There are two different methods of repairing hail-damaged vehicles: paintless dent removal and conventional body repair. Paintless dent removal involves specific tools that push the dent out of the vehicle. Conventional body repair involves removing, replacing and repainting body panels.
Commonly known as PDR, paintless dent removal does not require new panels or repainting of any part of the vehicle. PDR is preferred for roughly 4/5 of dents that still have intact paint surfaces.
To start the PDR process, technicians sometimes remove panels to access and evaluate the backside of a dent. They then look at the shadow of a dent by shining light on it to determine which tools they need to use and how much pressure they need to apply. When the proper tools have been selected, the technician gently pushes the metal back into its original position. Many times, tools are used on both the outside and inside of the dent to prevent it from being pushed too far out. While PDR is quick and inexpensive, it is really more of an aesthetic fix and does not fully repair the dent damage.
Conventional body repair is used when damage to the vehicle is too severe for PDR repair. The conventional body repair process involves removing vehicle panels and replacing them with new ones. Often, the new panels must be painted to match the paint of the rest of the car. While this method takes more time and is more costly, it is a more permanent fix to vehicular dent damage.