601 Carlson Parkway
Minnetonka, MN 55305
This Story Published Online: June 21, 2002
As North Iowa skies clear, attention turns to dents, By JAN HORGEN, Of The Globe Gazette
MASON CITY – Within 24 hours of Wednesday’s pounding hailstorm, paintless dent repair crews from around the Midwest arrived in town.
These mobile teams will be taking the hail dents out of thousands of vehicles during the next few weeks, according to insurance agents and auto body repair shop owners.
“We used to repair most all hail damage to vehicles by grinding out dents, filling in with body putty and repainting the panels,” said Lee Snell, owner of Mason City Auto Body. Not any longer, said Snell and Jerry Knoll, owner of Hawkeye Auto Body.
In fact, paintless dent repair, or PDR, will be used on the “majority” of vehicles damaged by hail in the recent storm, according to Snell, Knoll and insurance agents.
By noon Thursday, Snell had written hail damage estimates on 110 vehicles and “only two had broken paint and would need conventional repair and repainting,” Snell said.
As an accepted method of vehicle repair, “PDR is amazing” because it retains the factory finish, Knoll said.
Using pry bars of various sizes, dents are “massaged” from the inside and pushed out, said Kyle Ambrasas, owner of Dent Impressions, a Burnsville, Minn.-based PDR operation.
Cost varies with the size, severity and location of dents, Ambrasas said.
“From what we have seen so far, it will probably be anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 a vehicle.”
A self-described “storm chaser,” Ambrasas points out that most mobile PDR crews set up shop in connection with a local auto body repair business to alleviate questions about reputation.
Dent Impressions is working with Mason City Auto Body, Snell said, adding that the work is guaranteed through both businesses.
Conventional repair, including replacement of parts or repainting, may be necessary if the clear coat or paint film is broken or cracked; if there are unreachable dents on the edges of hoods and roofs, or the vehicle framework does not allow for working from the inside out, said Knoll, who also is working with a PDR company.
Insurance agents and the client determine whether paintless or conventional repair will be used, said Knoll and Snell.
State Farm and Progressive Auto insurance agencies had temporary disaster claim offices set up at the North Iowa Fair grounds on Thursday, making appointments for vehicle owners with claims.
State Farm writes its own estimates using accepted area cost estimates, said property claims adjuster Mark Modderman.
“Each car is different and each paint is different,” he said, although paintless repair appears to be recommended for most of the damage. “And we have PDR companies, both local and mobile, that our company uses for repair.”