Interested in Paintless Dent Repair to Restore Your Car? Find Shops Now!

By Shawn L. •  Updated: 04/08/22 •  12 min read

Local Dent Repair Shops

We’ve heard from our readers, and we’re listening! We began by providing access to high-quality auto glass shops across the nation and have since grown our network of locations to include local Paintless Dent Repair Shops and Collision Repair Centers.

Your dent repair experience shouldn’t be overwhelming, so we wrote this article to help. After reading it, you’ll have our top recommended questions before hiring a dent repair specialist. You will also understand the tools used and how PDR is an excellent alternative to having conventional dent repair from a local body shop.

We’ll also cover picking the right shop location to fix your car. Plus, help you understand what to expect before and after the process. So let’s get started!

Dent Repair Knowledge

Before discussing qualifying questions to ask your local dent repair shops, let’s cover the repairable types of cars and dents, then look at the tools and how they work.

Types of Cars You Can’t Fix

Believe it or not, there are cars you can’t fix with dent repair. A vehicle panel is either aluminum, steel, or fiberglass. It’s easy to remove dents from an aluminum panel or body panel made of steel, but you’ll most likely need to speak with a collision repair center if you damage a fiberglass part.

Fiberglass doesn’t dent the way other surfaces do, so when something damages it, the surface will usually crack or break into pieces requiring new fiberglass and paint. Most modern vehicles won’t have fiberglass, but you can check out Technology.org to learn more about cars made with fiberglass.

Types of Dents You Can’t Fix

Tools Used by the Pros

Whether it’s removing hail damage or other small to medium dents, a skilled technician will need all or some of the following unique tools to complete the process.

Slide Hammer – This unique tool is used in conjunction with hot glue and glue tabs. Performing a hot glue pull with a slide hammer makes it easier to remove larger dents or dents that are inaccessible with the custom metal rods.

Slide Hammer

Dent Lifter – Most technicians use dent lifters for minor ding repair. These tools are great for removing inaccessible or difficult-to-reach dents from the back of the body panels.

Pdr Dent Lifter Tool

Glue Tabs – These particular tabs are for hot glue pulling with a dent lifter or a slide hammer.

Pdr Glue Tab

Metal Rods – There are many different sizes and shapes of rods used to reach the inside of panels with dents. Most dent techs can use less than five assorted metal rods to remove dents from any location on a car.

Pdr Tools

Reflector Board – A reflector board, also known as a fog board, is essential to helping fine-tune the final appearance of a dent. These boards are usually bright in color with a line in the center or multiple lines of different sizes, making it easy for the tech to see in the car’s paint reflection.

Pdr Fog Board

Light Board – Like a reflector board, a light board is lit from behind and has a single line down the center or multiple lines across it to help locate and fine-tune dents during the repair process. These boards are suitable in situations where the lighting isn’t great.

Pdr Light

Knock-Down Stick: – While pushing on a dent from behind, creating a raised spot on the surface is possible. Knock-down sticks help remove these high points, so the surface of the metal appears flat and smooth again.

Knock-Down Stick

Dead-Blow Hammer: – These hammers are filled with sand to create a unique impact when tapping on the end of a knock-down stick to remove high points.

Dead-Blow Hammer

What to Expect

As a vehicle owner, knowing what to expect from the local business you’ve hired to fix your dents can help make sure you’re satisfied with the results. So let’s look at what to expect before and after the dent repair process.

Before the Dent Repair

After the Dent Repair

Insurance Coverage

Sometimes it’s necessary to file an insurance claim if your car has extensive damage from something like a hail storm. Automotive hail damage removal is expensive if excessive damage covers all vehicle parts. So we wanted to help you understand your rights, responsibilities, and options when filing an insurance claim for dent removal services.

Your Rights

Your Responsibilities

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can you repair steel bumpers with PDR? The tools used in PDR will work well on sheet metal and aluminum, but steel bumpers are much more rigid and typically require a replacement when damaged.
  2. What’s a reasonable price for dent repair? The dent repair cost will vary depending on the damage, size of the damage, and accessibility. Check out the page we wrote on dent repair prices to learn more.
  3. Does PDR work on bumpers? The actual bumper of your car is a rigid steel bar hidden by a plastic cover. When you see a dent in the front or rear bumper, it’s usually the damaged plastic cover and not the steel bar underneath. Fixing the dented plastic cover typically requires a different process since it’s not sheet metal or aluminum. Ask the shop you’re speaking with if they have the necessary tools to fix plastic bumpers.
  4. How much is dent repair? The cost of repairs varies depending on the number of dents and the size of the damage. To learn more, check out the articles we wrote on paintless dent repair prices and hail damage repair costs.
  5. Will you need to drill holes to fix the dents? Drilling holes in the metal is unnecessary for a perfect repair. Damage that isn’t accessible from behind with the metal rods is repairable using a dent lifter or slide hammer, followed by a knock-down stick and dead-blow hammer.
  6. Can repaired dents come back over time? A professional repair that’s correctly performed will not return.
  7. Will insurance pay to fix a minor dent caused in a parking lot? If you parked too close to another car, chances are you’ll get a door ding. Damage like this is out of your control and generally covered by the comprehensive section of your insurance policy. We recommend checking with your insurance provider to ensure you have proper coverage to fix the damage.
  8. Will filing an insurance claim for hail damage repair service increase my rates? Filing a claim for hail damage won’t typically cause rates to go up independently. Instead, rate increases generally rely on the number of claims you make throughout the year. However, we recommend checking with your agent to confirm whether your rates will go up or not before filing a claim.
  9. What happens if the insurance says my car has too much damage to fix? Most insurance companies will give you two options if your vehicle is considered a total loss. Keep the car or cash out and let the insurance company have it. Each option will generally involve payment of some kind to you. If you don’t keep the car, most insurance providers will issue a check equal to the fair market value of your vehicle. Ask your provider about the different options they have for cars considered as total losses.

What’s Next?

Whether you’re looking for a location to drop off your vehicle or a mobile company to repair dents at your home or office, we can help. We add repair locations to our database weekly, so if you don’t find a place in your zip code, give us a call or check back soon.

Shawn L.

Shawn is the founder of Auto Glass Locator and enjoys providing articles related to automotive parts and services. His mission is to make it easy for everyone to find all the information they need in one spot. Each year he continues to help more people find great deals on auto glass and other automotive services.

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