A long overdue blog on a recent repair that I completed on this gorgeous Audi SQ5. We think the damage was caused by a loaded shopping trolley or possibly a misjudged parking incident. Either way, there was no paint damage and the dent was ideal for PDR.
Access was gained via the wheel arch liner, which was secured by 3 torx head screws. No restrictions once inside the wing, but the repair was a ‘toughie’ due to the sharpness of the crease and also the fact that it cut horizontally through the bodyline.
The technique I use for a repair like this is firstly to reduce the overall size of the dent, by selecting an appropriately sized tip to massage the rear of the panel. Next step is to choose a smaller tip (varying degrees of hardness depending on the shape and strength of the dent) and work the damage a little bit like massaging an air bubble from beneath a piece of vinyl. As the dent decreases in size, it is often necessary to open it back by tapping the sides of the dent, or indeed other areas of the damage where high areas (crowns or brows) have been noted.
The success of a repair is dependent on access, the extent of the damage and the skill/toolset of the technician. The benefits of PDR over a conventional repair are cost (although this doesn’t have to be the primary factor), keeping the paint original, speed, convenience and the environment (no unnecessary paint aerosol, dust or filler).
Approximately 2hrs later. Lots of pushing, tapping and a bit of polishing the damage was almost repaired. A faint marring of the paint was evident along the direction of the crease. I had attempted to ‘close’ the area, but the panel looked high and puckered, so a well placed run of taps relieved the tension in the metal and an overall improvement of 90-95%.
08:26 on Valentine’s day I missed a call from a potential customer. I returned the call and was met by an apology. The customer had literally just had a stone thrown up onto the bonnet of his BMW M4 (about £70k new) and had Googled dent repair in Norfolk without checking the time etc. Anyway, I called back and discussed the damage and repair options. DH lives about 45 mins away from me and it’s uneconomical for me to travel too far if I’m unable to achieve a good repair (ie cover my costs).
After a short chat, I offered to meet up with DH the following day. He agreed to meet me halfway and I agreed to reflect his flexibility in the price of the repair. It should also be noted that the customer took a day off work.
We met up in the car park of a local golf and country club. DH arrived, blipping the throttle of the 400bhp engine… I love my job! We chatted, we looked at the car and then we focussed on the dent: a small, but sharp stone chip dent in the front area of the bonnet. I would’ve been devastated.
Access through the double-skinned bonnet wasn’t good, but after trying 4 or 5 rod combinations, I hit the spot. Less than 5 mins of controlled pushing and the dent was gone (less a very slight scuffing in the paint).
In terms of emotions, I was relieved and I think DH was happy. It was as if a weight had been lifted… I took a couple of pics and asked if I could use them on my website.
What I didn’t expect was for DH to spend 5hrs cleaning his car, before forwarding pics of his pride and joy. In addition, I received a personal message of thanks and a link to a review on a BMW M3/4 owners forum. Sometimes, it’s not about the money!
I landed this job after being unable to repair similar damage on a neighbour’s car. I was disappointed that I couldn’t help the first customer, as he had taken the decision to give up driving at the age of 90… You could’ve knocked me over with a feather. The gentleman was as sharp and spritely as someone 20 years his junior. Very sad that his decision to give up driving was based partly on the recent damage to his car.
Anyway, I, nor a dent devil friend of mine were able to help, but whilst I was on site I was approached by the owner of this beautiful VW Golf, that had front wing damage from a hit and run parking incident. The heavy ‘kiss’ between the 2 vehicles had resulted in paint transfer and heavy scuffing. I advised that this would be improved, but not totally repaired.
The success of this type of repair is dependent on getting the metal to move, without making the area look worse or overworked. The area at the top of the damage is referred to as the ‘crown or brow’ and is where the pressure is. It needs tapping down or flattening before the dent can be fully repaired, but if its tapped too soon, the metal won’t move anywhere. I often use the term ‘suck it and see’, but in reality the skill required is slightly more technical than that.
