Is Paintless Dent Repair Worth It?


Paintless dent repair (also known as paintless dent removal or PDR) is a great solution, that is 100% worth it for removing small dents that can reduce your car’s market value while restoring the aesthetics of your vehicle.

For much of 2020, I found myself repeatedly joking that the best thing about the pandemic was I always had a good target whenever I needed to rip off a few cuss words.

Of course, a global pandemic is far more serious than an unexpected, small dent in your car, but both have the power to draw a few choice words out of even the most stoic of us.

If you have recently returned to your vehicle in a parking lot only to find it has a new scratch and or dent, know that you are not alone. Dented cars are about as common as stained cloths. We’ve all had a car dent at one point or another.

By now you’ve already heard of paintless dent repair and all the advantages it offers, but you’re still on the fence. Fair enough. In this article, we’re going to go into all the little details about this popular service so that you can make an educated decision either way.

Why Ignoring Your Dents Is A Bad Idea

Plain and simple, ignoring a dent will hurt you in two ways.

First, dents can drop the value of your car. This is especially true if you have a newer car with a higher resale value. The effect this will have is subjective and depends on whether you sell or trade your car into a dealer.

Small Dents Do Affect Your Car’s Value

Based on our inside information you can expect that a “large” dent that is visible from 5-10 feet away and has damaged your paint to chop off between 5-10% of your vehicle would be worth without the dent.

The other issue we have is from corrosion, which is an irreversable process. Once you have rust, there’s no going back. If you ignore dents or paint scratches, you leave your vehicle exposed to begin the rusting process. If you live in a wet climate (like St. Petersburg, Florida where we are headquartered) you can expect your car to rust faster then someone living in Arizona. Rusting also tends to accelerate in cold northern climates, especially during the winter.

At first, a few scratches and dents might not seem like a big deal, but they certainly are, especially if you plan on keeping your car and maximizing it’s value when it comes time for an upgrade.

Research has shown that we Americans are keeping our cars for longer than ever. The average vehicle on the road is now 11.6 years old (which means half of the estimated 273 million vehicles are more than 11.6 years old!).

The longer you go with unrepaired dents and scratches, the more time corrosion has to rear its ugly head, which can tank your trade in value and lead to issues with your car.

Is Paintless Dent Repair The Right Solution?

Paintless Dent Repair is older than you might think, with its origins dating all the way back to the 3rd century BC. The first “modern” paintless dent repair is usually traced back to Frank T. Sargent back in 1931. Paintless dent repair became popular in the late 80s and early 1990s and has continuously gotten more effective overall.

Paintless Dent Repair is a very cost effective, quick, and enviornmentally friendly option when it comes to reparing a vehicle dent.

Paintless Dent Repair works best for minor dings and bumps. Dents that are larger than your fist or dents that are more than a half-inch deep may push the limits of Paintless Dent Repair. If the dent is too large, the process of working the dent out of your car may damage the metal and cause further issues.

Think light hail damage, damage from balls, car doors, shopping carts, and all that fun stuff. On the other hand, more major damage from a car accident, or hitting a large animal may not qualify. At that point, you may need more major repair work done, especially if there is a crease in the metal or any type of cut or large scrape.

When Done Correctly, Paintless Dent Repair Will Not Damage Your Car Further

One of the most common objections we hear about paintless dent repair is from drivers who are worried that the repair will damage their vehicle further.

Luckily, as long as you use a reputable autobody professional your vehicle will be fine. A trained technition should have no problem completely eliminating the dent as long as the dent qualifies for PDR.

Once the process is done, you won’t be able to notice the dent at all.

So yes, paintless dent repair really does work.

Before & After Paintless Dent Repair Photos

So, does paintless dent repair really work? Take a look at these pictures below. You can be the judge.

Before and after paintless dent repair
I think this Honda CRV owner would agree paintless dent repair really works. (Credit: Lancaster Dent Removal)
Before and after paintless dent repair
Paintless Dent Repair At Work (Credit:
I think this GMC Acadia owner would agree paintless dent repair really works. (Credit: Lancaster Dent Removal)

As you can see, paintless dent repair can do a damn good job at removing dents while preserving your vehicle’s paint.

