Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
PDR – A Trade with Many Names
PDR, Paintless Dent Repair, Paintless Dent Removal, Hail Repair, GPR/GPDR. A trade with many names and emerging sub techniques. So what is PDR? Maybe you are just curious about what it is or possibly considering a career. Either way, let’s dive in and review all of what PDR encompasses and what each sub-specialty involves. In part one, we will focus on the most common, Paintless Dent Repair. Additional articles will share what each sub-specialty entails.
Table of contents
What is Paintless Dent Repair
Paintless Dent Repair (PDR for short) is the skill of repairing dents in a car using highly specific training and quality PDR tools. Don’t be fooled, it is a lot harder than it looks. Some more complicated repairs can take hours to complete properly.
Basic PDR training will include:
(Note this is just as it’s titled “BASIC”)
- Different uses of PDR tools
- Tool placement and feel
- Principles of PDR lights or PDR reflector boards, finding your dent
- Principles of knocking down
- Final steps to finishing
You will also need the following to be a well rounded PDR tech(much of which comes with time, training and experience):
- How different metals work, you need to have an understanding of how different metals react to manipulation, how each dent may require a different approach or technique
- Access Points, knowledge of where the best access points as drilling is a no-no for most retail customers as well as dealerships
- R&I, for when there is no readily available access points you will need understanding and the skill of R&I (remove and install), avoiding zones where you can damage the car like wiring harnesses, sensors and air bags.
- EV/Hybrid Cars, as more electric/hybrid cars come to market how to safely power these down prior to work (trust me we took the class, it’s not pretty what happens when metal hits a hot zone on one of these things)
These are just the basics. Yes, some techs have dealers that provide R&I for them or power-downs, but the competitive tech will want his own warehouse of skills to provide the whole package when needed. Not forgetting that each skill is one you should be charging for.
Where Can You Find PDR Training in Canada?
Here in Canada, training is hard to come by. There are some training programs, as well as online training platforms out of the U.S. That being said, we have compiled a list of the different PDR training options here.
If none of these options fit your needs, or maybe you have completed basic training but aren’t sure of the next steps. Many try to find a local company that is offering hiring/training. But beware, there can be pitfalls with this option.
In summary, Paintless Dent Repair isn’t for everyone. You need a certain focus, tenacity, and honestly attitude. The best tech’s I have been privileged to observe asses each dent like it’s the enemy, plan their attack and execute the repair with surgical precision.
In the following article, we will focus on GPR/GPDR (glue pull repair) and see how it has changed and why it is becoming a necessary skill set.
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