Becoming skilled at a trade takes time, dedication, knowledge and hard work. With PDR (paintless dent repair) you will need all of that and more to become an expert PDR technician. Most people are very attached to their cars, so just being adequate at PDR isn’t going to cut it, you have to excel at it if you want to make a name for yourself.
This article will break down the basics of PDR, how long it takes to get the technique down, and many other questions that you’ll need to assess along the way to mastering PDR.
What is PDR?
Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) is a method of repairing dents in a car’s bodywork by gently and gradually reshaping the panel. This means there isn’t a need to fill or paint over the damage. During the process, specialized tools are used to press and manipulate the damaged panel from behind, eventually working the dent out without having damaged any paint or leaving any trace of the dent behind.
How long does it take to learn PDR?
Despite what you may hear on infomercials or read on a forum somewhere, PDR is challenging to learn and even harder to master. Finding a PDR expert to apprentice under from and receiving the proper training is the single most important decision you can make in starting your PDR career. Improper training can lead to months, if not years of bad habits and worse results for you and your customers — a potential non-starter for your name in the business.
Most experts recommend at least two to four weeks of one-on-one training to learn the complete breadth of knowledge you will need to begin PDR if you already have body shop experience. If you are coming in off the street, you would need up to 6 months to a year to learn PDR to the level that qualifies you to work as a PDR professional. The harder you work when and the more you study and train, the more you get out of your future career.
What to avoid when starting out
Here are some big missteps to avoid and look out for when you are starting to learn PDR:
- Don’t work on dents that are too large when you are first starting out. You should be starting on small dents (just a couple millimeters in size) when you first begin. Start with a small dimple in a panel and work your way up.
- Know how to set up your line reflector board correctly in all scenarios.
- Don’t go for the center of the dent right away, work your way in. You can leave lines if you tackle the dent dead center.
- Get comfortable before you work. Seems easy, but you may find yourself in twisted or weird positions then not able to move out of them once you begin your work. Grab a stool or foam board and get situated before you zero in on the dent.
- Don’t push the dent too hard or you could cause high spots or even break the paint. It’s tempting to put all your power behind the tool, but remember the tool will do a lot of the work for you.
Are there any essential skills that I should know about PDR?
Training with an expert is the best and most useful way to learn about PDR. Hands on training and practice will prepare you for your upcoming career. Here are some skills you should be able to easy manage after you get your training:
- Be able to differentiate between which dents can be repaired with PDR and which ones will need a paint job afterwards.
- Know how to properly manipulate dents back into place and be well acquainted with the tools you will need to do so. Mastery of PDR tools is a huge part of getting to be good at PDR.
- Patience is key to being able to get out even the toughest dents. Any instructor, body shop owner, or PDR expert will tell you that if you don’t have patience and aren’t able to keep calm, you will not be able to handle a long career in paintless dent repair.
Can I learn PDR online?
While you can learn the basics of PDR and get acquainted with the tools and skills you will need, there is no way for you to properly learn everything you will need to know from videos. Hands-on training with an expert in the field of PDR is the best and most recommended way to becoming an expert yourself. It takes hard work, constant training and making and fixing your mistakes to learn.
Want more information on Paintless Dent Removal?
At JM Dent Repair, we specialize in paintless dent removal, hail damage repair, lease return specials and more. We have over a decade of service under our belts and will handle your car with care and respect.
Paintless dent repair eliminates the worry of a color mismatch or uneven fading, and preserves your vehicle’s appearance and resale value. If you’re driving a leased vehicle, it also helps you avoid expensive “wear and tear charges” on your lease return. Contact us for a quote and see why we’re the best around.