Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Written by Sara Routhier
Director of Outreach

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florid...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Jun 22, 2022

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Dents make your vehicle look unappealing especially if your car is new. Sometimes, people judge you and your driving skills only by looking at a dent in your car. Thankfully, there is a faster and cheaper way of removing dents today.

What is PDR in car repair? Paintless dent repair (PDR) is the process of removing dents in your car without the need for repainting.

Except for very small dents, doing this type of service on your vehicle as a DIY project is usually not recommended unless you have a history of repairs.

The service is done by using specialized tools by gently massaging the area behind the dent until it goes back to its original form.

This process has become more popular because it’s effective in making the vehicle look brand new. But does paintless dent removal work? Like most car repairs, it depends, and there are advantages and disadvantages to this technique.

Knowing the positive and negative factors can help in comparing paintless with the traditional dent repair and in making a more informed decision when you choose which service to take.

Note: Very few consumers are aware of the process of paintless dent repair also known as PDR. When done by a good technician the dent can look if it was never there. Techniques have been developed to repair dents the size of a football. Whereas before it was only the size of a tennis ball.

Is paintless dent removal any good?

Below is a quick overview of the advantages and what type of dent can be fixed.

I will go into more details for each.

What Can Be Fixed by Paintless Dent Repair
What Can Be Fixed?Advantages
From very small to large dentsNo repainting or body filler needed
Generally 1990 model year and newer vehiclesLess expensive than traditional body repair
The paint has not been broken or crackedNo risk of paint overspray on other vehicle areas
The panel has not had previous body repairNo risk of incorrect color matching
The dent is not near the edge of a panelVehicle retains original paint

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It’s Cost-Effective

It is cheaper than traditional dent repair because there is no need to use paint and fillers.

The average cost for non-paint dent repair is from $75 to $125 for one dent and depending on the vehicle. Multiple dents from hail can cost over $1,000. Whereas for regular dent repair the average cost is from $150 to $200 or more.

If you go with traditional repairs, you’ll have to pay for a professional car painter and their services can be quite expensive, not to mention that it’s quite difficult to schedule a visit with them.

So, before heading on to your go-to auto body shop for a car repair, consult with a skilled dent repair technician first and see if your car is qualified for the service.

It Takes Less Time to Finish

Unlike traditional repairs, paintless dent removal only takes a few hours to a whole day of work with the use of special tools.

If the dent is not too big, you can even wait at the shop until they are done with the repairs.

Some car insurance companies may waive the deductible if you can save money using paintless rather than traditional dent repair.

Traditional repairs, on the other hand, take a lot of work.

The vehicle needs sanding and then respraying.

With paintless dent repair, your car will retain its original paint, and this is why it does not take long to finish the job.

The Factory Paint Warranty Remains Valid

There are car brands that offer warranty on the car paint.

When vehicle dents are fixed through traditional repair where repainting the car is done, the warranty is no longer valid. 

With paintless repair, repainting is not necessary, which makes its warranty valid.

Note: Technicians need specialized tools to do repair work. Since there isn’t a need to paint or use fillers you can get the job done in a day or so. Other benefits include keeping your warranty to the paint and no color mismatching.

It’s a Non-intrusive Procedure

Vehicle owners need not worry about damaging the structural integrity of the car.

The process of is non-intrusive, which means that the dent is carefully put back into place using special gadgets and tools that will not damage any part of the vehicle.

It doesn’t use methods that could possibly bring more damage to the car.

Best Option for Antique Cars

When antique or vintage cars are damaged, it’s easy to put the dent back in place using paintless dent repair.

However, if you use traditional repairs, you’ll have a hard time looking for paint that will exactly match the original color of the car.

Vintage cars need careful handling, and intrusive repairs may damage them.

Disadvantages

Disadvantages
Slight damage on metal parts of the car can be repaired this way, but not other materials such as plastic bumpers.
Paint scratches or chips cannot be repaired using this method.
These tools can only reach certain parts of a vehicle; some locations can’t be accessed.

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Vehicles with Damaged Paint don’t Qualify

Obviously, if there’s a need for repainting, you cannot use paintless dent repair.

Your vehicle will need to be repaired traditionally using paint after sanding.

If your vehicle is scratched, you’ll need to have an expert assess if it needs repainting or not.

Works only on Metal

If you are hit from behind and it caused a dent, the metal part of the car can be repaired.

However, if your car bumper is made of plastic, paintless dent repair will not work on it.

Note: Any damage made to your vehicle from hail can be claimed on your auto insurance policy if you have comprehensive coverage. A paintless repair service center can help with savings instead of a traditional repair service. The insurance company may waive the deductible and your vehicle will look new again.

This is the biggest limitation of this method because if your car gets hit, it’s the bumper that receives most damage and paintless dent repair does not work on plastic.

There Are Locations in the Vehicle That Are Not Accessible

The procedure uses special gadgets and tools.

These tools are being used in massaging the back part of the area that has a dent.

However, not all areas of a vehicle can be accessed using these tools and gadgets.

When the dent, unfortunately, is located in one of these areas, your only choice would be to go with the traditional repairs.

How do you choose a good company?

When you’re choosing a company to do your repair, make sure that you hire a reputable one.

There are companies that will make you believe that any repair can be done regardless of the damage to your vehicle.

You’ll end up with a car without dents but will still have damaged paint.

It will cost you more money to hire another company to repaint your car.

For DIY types, you can buy kits from $15 to $50 or more and try to do the repair yourself. 

When you see that the car paint has been compromised after an accident, you know that a paintless dent repair is no longer possible.

Before you choose a company, do a survey or ask families and friends if they know of a trusted company that can work on your car.

If they don’t, you can always turn to social media.

Look for feedback and make sure that you carefully read the negative reviews if you find any.

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What’s the bottom line?

So, is paintless dent repair good for fixing minor dents? In many cases, it’s a great option.

Some people are used to conventional car repair methods and are hesitant to try something new.

I’m always looking for ways to save a buck or two.

However, new technology is being developed every year that are proven to work.

The new methods make life easier and are more convenient, not to mention way cheaper than conventional ones.

If you’re still not convinced about the good things of paintless dent repair, you will find positive feedback from consumers from this service on the Internet.

Check it out for yourself. 

Be that as it may, the survey doesn’t determine which car makers sell good vehicles, and which of them sells bad ones, but it merely reflects consumers’ opinions about different brands, which as Consumer Report Deputy Editor Jeff Bartlett says, is “influenced by word-of-mouth, marketing, and hands-on experience.”

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.