Owning a customized truck is one of the pleasures we have as a minitrucker.
Although our trucks can suffer countless breaks, wrecks and problems throughout their lifetimes, there is simply no substitute for the joy that comes with a shiny and dent-free paintjob. Perhaps this is why we go to great lengths to preserve the condition of our new rides, avoiding potholes, rock chips, and inclement weather along the way. Inevitably, however, even the best laid plans are tested when our vehicle suffers its first dent or ding. It's not unusual for us to throw up our arms in disgust, assuming nothing less than a full panel replacement being the only way to return the truck to its original luster. However, there is an easier way.
Paintless dent repair is a relatively new process, but it is one that has undergone considerable refinement since its introduction in the late '90s. What began with a few hobbyists tinkering with special tools has now become a full-blown industry and one that can save us hundreds of dollars a year in repair costs. If you have been putting off a trip to the repair shop because you feared an expensive estimate, you may find considerable comfort in the low prices associated with paintless dent repair.
How does it work? Anyone who watches metalworking reality shows is aware that metal is a pliant material. Look closely at a dent in your truck and you will likely notice that the paint itself has not creased or ripped. That means with some sound finishing tools and patience, a paintless dent repair professional can work the metal back into its original shape from the inside out. Even panels that do not allow for easy access can usually be serviced by removing trim and getting inside the panel itself.
Paintless dent removal can save you literally hundreds of dollars on a simple dent, and today the craft has evolved to the point where it can safely and invisibly remove dents up to ten inches across. If your car has not sustained damage near an edge or been reworked in this manner before, you should be able to expect a flawless repair job within a matter of hours.
1.We have no idea how we acquired...
1.We have no idea how we acquired the dent in our rear fender, it just showed up one day. It is about 3 inches in diameter, has a small crease in the center, and is right next to a bodyline. Our expert, Gary Buder said it looked like a car door hit it.
2.Gary applied an oval pull-tab...
2.Gary applied an oval pull-tab with a center groove. The groove is placed over the crease in the deepest part of the dent. This allows the tab to pull on both sides of the crease releasing the stress on the crease.
3.We were amazed that after...
3.We were amazed that after the first pull most of the dent was gone and reduced to about 1 1/2 inches.
4-5.From this point the dent...
4-5.From this point the dent could be worked out with twist rods and A Delrin punch and hammer. To save time Gary used a less rigid pull-tab. This type of tab allows the user to get further into the dent.
6.As you can see, there is...
6.As you can see, there is no more dent. All that is left is to remove the high spots that resulted from using the slide hammer.
7.Gary breaks out the hammer...
7.Gary breaks out the hammer and a 1-inch Delrin punch. The point of the punch is rounded so it doesn't chip away at the paint, rather it knocks down the high spots.
8.Because it is difficult...
8.Because it is difficult to use a punch and hammer from behind the panel, twist rods are used to push out any low spots. These are made of spring steel and the business end of the rod can have various points of roundness depending on how big or small the focus needs to be.
9.Alternating between various...
9.Alternating between various twist rods and the Delrin punch, the once unsightly dent is no longer and it only took about 30 minutes. This quick fix can be done in the convenience of your own garage or can be done at the office, saving you hundreds of dollars that it might Have cost at a body shop.
The Tech Lowdown
Company: Metal Massager
Contact Info: (619) 520-8853 or (619) 247-6652
Approximate Installation Time: 1 1/2 hours
Skills Required: Paintless dent removal training
Difficulty Level: 5
Tools used: Various dent removal tools
Parts Cost: A one-inch dent starts at $89 and goes up depending on size and location.