When it comes to dealing with dents and dings on your vehicle, you have options. Two popular methods for dent removal are paintless dent removal (also known as paintless dent repair) and traditional dent removal. Understanding the differences between these approaches can help you make an informed decision and restore your vehicle’s appearance efficiently. In this article, we will explore the benefits and limitations of both paintless dent repair and traditional dent removal, allowing you to choose the right method for your needs and ensure you receive quality service in the Saint Louis area.

What is Paintless Dent Repair?

Paintless dent repair(PDR) is a technique used to repair dents on a vehicle without requiring paintwork. It is a non-intrusive method that preserves the original factory finish of the vehicle, making it an attractive option for many car owners. PDR is especially effective for dents caused by hail damage, door dings from other cars or shopping carts, parking lot mishaps, or small accidents.

How Does Paintless Dent Repair Work?

The process of paintless dent repair involves using specialized tools. These tools gently massage the dented area from the inside of body panels, carefully manipulating the metal back into its original shape. Skilled technicians can access the back of the dent through existing openings, such as door panels or the trunk, or by removing inner panels when necessary.

male technician performing auto body repair on a car door.

Advantages of Paintless Dent Repair

Paintless dent repair offers several advantages over traditional dent removal methods:

  1. Preserves the original paint: With PDR, there is no need to repaint the repaired area, as the process does not damage the paintwork. This ensures that the vehicle maintains its original factory finish and helps retain its resale value.
  2. Faster repairs: PDR is generally quicker compared to traditional dent removal methods. Skilled technicians can often complete the repair within a few hours, depending on the dent’s severity. This saves you time and minimizes the inconvenience of being without your vehicle.
  3. Cost-effective: Since there is no need for repainting or extensive labor, paintless dent repair is typically more affordable than traditional dent repair methods. The savings in labor and materials make it an attractive option for those looking to minimize expenses while restoring their vehicle’s appearance.

What is Traditional Dent Removal?

Traditional dent removal, also known as conventional dent repair, involves the use of body filler and repainting to fix dents and dings on a vehicle. This method is effective for a wide range of dent types and can address more severe damage compared to paintless dent repair.

How Does Traditional Dent Removal Work?

In traditional dent removal, technicians use body filler to fill the dented area, shaping it to match the vehicle’s contours. Once the body filler has hardened, the surface is sanded, primed, and painted to achieve a seamless finish. This process requires skill and precision to ensure the repaired area blends seamlessly with the rest of the vehicle.

Advantages of Traditional Dent Removal

Traditional dent removal offers the following advantages:

  1. Suitable for severe dents: Traditional dent removal can effectively address larger or more complex dents, including those with paint damage or deep creases. The use of body filler and paint allows technicians to reshape and restore the damaged area, ensuring a smooth finish.
  2. Versatility: Unlike paintless dent repiar, which may be limited to certain dent types and sizes, traditional dent removal can be used for various dent scenarios. Whether it’s a result of a collision, parking lot mishap, or other accidents, traditional dent removal can often provide a reliable solution.
  3. Long-lasting repairs: The comprehensive process involved in traditional dent removal, including painting, ensures a durable and long-lasting repair. When done correctly, the repaired area seamlessly blends with the rest of the vehicle, making the dent virtually undetectable.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Method

Several factors come into play when deciding whether paintless dent repair or traditional dent removal is the most suitable option for your vehicle.

Dent Severity

Paintless dent repair is most effective for less severe dents and dings, such as those caused by hailstones or small accidents, where the paint remains intact. On the other hand, traditional dent removal can address both minor and more severe dents, including those with paint damage or deep creases.

Paint Damage

If the dent has resulted in paint damage or the paint has chipped off, traditional dent removal by a body shop may be necessary to ensure a seamless repair. Paintless dent repair cannot fix paint damage and is limited to dents where the paint remains intact.

Time and Cost

Paintless dent repair generally requires less time compared to traditional dent removal. With PDR, dents can often be repaired within a few hours. Traditional dent removal may take longer due to the need for painting. Additionally, paintless dent repair is often more cost-effective since it eliminates the need for repainting and extensive labor.

male auto body technician performing paintless dent removal with tools.

Why Choose Paintless Dent Repair For Hail Damage

Hail damage can be a serious problem for car owners, as it can make their car or truck look unsightly and often reduce the vehicle’s value. For this reason, paintless dent repair is an excellent service that can restore a vehicle to its original condition after hail damage. Paintless dent repair is actually one of the most popular methods used for repairing hail damage to cars and other vehicles. It is ideal for customers who need their vehicles repaired quickly after hail damages their car.

