Paintless dent removal
Paintless dent removal. Click image to enlarge

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Paintless dent removal

Door dings and shopping cart crashes are an unfortunate part of vehicle ownership. These can be unsightly and significantly decrease the value of your car. Body shops can charge anywhere from $600-$800 to repair one door ding. If you have a lease return vehicle the costs can quickly add up for removing just a few dents. Fortunately there is an alternative that costs much less.

Paintless dent removal is a specialized technique that can repair minor dents and dings without the use of body fillers or paint. Specially trained technicians use a variety of tools to gently massage the affected area from behind the panel, and in most cases the dent will be completely invisible.

Sound too good to be true? No, it’s for real, as long as you retain a trained and experienced practitioner like Ron Murfitt, owner/operator of Dent Fix in Ottawa, who recently came by my house to demonstrate his craft. Ron has been in this business for over six years and his costs vary, but typically it’s $125 to remove up to six minor door dings.

Paintless dent removal
Paintless dent removal
Paintless dent removal. Click image to enlarge

My Hyundai Santa Fe, which recently had an unfortunate meeting with a golf ball, had a quarter size ding on the right front portion of the hood. Ron began by placing a special white/black board on the damaged panel to help identify the dent’s exact location. He then used his special tools to remove the ding from the underside. A few taps with a special punch from the top, and voila, it was gone! He then wet sanded the area with 2000-grit paper, and buffed with medium grit rubbing compound and polish to blend in the paint.

On my wife’s car, an Acura EL, there were quite a few door dings and he used several techniques to remove them. He lowered the glass, placed a plastic shim between the door and inner door panel, and used his long-reach tools from behind to remove the dents. He uses special tapping tools from the front side for fine adjustments.

Ron was successful in removing most of the dents; however on one rear dog-leg, where a shopping cart had crashed into it, he recommended a body shop repair. In that particular area there is a double layer of sheet metal and he has no way of getting his tools behind it.

In some areas, access to a dented panel can be gained by going through an existing rustproofing hole, electrical plug, or by drilling a small hole (which is subsequently plugged), but I decided against that. So there are some areas where a dent cannot be removed, and some dents that have stretched the metal beyond what Ron can fix with his techniques. Additionally, the dent-fix repair does not address issues where the painted surface is compromised (chipped, perforated, scratched).

Overall, I was impressed. All of the dents that Ron tackled were invisible when he was done, and his service costs a fraction of what a body shop would charge. And don’t think car dealers are unaware of dent-repair services. All of them use a technician like Ron to prepare their used cars (and sometimes the odd new one…) for sale.
Mr. Murfitt is a magician!

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