During my 20+ years of professional dent repair experience in the East Bay Area, I’ve seen my share of DIY paintless dent repair disasters. As much as I’m a diy type of person, PDR is much different than doing something around the house. And even doing some things around the house that you don’t know how to do may result in setting your home on fire or flooding your home from trying to do electrical work or plumbing work that you’re not trained to do. The same goes for paintless dent removal.

Over the years, I’ve had several Diablo Dents‘ customers who have watched me fix their door dings and car dents on several occasions, and thought to themselves, “How hard could this be?” So a few of them decided to try DIY dent repair. And they have inevitably ended up calling me to fix the mess. After they have tried to fix what may have been a simple job for me, they have actually created a more complicated repair job that may require costly repairs at a body shop–not to mention no longer having the factory finish, and the inconvenience of not having your car for a week or more while it’s in the shop.

And listen–if you’re thinking about doing this because some shopping-cart jockey slammed into your ride, read about what to do when someone dings your car door.

I enjoy posting before-and-after photos. However, in the case of DIY dent repair, there are usually only before-and-worse photos, like the photo here from a customer who tried to repair his dent after watching some videos on YouTube. The irreversible damage he caused can clearly be seen in the photo here. If you look closely, you will see that the car has begun to rust, making the final repair even more costly:

DIY dent repair results photo

I’ve trained numerous paintless dent repair technicians during my career. Some just get it, and some, no matter how hard they try, never do. PDR is an art. It takes a steady hand, patience, and an artist’s eye to do it properly. It also takes a good 90 days of 8 hours a day expert training with an instructor overseeing your every move, to learn just the very basic skills. That would be just being able to remove a dent the size of a .50 piece in most areas of the car and have it turn out flawless.

Watching a good dent repair technician work is like watching someone play the piano who has been playing for years. As you watch, they make it seem effortless as they play. Then when you try to do the same thing, you can barely play a bad version of Mary Had a Little Lamb.

After 20 years of doing PDR, there are still things I occasionally learn, so the education never stops. So as for DIY PDR, this is one I’d advise to leave to the professionals.

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