The method of repairing minor dings in car bodies without having to repaint the area began in 1960 during an International Motorsports showcase. Oskar Flaig worked as a staff member for Mercedes, repairing the paintwork on show cars. The vehicles that made their ways around the trade fairs often became damaged with scratches and small dents. He would repaint these vehicles each night.
One evening while at a show in New York City, Flaig used a hammer handle to push out a dip in a door. He did it so that he would not have to use as much filler to repair the damage. However, once he was finished, he noticed that the area looked like new.
Unfortunately, the practice was widely unused for almost three decades. Natalio Balderrama reintroduced the technique in the United States under the name “Dent Wizard International.”
While PDR was not used for several decades, the techniques for removing minor damage have not really changed. The main method of performing paintless dent removal is to push the dings out from the inside. Instead of using hammer handles, as Flaig once used, technicians utilize rods and body picks. Additionally, technicians also use specially designed tabs glued onto the surface and pull from the outside using picks.
In order to manipulate the precise damaged area correctly, the mechanic utilizes a special instrument to read the area. This tool works by having a light or reflection board to help visualize the deformation. This additional light helps the tech see the tip of the tool and how to precisely push the damage out. Without the additional light, the specialist cannot see the fine detail necessary to make the repair.
During the process, it is possible for the technician to push too hard, causing a high spot to appear. If it is too high, it could crack the clear coat finish on the surface. Quality workers can repair the damage without causing more. However, in the event of a high spot, these same skilled professionals can easily blend the spots to match the paint texture using a technique known as orange peel.