It’s one of the most frequently asked questions in the world of auto recon: what is PDR? Read on to learn everything you need to know on the topic.
PDR, also known as Paintless Dent Repair or Paintless Dent Removal, is the method used to repair hail damage, door dings, body creases, and minor dents on a vehicle. As its name suggests, PDR does not involve any paint or fillers. Compared to standard dent repair, paintless dent repair restores a vehicle to like-new condition in a way that is faster, less expensive, and even more environmentally friendly,
How does PDR work?
Highly-skilled technicians use specialist tools like body picks and metal rods to push the dent out from the inside.
The PDR technician will first assess the damage. The goal is to find out how big the dent is, how it can be accessed, and whether PDR will work.
The next step involves gaining access to the back side of the dent. Parts of the vehicle, such as headlamps, may have to be temporarily removed to access the car panel. Once there is a clear pathway to the dent, the process can begin.
Slow pressure is used to gently push the dent outward and restore the exterior to its original condition. It might sound simple, but PDR is a carefully honed craft. That’s because without the required training, an amateur could easily push too hard and cause the dent to bulge outward.
What kind of damage can paintless dent repair fix?
PDR is a great solution to fix most minor dents, door dings, body creases and hail damage. As long as the surface of the paint work is intact, PDR is normally the best option.
If the dent is too deep or the paint has been damaged, a combination of paintless and traditional repair methods may be required.
How long does PDR take?
A PDR service will typically take a few hours to complete, depending on the severity of the dent. As a result, many shops offer same-day service.
For bigger jobs, such as hail damage covering the entire surface of the vehicle, PDR can take a few days.
How much does PDR typically cost?
One of the most complex challenges in PDR work is pricing it. Every job must be handled on a case-by-case basis and there are a number of variables that can affect the overall cost of the job.
Many PDR professionals choose to use technology to help them earn more money, save time, and look more professional.
The Mobile Tech RX PDR estimating app, with its built-in VIN scanner and hail matrix, lets you focus on the work while building a better business. Its Comparative Pricing feature shows you panel replacement costs, NADA vehicle values, and x-ray photos of your vehicle. And the Price-A-Dent dent price guide allows you to create high-value PDR estimates and maximize profit with every job.
What’s the difference between paintless dent repair and traditional dent repair?
As we’ve already mentioned, PDR is more efficient and less costly than traditional dent repair.
Conventional dent repair is achieved through working the metal, filling the dent, sanding, and then painstakingly re-painting and blending. Using this traditional process to repair the dent is far more time consuming, labor intensive, and expensive than PDR.
That said, in some cases, both traditional methods and paintless dent repair are required to repair the vehicle to its original condition.
What are the different types of work?
There are a few different types of business models you can consider if you decide to go into PDR work. While some technicians opt to offer them all, others choose to specialize.
Retail PDR businesses have a brick-and-mortar location and work with customers who come into the shop directly for minor dents or door dings.
Wholesale PDR technicians will partner with a handful of dealerships and do regular dent work for them. They normally offer a flat rate per vehicle and work on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule. The wholesale business is very suitable for mobile techs who don’t have a physical shop.
Hail damage PDR technicians are often mobile so that they can chase hail storms to find business. Given the nature of this type of work, it’s far more seasonal. (The hail season normally runs from March to October.) Hail damage techs must be able to deal with insurance claims and insurance adjusters.
What does it take to become a PDR technician?
Learning the craft takes time, patience, and good attention to detail. It also involves working with your hands.
There are a number of technical trainings and classes available, including online options. However, many in the industry recommend choosing hands-on training. Training will typically take at least one to two weeks, with advanced workshops or training in addition to that.
For those hoping to gain a certification, the Paintless Dent School provides a certificate of completion to every graduate.
If you’re looking for a more cost-effective route, some PDR businesses offer free courses, which lead to paid onsite training.
What tools and technology are used?
PDR technicians require a kit of specialist tools. A kit typically includes metal rods, flat bars, whale-tail shaped leavers, hammers, ratchets, knockdowns, and hot-melt glue systems. Here is a round-up of some of the best PDR toolkits on the market.
The Paintless Dent School offers a tool package that is customized according to your training and budget. Students train with the school’s tools and receive their tool kit after they’ve graduated.
There is also technology, like the Mobile Tech RX app, which is designed specifically to help PDR technicians look more professional and make more money. The technology cuts invoicing time, increases estimating speed, and increases revenue per job.