Thanks to advanced techniques and the availability of new tools designed to offer precision results, many garages now offer a service called paintless dent removal. Unlike traditional panel beating, paintless dent removal is achieved without damaging the existing paint on the metal, and can offer excellent results at a fraction of the cost of other methods of dent removal.
The secret behind paintless dent repair is that rather than being an aggressive method of straightening out dents in the metal, it is a gradual process more akin to a massage than a piece of traditional metal work.
A panel beater will remove the panel from your car and then use a mallet and a former to bash out any defects. This will involve beating both sides of the metal in order to get it back into its exact original shape. The percussive damage of repeated blows from a mallet will inevitably do damage to the inflexible paint that covers the metal, causing it to chip and flake in the area where the metal has been beaten. This means that the panel will need to be stripped back and then completely repainted, which adds significantly to the cost of the repair. The results of panel beating are generally excellent, and can leave a car looking as good as new.
Like panel beating, paintless dent repair is a highly skilled procedure, and to get the best results it takes a great deal of patience, plenty of experience, and of course the right tools. The actual method of removing dents does not require the removal of the panel from the car, or indeed removal of any trim to allow access to the rear of the metal in order to push out the dent from behind.
The actual technique used for paintless dent removal will vary slightly depending on whereabouts on the car the repair is being carried out, but the essential method remains the same. Basically, the repair man will use special tools on the reverse of the panel to straighten out any dents. This is done by gradually pushing the metal back into place in small sections. It is a slow process, but it can have excellent results when carried out properly. Because the work is done in situ, and the paint is not damaged by the hammering, and all the work is carried out on the rear of the panel, the job is usually carried out on a single day, because no paint needs to dry once the job is done.
Specific paintless dent removal tools are required in order to carry out the work properly. A full set of tools will allow a skilled operator to carry out a repair on any panel on the car. The paintless dent removal tools are designed to offer access into panels from small gaps such as the window slot in the top of a door. They are typically long and flat, in order to slide into place, and very rigid to allow pressure to be applied to the metal without deforming the tool.
The operator will slide the long flat tool into the gap behind the panel and then expertly guide it to the dent. The next stage of the process is to gradually press the metal back into place from behind, slowly massaging the metal into its original shape a little at a time in order to minimize the shock to the panel, and to eliminate any possible damage to the paintwork on the other side of the panel.
The repair will gradually restore the panel to its original shape, and will deliver results almost as good as traditional panel beating, although at a much lower cost, thanks to the fact that no repainting will be needed at the end of the job to repair the damage that is caused when the panel is being straightened out.
For small dents and minor damage to the panels of any car, paintless dent removal is a highly recommended alternative to conventional methods, and thanks to its lower cost, and quick completion it offers excellent value and convenience when carried out by an expert who can provide you with the best results thanks to his extensive experience and training.