How to get a door ding repair without expensive paint, or leaving it for days at a body shop.

door ding before paintless repair
door ding after repair

Sheila came out of the store, excited at the thought of jumping back in her new car. But as she approached she saw it. Someone left her a door ding.  

“I bought this car less than two weeks ago and now look at it! I parked it far away where no other cars were and they still dinged me!”

Did they leave a note? This hope vanished as she checked the wipers and found no slip of paper. No good samaritan had stepped up. 

"What kind of careless individual gives you a door ding and then takes off?"

Her anger turned to tears as she thought about how proud she was to drive a new car. She had scraped and saved a long time. 


Sense of loss

Her last car was a bit of a beater. Paint fading. The front door was a slightly different color than the fender. 


She felt a pain in her chest at the prospect of painting this car. She had sprung for the special red. It was a glorious color. Tri-Coat. Like a candy color the salesman said.  


Could the body shop make this one match after the door ding repair? Would it last as long as the rest of the car? Or fade like her last car? Will I need to have the whole car painted? 

Sheila thought about her $500 deductible. This was going to hurt.  


She sat in the car with her hands on her face. She could feel the heat of her embarrassment. Some of her friends had not even seen her new ride. 

A cost too high

Time to take action. She drove straight to a body shop. 


They explained how both the fender and back door would need painted. 

“Its only a small door ding though!”


“Only way to get a good match on this color,” the estimator said. Then handed her an estimate with a total repair cost of $1286.24 on it.  

Sheila’s jaw hit the floor. 


“We need to take off all these parts to paint three panels and make it look right.” 


Feeling worse than before, Sheila left and went to the dealer body shop where she bought the car. 


Paintless Way is Best

The body shop estimator there took one look and said, “PDR is the best way to fix that dent.”


“What is PDR?”


“It stands for paintless dent repair. We know a shop who can fix this dent without painting. For us to paint it would go north of a thousand bucks. And we have to keep it three days or so. You can get it fixed paintless for around $100 in one day. 

Best part is your factory paint warranty remains.”


Sheila was starting to feel better. Exhausted, she headed home. 

Misconceptions about paintless

Do it yourself door ding repair?

Her boyfriend Sam was there and his over the top reaction to the door ding was like reopening a wound. 


Finally, he listened as she shared the better solution.

“I’ve heard of paintless. I think they use dry ice or something. Time for some YouTube!”


Sure enough, there was a video with a hair dryer and and dry ice. 

But there were other videos showing a glue popper thing.  


“I can fix that dent for you Sheila!” 


Her cheeks went flush yet again. “What are you talking about?”

“Look! There’s some videos on here showing door dings repaired and it don’t look that hard! I can get one of them dent poppers at the auto parts place. 


“I don’t know.”


She went in the other room and called Dent Terminator from the card the body shop gave her. 

After talking to Derek she felt a lot better about her door ding repair and set an appointment.  


Now, Sam's ego had a dent in it.

Sheila said, “do you know how long it takes to learn to fix dents? Months of practice! Derek said it's like playing guitar. It takes a long time to get good. I don’t want you touching my car!”


This dent should pop easy

“How hard can it be to pop out a dent?”

Sheila was ready, since Derek had explained this too. 


“The dents don’t 'just pop out' Sam," she said as she made air quotes. "It takes lots of pushes in the exact spot. You’ll mess it up. Or worse mess up the paint!"


Dejected, Sam tried another tack. He jumped on the phone and called some other dent places.  


The real cost of cheap dent repair

“Sheila! I found a shop that only charges $50 for a ding. Why don’t you let me take it there for you?”


“Why does the Lexus dealer body shop use Dent Terminator then?”

A quick call to the body shop gave the answer.  


The manager explained. "Our used car department does use the cheap guys. But we see their work every time. And they mess up the paint. A lot.

So we don’t use them. With Dent Terminator, we know it's going to be right and invisible to us.” 


Sheila did get her dent fixed and she was so happy she left a review online. But she still parks far away when she can.

How Door Dings are Priced

A small ding which can be covered by a 25 cent piece will cost $75. This applies to many dents but there are other factors when estimating:

Sizing Up the Dent
  • How deep is the dent?
  • Does it cross a style or body line?
  • Is it a crease (dent with a vertical or horizontal line)
  • Has the dent caused secondary damage? (pronounced crowns or eyebrows)
  • Is the dent severely overstretched and will need shrinking?
Getting to the Dent
  • Are there access points from factory?
  • Does the door have laminated glass?
  • Is the dent inaccessible and need to be glue pulled from the top?
Other Factors
  • Is there paint damage which will get worse on repair?
  • Is there paint damage which can be buffed out?
  • Is there paint damage which can be buffed out?