The most common practical use for PDR is the repair of hail damage, door dings, minor body creases, and minor bumper indentations. The techniques can also be applied to help prepare the damaged panel for paint. Such applications are referred to as "push to paint", or "push for paint".
Limiting factors for a successful repair using PDR include the flexibility of the paint, and the amount the metal has been stretched by the damage incurred. Hence, often extremely sharp dents and creases may not be repairable - at least not without painting afterwards.
The most common methods of paintless dent repair utilize metal rods and body picks to push the dents out from the inner side of the body panel being repaired. Also, glue may be used from the outside of the panel to pull the dents out. In either case, fine-tuning of the repair often involves "tapping" down the repair to remove small high spots, making the surface flat.
Fluorescent lighting, or in some cases a light-reflection board, is used to see the shadows created by the deformation of the dent. This is an important aspect of the repair process.