I have a 9.5" x 7" dent on a front fender: enter image description here

Because it's right by the wheel well, it'd be easy enough to just reach behind and pop it out.

I'm curious to try it and see how far that gets me.

I also recognize PDR is an art form, and we're dealing with 2 crease lines here, so it's likely not as simple as just "popping it out"

My question is, will messing with it interfere with a PDR specialist's ability to do good work on it?

In other words, should I try it and see if I can save $600 bucks (quoted price), or should I not mess with it and leave it to the professionals?

  • 1
    I can see it only make the job harder if you push it out too far (past the original shape). If you give it a go then try to avoid pushing it with your hand because that's when it could easily become dented in the opposite directed, use a dent removal kit.
    – JackU
    Jun 19, 2019 at 13:10
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    Try using a toilet plunger to pull the dent out. Wet the panel, put the plunger on close to the vertical crease and give it a good pull. If there are any marks left PDR can get them. You can only make it worse if you start hitting it with a hammer.
    – Tim Nevins
    Jun 19, 2019 at 13:26
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    When you made the dent, you stretched the sheet metal. Therefore, if you try to pop it out, you will have "more wing" that was originally there and it will bulge outwards. If you apply too much force to pop it out, you will stretch it further and have "even more wing" than there is now. Dealing with that situation is one reason why good bodywork repairs cost money!
    – alephzero
    Jun 19, 2019 at 13:32
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    Did you get more than one quote? It's even possible that you could get that panel replaced for less than $600. Jun 19, 2019 at 15:38
  • 1
    @AndrewMorton More quotes are in progress. Good point about finding a replacement panel.
    – sbuck
    Jun 19, 2019 at 16:35

2 Answers 2


You don't lose anything by popping it out, that's probably the first step a specialist would do anyway. It's not a bad dent, so it may get it good enough for you and you don't need a repair.

  • Follow up: DIY pulling on the dent yielded very little improvement. Got quotes ranging from 500-800 from PDR specialists. Ended up going with "DentWizard" and it cost $500. Results: If you know where to look for it, you can tell where the metal is a little funny, but it's nearly undetectable from a short distance. Very happy with the results. Better then spending the quoted $1200 for the body shop to replace/paint. Happy to have still have the OEM fender/factory paint.
    – sbuck
    Jul 19, 2019 at 18:04

Short Answer, yes. As a PDR Tech myself I approach each repair methodically. I visualize how the damage entered the panel, and that then decides how I will go about the repair. Prior attempted repairs always make the repair more challenging, and expensive, because you literally have to reverse engineer the previous repair to return the damage back to its original state and then fix the dent from there. If you're looking for a quality job, I advise against touching it. https://www.primeautodentremoval.com/blog-podcast/5-simple-questions-about-paintless-dent-removal

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