The Major Advantages Of Paintless Dent Repair

  1. Paintless dent repair is typically less expensive than traditional dent repair because it eliminates the cost of labor, paint, and other materials. You also don’t have to leave your car in the shop, which means you don’t have to splurge on a rental car. We’ll talk more about this point in a second.
  2. Paintless dent repair, when done correctly, will completely remove dents from your car. A number of different techniques can remove the dent to the point where it won’t even be visible under the brightest lights.
  3. Paintless dent repair is quick. You save hours in repair time (which also means the repair costs less!). We’ll talk more about this in a minute as well.
  4. Your vehicle is returned to factory specifications, with the original paint. You won’t need to do any color matching like with traditional dent repair.
  5. Paintless dent repair also protects your vehicle’s value because there are no concerns about overspray or altering the factory finish.
  6. PDR is also environmentally friendly. The air isn’t polluted by the damaging chemicals used in body filler, auto paint, paint thinner, etc. This also means no chemicals leech into waterways.

The Major Disadvantages Of Paintless Dent Repair

  1. If your paint is chipped or scratched, your vehicle may not qualify. You will need to have your vehicle sanded and then repainted.
  2. Paintless dent repair works great on metal parts of your car, however, it does not work on plastic. Often times while trying to hyperextend the plastic, it simply will not respond in the same way as metals.
  3. The tools for paintless dent repair can only access certain parts of your vehicle.
  4. If there is a puncture in the dent, paintless dent repair will not work.
  5. If the dent is too large, having paintless dent repair done can stretch the paint and metal, which will then be at greater risk for tearing.

Paintless Dent Repair Costs Vary Depending On The Size Of The Dent

How Much Does Paintless Dent Repair Cost? Paintless dent repair can cost anywhere between $75-$500 dollars depending on the size of the dent.

Smaller dents (like those from hail, tree branches, or shopping carts) usually cost somewhere between $75-$135 dollars to fix.

Larger dents (from accidents or more damaging collisions) can run up to $500.

Even worse, if your car is damaged by hail the cost of paintless dent repair can be up to $2,500. However, you may not have to pay all of that as we will talk about in a minute.

These 4 Factors Influence The Cost Of Paintless Dent Repair

The cost of paintless dent repair will vary based on the size of the dent, how deep the dent is, where the dent is located, and the total number of dents to be repaired.

The Size Of The Dent

The size of the dent is typically the most important factor for determining the cost of paintless dent repair. Many auto body shops measures dents relative to the size of coins.

Credit: PDR Direct

Dime sized dents tend to be the least expensive, while half dollar sized dents are more expensive.

The Depth Of The Dent

The depth of the dent is also important. Dents can also be categorized by their shape, which will vary depending on how the dent was made. The deeper and more uneven the dent is, the longer it will take to repair it. The longer it takes to repair, the more it will cost.

Where The Dent Is Located

Certain areas of your vehicle are more difficult to access with the tools used in paintless dent repair. Some dents are easier to access than others and can be fixed quickly. However, those that can’t, that are in hard-to-reach areas (which will vary, depending on the type of vehicle you have) take longer to repair. As we mentioned before, the longer the dent takes to repair, the more it will cost.

Dents that are closer to the edge of the panel are also harder to repair, which means they will cost more as well.

Number Of Dents To Be Repaired

The more dents you have to be repaired, the more your vehicle is going to cost to repair. For example, if your vehicle gets hit by hail, it’s likely to have multiple dents throughout the car which are in need of repair.

The more these dents are spread out across multiple locations, the more the repair is going to cost. As we previously mentioned, in severe cases such as hail damage the cost of paintless dent repair can be over $2,500.


But we do have some good news.

Many Insurance Companies Do Cover Paintless Dent Repair

Paintless dent repair is an insurance friendly dent repair process, especially in the case of hail damage. Paintless dent repair is less expensive than traditional dent repair options and takes less time, both of which are good for insurance companies.

