (or want) to submit to your insurance company. In general, dent removal is much more cost-effective than having your car fixed at an auto body shop. The below guide will help you tremendously if you’re trying to consider if dent removal service may be an option for you.
What panels on a car can PDR usually fix?
If you’ve got a dent in one of the below panels, paintless dent repair may be an option for you.
- Hoods – generally speaking, dents of all shapes and sizes can be fixed on the hood of a car/truck/SUV. There are a few exceptions to this rule,
- There are some specialty hoods that have what we call a “honeycomb” reinforcement on the back side of the hood that we have a hard time fixing due to the fact that there are certain portions of the hood we can’t get behind. We’ve seen this in a few models of Cadillacs and also newer Ford Mustangs.
- Dents on the tip of the hood may also be a little more complicated, and depending on the size may or may not be able to be fixed with PDR.
- Roofs – almost all types of roof dents can be fixed with PDR. It will typically involve dropping your headliner for access, or if the dent is small enough, we can forgo the headliner access and use the glue pull technique
- Doors – most of the time dents on doors can be fixed, except in situations where there’s reinforcement preventing access to the back side of the panel. This reinforcement is typically found on the top of the door panel, right under the window.
- Fenders – usually we can just take out your headlight to access dents on the fenders, so these dents are pretty easy
- Quarter Panels – most of the time we can access the back side of the quarter panel by removing the tail light, going in through your trunk space, or by removing interior quarter panel trim pieces.
- Roof Rails – this is the panel on your car that blends into the quarter panel and is positioned between your roof and doors. There are reinforcements behind roof rails that really limit the size of the dents that can be fixed, as everything has to be glue pulled on a car’s roof rails.
Can Paintless Dent Repair fix Door Dings?
Absolutely. That’s really one of the most common uses for paintless dent repair services. It’s important to caution here that there is always a limit to what PDR can effectively fix. If the paint is cracked or damaged in some way, many repair shops will decline the repair due to the fact that the paint damage could be exacerbated by the processes PDR entails in the repair process.
Dent repair can either be performed on the back side of the panel by removing an adjacent interior trim panel, or it can be performed on top of the dent using a glue pull technique. Glue pull is only used when access cannot be readily obtained or safely manufactured to get to the back side of the panel for some reason or another (think roof rails, where there’s reinforcement behind the panel). Especially when glue pull will be required, there can be no paint damage to the dent for PDR to be able to be used, otherwise, the paint will simply pull off and no change to the dent will occur. We call this “pulling paint” in the industry. Pulling paint is always a risk when glue pull is performed, which is why it’s only ever done when there’s no other way to fix the dent. Typically your PDR specialist will advise you of this risk before the work is begun so you can make the best decision on whether to roll the dice with PDR or just head straight to a collision center.
Can Paintless Dent Repair be done to bumpers?
Unfortunately no. Typically bumpers are made of plastic, and paintless dent repair only works on materials that have Metal Memory, such as steel and aluminum. Anytime you have a dent on a material like plastic, typically that part will need to be replaced or have body repair and paint work performed. If you’re really seeking an economical repair on a plastic bumper that has a dent, you could possibly find a collision center that’s willing to skim the bumper with a plastic filler such as bondo, and then you would still need to paint the bumper to finalize the repair. This is not a common practice, as typically the labor that would be needed to get that bumper straight prior to paint will equal or exceed the cost to simply replace the bumper. But again, you can drive around to paint and auto body shops to see if anyone will do it for cheaper than the replacement cost. And if you do find someone to do that, usually there will be no warranty.
Can Paintless Dent Repair fix Motorcycle gas tanks?
This is an interesting question we get asked on a fairly regular basis. The answer technically is yes, however not all PDR shops will be equipped to fix a dent on a motorcycle gas tank. And it also really depends on the exact location… StormWise for example is not a shop that performs that repair, but there are definitely PDR specialists who will attempt it. It’s quite dangerous, as the tank will need to be completely emptied and cleaned out prior to fixing.
Can Paintless Dent Repair fix Refrigerator Doors?
This is another one that we always kind of chuckle at when we get asked. We at StormWise do not fix refrigerator doors, but I’m actually curious if other PDR guys would! No one that we know can perform that type of repair, but it definitely stands to reason that there’s someone out there that would! As long as there can be access to the back side of the panel and the material we’re working with has metal memory, one would think this type of repair is possible.
Can Paintless Dent Repair fix Shopping Cart Dings?
This is another big “if” depending on the level of damage the cart inflicted. The factors that are going to affect whether PDR can fix a shopping cart ding will be the size of the dent, the shape or “sharpness” of the dent, the location of the dent on the panel and whether or not the tech can get behind it, and whether or not there’s paint damage.
