Just noticed another ding on your beloved vehicle? Has your kid opened the door on someone’s car door and now you have to pay for the damage?
Do you have a larger, nastier dent or scratch on a fender or bumper that is going to cost you hundreds of dollars to repair?
If you have ever answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this article may be for you. So often, we spend lots of money repairing our vehicles when they get damaged. Many times it seems that things also decide to go wrong at the very worst possible times, such as when money is short and when our responsibilities demand we have our car. Add to this the rising cost of your insurance premiums with another claim, and it is easy to see why people are looking for alternatives to traditional auto body repair.
What choices do we have?
There are basically 3 options to choose from. In short, they are summed up as follows:
1. Paintless Dent Repair
2. Spot Paint Repair
3. Traditional Auto Body Repair
Paintless Dent Repair (PDR)
With Paintless Dent Removal highly trained technicians use specialized tools to massage damaged metal back to its original state – without the need for costly body repairs, without having to lose your vehicle for days, and at a price you can usually feel good about.
Here are some of the stats on Paintless Dent Repair (PDR).
• Maintains the integrity of the factory paint job (no fillers or paint that could later peel)
• Fast (Repairs can take 1/2 hour – 4 hours to perform. And some PDR techs are mobile)
• Economical ($50 – $200)
• Increases trade-in value
• Increases customer’s perception of vehicle condition
• Repaired dents may still be perceptible (80-95% of dent may be repaired. This is often acceptable & most people with untrained eyes would never notice.)
PDR works great on dings and dents where the paint is not broken. Although, it can help a dent even where the paint is broken. PDR can be used to fix dents that range in size from a “dime” to even a “softball” or greater. And, what’s more, PDR works great on creases as well. All of this, of course, will depend on how stretched the dents are and whether the PDR technician can get access to the back of the panel. One thing to be concerned with, too, is whether the technician will have to drill to get access. Sometimes this may be unavoidable in order to repair the damage, but you should ask for assurance that any holes that are drilled are properly sealed in order to prevent rust.
A testimony to Paintless Dent Repair’s effectiveness is the fact that many insurance companies will even choose paintless dent repair over traditional auto body repair when dealing with hail damage claims on a vehicle. The reason has to do with the benefits mentioned earlier. (And, quite honestly, if I drove a new vehicle that got pelted with hail, I would rather NOT have its factory paint job repainted only to have it possibly peel later.) Many hail-damaged vehicles can be repaired with paintless dent repair. This helps to minimize the number of panels that must be repainted to few or none at all.
So, if you think that paintless dent repair may be the way to go for you, then how do you go about finding a trained technician to repair your vehicle?
You could just go to the internet and do a search of qualified PDR techs in your area, but personally I feel that a better barometer of skill is word of mouth. Call up a local high-end car dealer in your area like a Mercedes-Benz or BMW dealer and ask them for a recommendation. Some of the people who purchase these types of cars are among the most pickiest and hardest to please. So when one of these dealers has a used car they are attempting to recondition for sale, they may choose only the best repair techs with experience in their field.
SPOT PAINT REPAIR
You might have a bumper that is scratched and scuffed just on one corner. Or, you might have a door dent that has cracked paint but is below a molding that extends across the length of the door. In such cases, why go through the extra expense of painting the whole panel, most of which is NOT damaged? Then Spot Paint Repair may be for you.
With spot paint repair, a highly skilled paint technician does their best to straighten the damage in a way that keeps the repair area small. They fill, prime, and color-match the area much like traditional auto body repair. However, when they reach the clear coat stage, instead of prepping and coating the entire panel, they use a special “blending-solvent” to “melt” the edge of the freshly sprayed clear coat into the existing clear coat. Many times this make for an almost imperceptible repair that the customer can feel good about.
Here are some of the quick stats on Spot Paint Repair
- Fast (Repairs can take from 2-6 hours)
- Economical ($125-300)
- Some Tech’s are mobile and will come to you in order to repair your vehicle
- Repair area kept smaller than traditional paint repairs
- More of the vehicle maintains the integrity of its factory paint job
- The same high-quality paints are used for spot paint repair that are used in traditional auto body repair
- No need to be without a vehicle for days or pay extra costs of car rental
- Increases trade-in value and customer’s perception of vehicle condition
- When panels are clear coated only partially, the edge may become visible in time. For this reason, spot paint repair is not recommended for top panels such as hoods, roofs, or trunk lids.
- Depending on the skill or method of the repairer, panels may peel, not match, or look grainy or dirty, and repaired dents may still look wavy
- May not be equal to factory paint job in quality and durability
All things considered, Spot Paint Repair is an excellent way to repair damage to a vehicle’s exterior. It may be best suited for those who are paying out of pocket or who are looking to recondition a vehicle for sale.
So, if you think that spot paint repair may be the way to go for you, then how do you go about finding a trained technician to repair your vehicle?
You could just go to the internet and do a search of qualified techs in your area, but again, personally I feel that a better barometer of skill is word of mouth. Call up a local high-end car dealer in your area like a Mercedes-Benz or BMW dealer and ask them for a recommendation. Some of the people who purchase these types of cars are among the most pickiest and hardest to please. So when one of these dealers has a used car they are attempting to recondition for sale, they may choose only the best repair techs with experience in their field.
So next time your car gets a scratch, dent, or scuff remember that there are alternatives. Paintless Dent Repair and Spot Paint Repair can save you time and money while maintaining the value of your vehicle.
Economical Alternatives to Traditional Auto Body Repair-Paintless Dent Repair & Spot Paint Repair
By Danny Leary