There is a caveat here though: you need comprehensive coverage for your paintless dent repair to be covered by insurance, unless your dents are caused by hail.

If your dents are caused by hail, then you should be covered. However, you should double-check with your insurance company to make sure this is the case.

With that being said, generally speaking, paintless dent repair is relatively inexpensive. Unless multiple sections of your car are damaged, paying out of pocket is generally the best option. Your insurance premiums may increase if you make a claim to pay for the paintless dent repair.

Paintless Dent Repair Only Takes A Few Hours

For those of you asking “how long does paintless dent repair really take?” you can rest easy. Paintless dent repair is much faster than traditional dent repair, which can take days.

Paintless dent repair requires no additional parts or paint, which means it’s almost always a same day job. Depending on the severity of your dent(s) you can expect the repair to take anywhere from 1-3 hours at most.

One notable exception to this rule is if you have severe hail damage where multiple body panels are damaged. In this case, paintless dent repair may take several days if the damage is extensive.

Yes, You Can Do Paintless Dent Repair At Home

Dent removal kits do work if you use them correctly and in the right circumstances. DIY dent removal kits work best on shallow dents that are on flat surfaces.

If you have some free time (and let’s be honest, you can probably skip the Netflix for a few nights) then learning to do PDR work can save you a trip to the body shop, as well as a bit of cash.

If your car gets dented often, it can be worth buying a bigger paintless dent repair kit so you’ll be able to work a wider range of dents.

We won’t lie – it can be tricky at first, but once you learn how to do it correctly you can save time, and hundreds of dollars when done correctly.

Here’s a great example of a first time DIYer using a paintless dent repair kit on his car:

If you’re looking to jump right in, we recommend choosing a beginner kit instead of one of the professional kits. Always better to start small and inexpensive before you really get your feet wet.

It is a bit of a learning curve – but you shouldn’t let that stop you.

There are only 1 kit that we can personally reccomend – which was used yesterday by our lead writer!

89 Piece Paintless Dent Repair Kit By Gliston

The 89 piece kit here comes highly reccomended by our partner mechanics, as well as several members of our team who have been able to fix all sorts of dents with this kit.

This kit comes with a range of tools that gives you options for how you want to handle your paintless dent repair. Even better, the whole kit costs less than a trip to have someone else do this repair for you.

This kit will help you fix your car dents for less, while you get to feel like a badass. We consider this a win-win.

Want To Save Money On Other Car Repairs Too?

Paintless dent repair is a huge money saver, even if you choose not to do it yourself.

But it’s not the only way you can save hundreds, or possibly even thousands of dollars on your car repairs.

Here’s the thing: car repairs suck all around, whether they are dents in your car door, or your transmission failing at only 100,000 miles. And let’s be honest, just like a surprise car dent, a surprise car repair bill can ruin your day and your wallet.

But let’s back up a minute.

You know that feeling when you’re driving to work or picking the kids up from school, when you’re hoping, praying even, that nothing breaks on your car?

That feeling where every sound your car makes leaves you white-knuckling the steering wheel?

Yeah, that’s no fun either, just like a surprise car dent.

The good news is, in the same way paintless dent repair can fix your car without hurting your wallet, a vehicle service contract from Protect My Car can help you relax behind the wheel because you can fix your car without paying thousands of dollars for repairs.

A vehicle service contract from Protect My Car helps you pay for repairs. The way it works is simple. You join us, and when your car needs repairs we pay for them instead of you.

All you pay is a small deductible, and we cover the rest. It’s just like insurance.

Just like you shouldn’t ignore what goes on with the outside of your car, you shouldn’t ignore what goes on inside your car either.

So get covered with vehicle protection from Protect My Car by filling out the “free quote” form below, and get back on the road with confidence.

No dents, no breakdowns, no problem.

Just stress free driving, with all your money in your pocket.

About Protect My Car

Protect My Car is an extended auto warranty company. Our goal here at Protect My Car is to eliminate your worry of being financially responsible for an expensive mechanical breakdown. With our extended auto warranty, you don’t have to worry about being fully burdened with the cost of a covered repair.