After 2 – 3 hours of pushing, pulling, tapping and blending the area was ready for polishing. I was pleased with the overall result with the dent repair, however not so with the paint correction, as the scuff/scratching was too heavy to get 100%. However, Mr P was over the moon and saved £30 on my quote, which resulted in him paying less than £100.
After receiving a call from one of my regular (3rd repair in as many years) customers, I headed over to Sprowston to take a look at this unusual damage to the rear door of a very clean Peugeot 208. The damage, we think… was caused by a rival football fan whilst the car was parked at the County Hall car park. I won’t comment on whether the customer was a home or away fan, but he wasn’t happy with the result (of damage to his car).
I advised that I would aim for a good improvement as it was evident that there was a nasty L shape of damage, within the larger soft dent. The paint was slightly marked and this type of repair can take a while to get right. I couldn’t complain about access, so set about the repair. The interim pic with all of the scribble shows the specific areas that i concentrate on during a repair. Please don’t try and work too much out from my markings, I often struggle…
Anyway, a couple of hours passed and I received the green light from the customer. He said he was very pleased with the repair and promised to keep my business card handy for future reference.
Late in July, I was heading over to Poringland to administer first aid to this rather tasty looking Kia Ce’ed GT. Unfortunately, the reversing camera didn’t notice the 80ft tree in its path and the resulting impact left this rather nasty dent on the left side of the tailgate. Access was good and to be fair, most of the dent reduced within 10-15 minutes. However, I often explain to my customers that its the last 20% that takes 80% of the time. This repair was no different and required a lot more attention before it was ready for inspection.
Anyway, after a couple of hours using a combination of glue pulling and rod pushing techniques, I was able to achieved a 90% + improvement. Mr M had been quoted a considerable amount for the replacement and respray of the entire tailgate, needless to say he was happy with my invoice for under £100!
In August I was called by a customer living on the outskirts of Norwich. The car, a gorgeous Lexus 300is in pearlescent white. I knew from the pics sent by the customer that this had the potential for being a difficult repair, but once I saw the damage in person I explained my reluctance to undertake the repair with the customer. However, Mr S gave me a gentle nudge and said quite firmly ‘Iain I’ve seen your reviews and would like you to repair my car…’.
I spent over 2 hours working the metal, with my attention being focused on the upper and lower body lines. By my second cup of coffee, Mr S complimented me on how pleased he was with the ‘improvement’ and was astounded that he had saved himself almost £900 over a conventional body shop repair.
Nissan Qashqai – Dent on offside wing! For those of you that have read some of my previous blogs and ‘Team’ status, you will know that I served in the RAF. The car in this blog, belongs to one of my first RAF friends and I have known him and his wife for over 30 years. When Paul sent me a text to say ‘look what some #*@t has done to my brand new car’ I wasn’t sure if the dent was repairable, as the highlighted area on the pic appeared to have paint damage. Paul lives near Grantham, but as we regularly meet up and share some old stories over a glass or 2 of Prosecco, it was a ‘no brainer’ for me to jump in my van and offer to help a friend in need.
On inspection, the panel was wide open and I gained great access via the engine compartment. Initially, I pushed the area with my hand to see what flex there was in the panel. Approximately 20 – 30% of the dent came out straight away. The remaining 70-80% took a bit more effort and skill.
Using a combination of tips on my ‘go to’ rod, I started to massage the inside of the panel. There was also a crown at the top area of the dent, where the tension or pressure is held. Its impossible to repair a dent without releasing this area, by gently tapping the outside of the wing. although quick results can be gained, the tapping needs to be done accurately and with care. One missed tap or heavy hand and you can quite easily double your work. The deepest and sharpest part of the dent took quite a bit of time to correct, as it was necessary to over push the area to close the crease, but then tap down the area to flatten it out. Do, review, learn and apply!
After about 2 hours, 2 lattes and a bacon sarnie, I achieved a good result, and was able to polish out the paint transfer at the centre of the dent. Paul was very pleased with the repair, particularly because the car was only a few months old.