- Size: a good rule of thumb is that if the dent is longer than 5 inches, it may be outside the realm of what PDR can fix. Not for all dents, but if it’s getting beyond that 5-inch mark, that’s when the tech may look at it and tell you that this needs conventional (auto body and paint) repair.
- Shape and “Sharpness” of the dent: generally a small door ding the size of a quarter or smaller should be able to be fixed with PDR in almost any case. It’s when they get bigger that we have to look at their shape and sharpness. If the dent is creased or the indention is very sharp, that’s when you start to run a risk of PDR not effectively fixing it.
- Location of the dent – the main question here is can we get behind the dent? If we can, there’s a much better chance that PDR will work, just because the limitations of glue pulling are vast and it only works on smaller, flatter dents. If the dent is on a panel with reinforcements behind it such as a roof rail, that’s when we may not be able to fix it.
- Paint damage? A lot of times you can clearly see that the paint is cracked or scratched where the dent is. So if you can see that, it doesn’t mean that the dent necessarily can’t be fixed with PDR, but we ensure the customer is aware that the paint could look worse even if the dent is able to be fixed. There’s also paint damage that’s not necessarily visible. The paint has a certain level of flexion, but if the dent is really sharp, the integrity of the paint may be compromised already and then the PDR process could exacerbate that as well.
Can Paintless Dent Repair fix Light collision damage?
Light collision dents such as someone falling into or kicking a car, small dents from softballs, basketballs, or golf balls, or from having something fall onto a car such as a tool are all going to be able to be fixed with PDR assuming the dent is 5 inches or smaller, the tech can get behind it, there’s no paint damage, and it’s not creased or “sharp.” Sometimes it can be fixed to perfect and brand-new, and sometimes it can’t. Even if it can’t be fixed to 100% perfect, you may still be willing to have the dent repair performed, just simply to avoid that hassle that comes with typical collision repair and to avoid making a damage claim. Also, it needs to be on a panel that’s listed in FAQ #1. Therefore, if it’s on your bumper or wheel, it would not be damaged paintless dent removal can fix and could require paint or bodywork.
Can Paintless Dent Repair fix Hail Damage?
100%! PDR is truly the most effective way to fix hail dents with a high-quality result. Usually, ice does not create dents that are too sharp, and ice will not scratch or scuff your paint making it the preferred repair method for car hail damage. The great thing about using dent repair services for hail repair is it will save your factory paint warranty, plus companies like StormWise will even assist in making the insurance claim in many cases.
There are definitely situations where PDR will not be the most effective form of repair for hail damage:
- Sometimes the hail stones are 3 inches or larger, and this will create a dent that’s too big for hail dent repair without the use of conventional auto body and paint
- There are times when hail will hit near the edge of the panel next to reinforced portions of the metal, and the paint will then crack near that dent. We see this sometimes on hoods or roof rails when a large stone hits right on the edge.
- When there are too many dents on the panel to be worth PDRing it over replacing the panel. Your insurance adjuster or chosen hail damage repair shop will advise you on this if your car has really severe hail damage.
If you’re in the market for quality repair for hail damage in the Denver metro area, or the surrounding areas of Lakewood, Englewood, Aurora, and Wheat Ridge, we offer free pick-up and drop-off for hail damage repair services even in the farther-away cities of Colorado Springs and Greeley. Hail repair with StormWise comes with a lifetime warranty, a free rental car, and assistance with making your insurance claim.
Can Paintless Dent Repair fix Rock chips?
No. Rock chips by definition are chips out of the paint caused by rocks hitting your car while driving. Since paintless dent repair doesn’t repair paint, these repairs cannot be performed with PDR.
Can Paintless Dent Repair fix Body Line Dents?
Definitely, but there’s a limit. A body line dent is a dent that happens right over where a panel creases up or has a “body line” that’s part of the aesthetic design of the panel’s structure. Just because you have a dent on a body line doesn’t automatically disqualify it from being a PDR repair candidate. It depends on the access the tech can gain or manufacture, and more importantly, how skilled the technician is. Body line dents are difficult because the tech has to rebuild that line. It’s much more complex than the same dent that’s just on the surface of the panel, and will likely cost you 25-50% higher. It will take longer to repair, and there may be a guarantee of only “80% perfect” as opposed to something you’d never again notice. Even then, however, you’re still usually better off with a dent repair rather than a conventional one due to the cost, time consumption, and the fact that you can maintain your manufacturer’s paint warranty by not having aftermarket paint applied to your car. Especially if you have to turn your car back into the dealership because it’s a lease, that paint warranty is not something to mess with.
Do you have a question about the repair process that’s not listed above? Shoot us a text or call! (855) 830-4245. If it’s not something paintless dent removal can fix, we can definitely point you in the right direction.