What is Paintless Dent Repair?

Paintless dent repair technician pulling dents with specialized tools.

Paintless dent repair is a great alternative to traditional dent repair service. In recent years, this type of dent repair has become an increasingly popular method of repairing cosmetic damage on cars. What is paintless dent repair, and when can you use it? Here’s everything you need to know about this dent repair procedure.

What is Paintless Dent Repair?

Paintless dent repair is a minimally intrusive method of fixing dents in metal panels of a car. As the name suggests, this method of repair does not use paint. Instead of filling in the dent and painting over it, the metal itself is smoothed out. The original paint, as long as it’s intact, is not affected at all.

There are a variety of techniques used in this method of dent repair. In general, a technician re-forms the dented area using specialized tools. If the dent needs to be pushed, they will access the back of the dent. Dents can also be pulled from the outside. Then, they will massage the metal until the dent disappears. Your repair technician will assess the damage and determine the best way of repairing the dent.

Does It Work?

Paintless dent repair is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to fix small dents. It’s less wasteful, as the process eliminates the need to replace and repaint a body panel. You also don’t need to sand or repaint the panel over a few small dents. This dent removal process is also quicker to perform, and costs a fraction of the price of new panels and painting services.

However, it’s not a miracle technique- there are limits to what it can fix. It works best on simple dents where the paint isn’t damaged. If the metal is torn or creased, no amount of dent repair will return it to its original shape. Where the dent is located matters, too. Paintless dent repair is best used where the back of the dent is accessible and if the dent isn’t on an edge.

The majority of dents on metal panels can be fixed with this dent repair method. If the dent appears on the hood, trunk lid, quarter panels or doors, it’s likely repairable. However, dents on plastic can’t be fixed with the paintless dent repair method. Places like the bumper, mirror caps and some lower side panels are typically made of plastic.

Another limitation of paintless dent repair is the flexibility of the car’s paint. Most modern vehicle paint is resistant to cracking when deformed, but the same can’t be said for the paint on older vehicles.

When Should You Hire a Pro?

While it may look like a simple task to pop out a few dents, it’s only so quick and easy for the technician because of their training. Attempting to do it at home without the right tools and experience can take longer and cause more damage. A botched DIY job can quickly become more expensive and difficult to repair.

Use a reputable body shop for paintless dent repairs.

A professional will know the best way to tackle a repair job. They will also know how to remove trim panels and access the dent without breaking anything. It’s best to get the right repairs done right the first time by a reputable body shop.

Best Times to Use Paintless Dent Repair

There are many common situations where paintless dent repair can be used to great effect. Here are some scenarios where this method can be a more cost-effective way to fix cosmetic damages.

One of the most common situations where dent repair is called for is hail damage. Hail is unlikely to damage the paint if it leaves a dent. Sometimes hail damage can be too severe to use paintless dent repair, but most tiny dents can usually be repaired.
Parking under a tree can shield your car from the sun, but it leaves your car vulnerable to other hazards. Objects falling from a tree, like acorns or fruit, can leave dents if they land on your car.
Sports Equipment
A stray ball from a game of baseball gone wrong is another hazard for a parked car. These can leave sizable dents, but even a football-sized dent can be smoothed out with the paintless dent repair process.
Door Dings
Did your car stop a runaway shopping cart? Door dings and minor collisions on metal panels can be repaired if the damage isn’t too complex. Most of the common dents on these panels can be fixed, so long as the paint wasn’t scraped.
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Paintless dent repair can be utilized as long as the dent is simple, away from the edge of the body panel, can be accessed from the back and the paint isn’t chipped. Consult with your body shop technician to find out if paintless dent repair can be performed on your car.

Pros and Cons of Paintless Dent Repair

Pros of Paintless Dent RepairCons of Paintless Dent Repair
More cost-effective than traditional body repair Only works on metal
Faster than filling or replacing panels Does not work on creases
Keeps original paint Paint must be undamaged

How Long Does It Take?

In general, paintless dent repairs take much less time than traditional repairs. Other repair methods involve filling in the dent with material or replacing the panel all together. Both of these traditional repair methods require sanding and painting— a time-consuming process.

Since dents are repaired by reshaping the metal to its original form, there is no need to add material or wait for coats of paint to dry.

The repair time will vary based on the complexity of the dent and the number of dents. Most dent repairs can be completed within a few hours, but some jobs may take a full day. Many paintless dent repair specialists offer mobile service, making the process even more convenient. Actual turnaround time depends on the schedule of the repair shop or service.

Is Dent Repair Covered by Insurance?

Your car insurance will cover dent repairs if you carry comprehensive or collision insurance. Which one applies depends on what caused the damage.

Collision coverage pays for the cost to repair or replace your car after a collision with another vehicle or object. For example, if you dented your car by backing into a mailbox or another car, you’ll need collision coverage to file a claim.

Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your car not related to a collision. This includes things like natural disasters and storms, damages caused by hitting an animal and more. If your car was dented outside of a collision, comprehensive coverage applies.

While many dent repair jobs are small, damage from hail or a collision can definitely add up and be costly to repair out of pocket. That’s why it’s important to carry enough coverage for your vehicle.

If your car is damaged, the first thing you should do is contact your insurance company as soon as possible. We know that getting repairs done can be stressful. That’s why we’ve designed our claims process to be quick and simple. Our skilled adjusters will get you back on the road in no time.

Now Let’s Talk About You
Do you have the right coverage for your vehicle? We’d love to chat with you about it. Call us at 855-993-4470 or speak to a local agent.

If you’d rather not talk, you can get a quote quickly and easily online. Just enter your ZIP code to get started and see how much you could save!

*Amount based on average annual savings reported by Plymouth Rock customers in multiple states who switched between 10/1/2022 and 9/30/2023. Your premium may vary due to the state and underwriting company in which your policy is written, available discounts, driving record and other factors.

Save an average of $540* on car insurance

*Amount based on average annual savings reported by Plymouth Rock customers in multiple states who switched between 10/1/2022 and 9/30/2023. Your premium may vary due to the state and underwriting company in which your policy is written, available discounts, driving record and other factors.

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