Payment? Not at all. Paul is a dear friend of mine and it was the least I could do for him. I did however, get treated to an amazing Thai meal and the all important glass or 2 of Prosecco!
On one of the few dry days we’ve had recently, I took a trip into Norwich to see what I could do for this year old BMW X5. Unfortunately the customer had been reversing down a narrow unlit street and a black wheelie bin got in the way.
Mr ZV is a regular customer of mine, as I have attended a couple of previous dents. My brief was ‘to do what you can!’.
Having removed the taillight to gain better access, I began to assess the damage and plan my repair. Wheelie bins are very unforgiving and generally leave very difficult dents. In part this is caused by them moving when they are hit and then damaging an area along the path of least resistance. This dent/wheelie bin was no exception.
I regularly think to myself, what if I can’t achieve a good repair?? Do I pack up now or shall I attempt the repair? I decided to have a go! With a combination of rods, tips and glue pulling kit, I began working the metal. The deep double crease and area close to the bumper seam proved to be the most challenging.
After a tad over 3 hours I was nearing completion of the repair. I was very pleased with the improvement, but knew I could spend another hour potentially improving a further 5%. It was the weather that influenced my decision to draw a line (for today anyway).
I discussed the repair with a very understanding customer. He asked if there was still a fist sized dent visible… What do you think?
I received the pics of this Renault Megane and hoped that the burgundy paint transfer was the extent of the impact. Sometimes a picture only paints about 874 words and I had to commit to quoting for the repair with the potential of finding damage that would be difficult or impossible to repair using PDR techniques. Mr TM agreed to my quote and I took a drive over to Ashwellthorpe on a cold and windy day.
On inspection, the line following the paint transfer was a relatively deep crease/gouge within the softer dent that is visible on the pic. I stripped the wheel arch liner to reveal good access, apart from a thick coating of underbody sealant or reinforcement/sound deadening, which almost followed the line of the paint transfer. Commitment time!
I explained my reservations with the customer and offered to work on the car for half an hour or so, to assess whether it was worth proceeding with the repair. Mr TM agreed and I set to work.
Although most of the paint transfer was removed after 30-40 minutes of pushing, it makes the first stages of the repair difficult, as I’m almost working blind. Anyway, first coffee consumed and a good time to re-assess with the bill payer…
Mr TM seemed pleased with the progress and gave me the ‘green light’ to continue with the repair. After almost 2 hours I achieved a good improvement. The paint transfer was removed using a heavy cutting polish compound (Menzerna PG1000) and only light scuffing of the Renault’s painting was evident.
This repair wasn’t 100%, but I kept to my quote and achieved a result that both the customer and I were pleased with. The alternative, potentially a new wing and 2 – 3 days in a bodyshop.
Ford Fiesta – Nearside Rear Wheelarch – Last week it was a Ford Focus front wing and this week the rear wheel arch of of Ford Fiesta. However, the damage, accessibility and repair couldn’t be more different.
Firstly, rear wheel arches tend to be more structurally sound and are generally double skinned. Some french cars provide good access due to the lower part of the wheelarch being single skinned, or BMW and Audi with well placed, ‘bunged’ access holes that allow better access than most. Unfortunately no such luck with this Fiesta. Therefore, my options are to gain access via another route or drill.
Due to the location of the impact, access via any holes behind the light were going to only provide limited use. And my last option of drilling was completely out of the question due to the close proximity of flammable liquids!
Whereas last week’s repair was all about pushing or massaging the metal, this repair was going to be all about pulling the panel with a glue pulling technique and correcting any high areas with a small hammer and tap down tool (please don’t try this at home). Glue pulling is quite tedious and very repetitive, but when its the only option to facilitate a repair, then is worth every minute of effort over a paint and filler repair.
Approx 90 mins into the repair, I reached a stage where I knew I wasn’t going to achieve much more than an 85-90% improvement. Overall, a good improvement! Time for a bit of polish and elbow grease before returning the keys to the customer (customer’s cousin actually…). And to finish on a high, I gained 3 more repairs from the dealership where the car was parked. Thank you Busseys Dereham