Paintless dent repair is highly effective at restoring the original shape of metal surfaces. It is great for fixing the hail damage without ruining any factory-installed or ceramic finishes. Hail damage repair using PDR techniques allows the technician to accesses the dent from behind the damaged panel and gently push it back. This method is quick and efficient. There is no need for sanding, priming, or painting before or after fixing a dent caused by hail damage.

Hail damage repair using this technique could take only an hour or less. Of course this depends on how many hail damage dents need to be fixed. Some technicians even offer same-day services. Professional technicians can guarantee excellent results when repairing hail damage with paintless dent repair. This helps car owners save time and money compared to traditional body shop repairs or repainting processes.


Choosing between paintless dent repair and traditional dent removal depends on several factors, including dent severity, paint damage, time constraints, and cost considerations. Paintless dent repair is a non-intrusive, cost-effective, and efficient method for minor dents, hail damage, and door dings. This is in comparison to traditional dent removal which can handle more severe damage and paint-related issues. By understanding the benefits and limitations of each method, you can make an informed decision and find the right body shop to restore your vehicle to its former glory.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can paintless dent repair be used for all types of dents?

A: Paintless dent repair is most effective for dents where the paint remains intact. If the dent has resulted in paint damage or the paint has chipped off, traditional dent removal may be necessary.


Q: Does paintless dent repair affect the vehicle’s paint warranty?

A: No, paintless dent repair does not affect the vehicle’s paint warranty. Since the original paint remains intact, there is no need for repainting, ensuring the warranty remains unaffected.


Q: Are paintless dent removal services good for cars with ceramic coatings?

A: Yes. PDR is a fantastic option for removing dents in cars or trucks with ceramic coatings.


Q: How long does paintless dent repair take?

A: The duration of paintless dent repair depends on the severity and complexity of the dent or quantity of hail damage. With PDR, dents can often be repaired within a few hours, while more extensive damage may require additional time.


Q: Should I attempt dent removal at home?

A: It is generally not recommended to attempt dent removal at home, especially if you lack the necessary experience and tools to get under your body panels easily. DIY dent repair attempts can potentially cause further damage to the vehicle. It is best to consult a professional dent repair technician for quality service.


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Customer Reviews

Central Auto Body Rebuilders

Customer Reviews

Adrian Pelka 4/23/2019

Top notch work. Only guys I trust with any of my cars.

Leslie Murray 6/11/2019

Highly professional - excellent top quality work- fast and friendly service - very knowledgeable about all aspects of claims- auto body repair options-best in the business !!!

Rick McCleary 10/26/2019

These guys at Central are fantastic. Their goal is to do it RIGHT. They are easy to work with and super quick. Exceeds expectations. I’ve had paint less dent removal, a detail, and some front end damage. Outstanding for sure. If you see that red BMW coupe, that’s the one they keep looking great.

Marty Tribandis A0utg1gousst 2, te202ig1

excellent autobody repair & service, The women in the front office was very friendly!

Jennifer G. 10/11/2018

This is, by far, my favorite auto repair and body shop!!! Everyone is very nice and helpful to each need I've ever had, whether it be in auto repair or body work done. They have always gone above and beyond proving they are the place to go. This past week i was in an accident and i thought there was no hope for my car and when i got it back days later she looked better than when i had bought her 10 years ago! They all are truely gifted people and i'm grateful to be so lucky to have my cars fixed here. Everyone here always makes you feel welcomed and included in the process. I will continue to bring all my car's here while recommending Central to whom ever needs auto repairing.

Lauren L. 12/16/2019

Sam and his team are the BEST!!!! I have been bringing my car into his shop for the last couple years and he has always gone above and beyond for me. He is fair, honest and friendly. His work is top notch. Bring your car to this shop; you wont be disappointed!!

Marcia C. 11/19/2019

Did an amazing job on my aunt's car. So thankful she got it done here instead of the local alternative for almost twice as much money. Her car was done in under a week vs 18 days as estimated by the other guys. Thanks so much for getting back on the road so quickly. And making the car look brand new!!

Allen R. 4/11/2019

I have been coming here for years .
I had a Chevrolet Avalanche I took it to another shop for some body work , they quoted $ 3500 I bring the car to this place ,they fix it all the body work for half a price . My car looked like brand new . Excellent boy work and paint. And they are honest and friendly.

Henrique C. 3/24/2020

This place is nice They have a fair price And really good service I definitely recommend

Keith J. 9/26/2020

Sam knows I trust him as a very honest mechanic who does excellent work. If you looking for someone you can trust, this is the place. They will be a place you will take your car to time and time again, great people and great honest service.