The Truth About Paintless Dent Repair (PDR)

Are you familiar with the paintless dent repair (PDR) process?

First, let’s define it.

It’s basically the use of gentle persuasion to remove dents. With specialized tools of course.

In laymen’s terms…

A technician massages your dented metal back into place.

Seems impossible. But it works!

Detailing a Porsche
This 1995 Porsche 993 was full of small dents. It was a display model in a car show. The guys who transported the car must have been gorillas, because the car had 11 dents when it was returned. This picture was taken after a visit to the PDR doctor and a day of detailing it with my Perfect Shine™ process. No one could find a trace of the dents. The guy was a master of his craft.

A good PDR technician (often called a “dent doctor”) can achieve an 80% to 99% repair on most small dents.

So, you have to be realistic. 100% dent removal is unlikely.


Even with PDR techniques, metal stretches a bit when it bends.

Please note: Paintless dent repair is not a service for collision repair.

For this you need a body shop. Don’t waste your time calling a dent doctor for collision damage.

Exactly what can be fixed with PDR dent removal?

Just about any minor ding or dent, including dings from car doors, bashes from shopping carts, and damage from a hail storm.

These are aggravating for auto enthusiasts. You care about your car’s appearance.

The good news!

Small dent repairs and cosmetic blemishes such as these can be repaired. It’s a matter of minutes.

It gets better…

Want a small dent removed? There’s no need to go to a paint and body shop.

Most PDR specialists will come to you!

Plus, the same people are generally skilled in various scratch repair and bumper repair processes.

Here’s what they’ll do:

PDR jobs require the technician to get behind the dent.

The metal is literally massaged back into place. They use tools called dent rods.

It takes skill. It takes practice.

These guys learn the trade and they learn it well.

Removal of damage ranges from the size of a dime to 2 or 3 inches in diameter.

Do It Yourself PDR Kits

Several car enthusiasts have asked my opinion about DIY paintless dent repair kits.

In the past, I was somewhat skeptical.

Recently, I’ve discovered these kits have come a long way. I’ve personally used a few different PDR systems with great success.

I recommend WHDZ’s dent remover 85-piece tool kit. You get quality with many pieces for tackling all sorts of dents.

AUTOPDR’s 40 piece dent repair kit works very well too. It’s a cheaper option to consider.

Just How Good is PDR

In many cases, there is little or no evidence that a dent ever existed!

But there is sometimes an unavoidable tell-tale sign.

Usually a small black plug in a door end or door jamb. This is where the PDR tech must drill a hole to access the back side of the dent.

The bottom line is this:

PDR is the least invasive way to repair a dent or ding.

Unlike traditional body shop repairs, PDR does not compromise the vehicle in any way.

It’s often the only way to retain the value of the car and maintain paint perfection. This is especially true for custom paint jobs and exotic cars.

When a Professional is Necessary

So, I recommend calling a good PDR specialist. But again, keep in mind.

PDR isn’t always perfect.

Oftentimes the paintless dent repair technician can remove the ding, but the paint may crack, or you may have a paint chip in the center of the ding.

Sometimes a paint booth ends up being the best solution.

Visit a traditional paint and body shop as your last resort.

Everyone hates dents! By all means, research all options so you are looking your best on the road.

You may also be interested in: Alloy Wheel Repair!