You know that general dings and scratches are inevitable if you own a vehicle. Whether you’ve gotten one from another car dinging you with its door, or you accidentally knocked your bumper against someone else’s, this wear and tear is common.
All dents are not created equal, and while some can be popped out at home using a kit, others will need professional auto bodywork. Now, that’s not to say that you should be intimidated by this.
Many factors go into dent repair. In this article, we will cover all the bases about dent repair and what it may cost you.
Evaluating the Damage
Plenty of factors come into play in evaluating the dents in your vehicle. Here are the most relevant ones.
In general, dents can be categorized into three different severities. Minor dents are small, generally about the size of a quarter, and can often be repaired on a DIY basis without the assistance of a skilled technician. Then we have moderate dents.
These dents are more prominent, generally up to two inches in-depth, and will need the work of a skilled technician to be repaired.
Finally, there are severe dents. Severe dents are large and deep, requiring extensive time and skill. These need to be tended to by an auto body repair shop and will be labor-intensive.
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While a dent may be easily accessed on the outside of the vehicle, accessing the other side of the dent, if necessary, can present a challenge. The easier the access to the location, the cheaper the dent will be to remove in most cases.
Number of Dents
The number of dents will affect the repair cost for a couple of reasons. Sometimes, damage done to vehicles is done in such a way that causes multiple dents simultaneously. Examples of these include multi-car collisions, heavy hailstorms, and vandalism.
The first is obvious; more dents means more work to remove them. The second reason, which may not be as obvious, is that if dents are in a similar area, working on them may cause them to affect each other. For example, if you remove one, then it may make the other dent worse. This can cause more labor hours to be used.
Make and Model
The make and model of the vehicle in need of repairs can significantly affect the cost to the owner. As expected, higher-end luxury cars will cost more to repair than domestic, commercial cars.
This can be attributed to the materials used to build the car and the paint, believe it or not.
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Types of Dent Repair
With repairing dents, there are two common ways to fix them. Each has its advantages and can be used in specific scenarios.
Traditional Dent Repair
Traditional dent repair is a common way of repairing dents but often can be more expensive than the other method we list here.
Traditional dent repair requires that the dent be pounded out to the best of the technician’s ability, trying to make it conform to the original contour of the vehicle. Then, once an acceptable shape has been attained, the body is sanded down to primer and repainted to match the rest of the car.
While this method is more cost-effective than replacing pieces of the body in most cases, it’s still relatively costly.
Traditional dent repair requires more labor when being performed and requires a skilled craftsman to get things just right, including the shape of the vehicle and the paint matching process.
Paintless Dent Repair
Paintless Dent Repair, otherwise known as PDR, is a more modern form of dent repair that eliminates the need for repainting the vehicle. When using PDR, most of the process comes in the planning. The dents are analyzed by a technician who can determine if the dent is suitable for PDR.
Then, access to the dent is created, removing any parts or pieces that may be in the way of the technician. After gaining access, the technician uses specialized tools to reform the metal to its original shape.
While PDR seems like the end-all-be-all of dent repair, there are circumstances in which it cannot be used. If the paint has already been damaged, the PDR is not a suitable dent repair method.
Additionally, if the body damage to the vehicle has misshapen the metal, causing it to thin, then PDR is unable to be used. Even though PDR requires a skilled tradesman, the process is often cheaper than traditional repair, as it is precise, requiring less labor overall.
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How Much Does Dent Repair Cost?
For each category of dent severity, there is a range of costs to be expected. According to Valley Collision, those costs are, on average, as follows.
- Minor Dent Repair - Minor dents are the most common kinds of dents found on vehicles and typically cost anywhere from $50 to $200 to repair. Do-it-yourself dent removal kits cost around $50 on average and can be used most times.
- Moderate Dent Repair - These dents are less frequently seen than minor dents and are often caused by minor collisions. The typical price range for an average dent repair is $2,000 to $5,000.
- Sever Dent Repair - These are the dents caused by larger collisions and are much deeper and more involved than the others. These can cost anywhere up to $10,000.
Dent repair is a costly vehicle repair that needs qualified repair technicians. While the cost of the parts is almost always nothing, the labor is closer to that of an art than it is a science, making dent repair expensive.
If you only have a minor dent, give the DIY method some consideration. For anything more severe than that, be prepared for higher estimates to get your bodywork done by a professional.
Dent Repair: FAQs
How long does a typical dent repair take?
The main factor that comes into play here is the dent’s severity. With that said, the average dent repair takes about 1 to 3 hours to complete. The slightest dings can be done in as quick as 15 minutes, while a more noticeable dent would likely take up to 8 hours. Hail damage may take between 1 to 5 days, depending on severity.
Does insurance cover PDR?
Most dent repair shops work with most major insurance companies. Depending on damage severity, many owners find the repair costs less than their deductibles. On the other hand, if you have comprehensive coverage, you may end up not paying more than your deductible.
Is PDR permanent?
Most services that provide paintless dent repair are permanent solutions. Therefore, you can trust that the paint will not crack, peel, or discolor after the repair.
Can I go DIY on dent repairs?
It’s a viable option for very minor dents. However, unless you really know what you’re about to do, we don’t recommend it. Even if you have the right tools and a collection of videos from YouTube, without proper know-how and experience in dent repair, you may cause further damage to your vehicle.
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