PDR or Paintless Dent Repair is a method of removing minor dents and dings without removing any paint from the vehicle. This is done by very patiently sculpting the dent out from the back of the panel, or sometimes from the front using specialized tools. The most common PDR techniques utilize metal rods and body picks to push out the dents from the underside of the body panel. Glue and specially designed tabs may be used to pull out the dents from the outside of the panel. Fine tuning the repair often involves tapping down the repair to remove small high spots. Quality technicians can blend high spots to match the texture of the paint called orange peel.
The process of paintless dent repair requires a technician to manipulate precise locations of metal to the correct height, which can only be observed by the use of a Paintless Dent Repair reading instrument such as a paintless dent repair light. Fluorescent or LED lighting, or in some cases a reflection board, may be used to visualize the deformation of the dent and to aid the technician in locating the tip of the tool being used to push the metal.
Paintless dent removal (PDR) was invented by Oskar Flaig in February 1960 during the “International Motor Sports Show” in New York City, USA.
Oskar Flaig worked at Mercedes. His job was to take care of the paintwork for all the show cars presented at trade shows. Damage, scratches on the paintwork and small dents, produced by the public during the day, needed to be re-painted at night, so the vehicles would be in perfect condition on the next day. At the trade fair in New York City, Oskar Flaig used a hammer handle to push out a small dent, so he would need to apply less filler before painting. Nevertheless, the result already looked perfect after pushing. This was the beginning of paintless dent removal. After the show, Flaig returned home to Germany and started developing techniques and tools to repair dents. He was eventually promoted to foreman at the Mercedes Sindelfingen plant where he was known as the “golden tinsmith” and started PDR training programs at all branch plants. These techniques were used in Germany for a long time before finally being promoted as a successful way to repair dents in the United States in the 1980s.