Drilling Holes For Paintless Dent Repair

by | Mar 9, 2020 | Educational, Uncategorized

Did you know that drilling a hole in your vehicles door to repair a dent can affect the safety of your vehicle?

Paintless Dent Repair and the need for drilling holes to access dents is often, unfortunately a common thought.

We often get asked by customers:  “Can you just drill a hole and do paintless dent repair?”

In this video we have our technician Jack explaining why in today’s vehicles drilling holes for paintless dent repair is just not an option.

What dents are we removing?

We are removing some door dents in this 2016 Lincoln MKX Door. This damage is pretty typical for a door style dent. Often times around the handle area and ranging from middle to lower areas in the door shell.

How do we gain access to remove this damage?

In order for us to work on this damage and gain access to the backside we cannot use our traditional methods.

What is our traditional method?

We would be to roll the window down and install a plastic or metal window guard and go down the window channel. From there we would use our tools to massage the damage out. Now with this vehicle having the type of glass it does, we cannot do that.

If you want to learn more about the glass in this vehicle you can check out our whole video and read our description of that, Just Click Here

What is involved in drilling a hole for access?

Certain companies or technicians would get around this access issue with just drilling a hole in the side of the door and going in through that way for access. That way they don’t have to take anything apart and have no worries with damaging the glass.

Now from here there are many ways a technician can go.

-Some would simply just plug the whole with a generic plug and call it a day(the worst way). Sometimes they don’t even plug the hole at all!

-Some would use touch up paint to coat the spot that was just drilled. Remember it is now bare metal where the panel was drilled and could create a spot for corrosion(rust) to occur. Then apply a generic plug to this area.

-Some would spray cavity wax down the door so that it will then coat the metal filings in the bottom of the door. Remember these are BARE metal filings from drilling that will be exposed to water and rust eventually, this rust can then spread to your door and rust out your door!

They then would use touch up paint on the whole and plug it. They might even take it a step further and use some type of adhesive to coat the plug when installed to better seal this opening.

The Loophole Option

Some will even say they don’t drill. Sounds good right?

From there the company would use a punch, yes an actual metal punch to PUNCH a hole in the panel. I’m not making this up. This is a “loophole” some technicians use to get around this known issue and fear of drilling a hole, some do this because they have a cooperate policy or a no drill policy with the car lot. I’ve seen it many times and it is extremely concerning. It can be amazing being in the auto industry and some of the things you see, not only from small independent shops but even in dealerships. It’s insane, anyways moving on.

Why is drilling a hole bad?

We are specifically talking about a hole in a door in this example. The reason this is a bad repair method is because of one thing, air pressure sensors and air bag sensors. Manufactures often have at least one and most of the time both of these sensors in the door. Both the air bag door sensor and the door pressure sensor detect if there is an impact. If your door has an extra hole in it that was not there from the factory it can throw off the timing and sensitivity of these sensors. Some people would argue it’s just a hole, its not a big deal, ect.  We we would like to counter that and state that vehicles are built a specific way for special reasons.

There is a reason the manufacture built the vehicle a certain way and with certain components in special places. They spend millions if not billions of dollars building their own vehicles, if they did it this way there is a reason, the last thing you would want to do is do anything the compromise the safety of a vehicle for your customer.


Learn More By Watching This Video!


Here are some actual holes in vehicles

One thing that makes these pictures even worse is the fact of the dented areas that the tech drilled a hole for are often not even fixed properly. The damaged areas are often pimpled up with high spots, cracked paint and low spots. On top of that now your vehicle has a hole or sometimes multiple holes in it, ruining the structural integrity of the panel.

This is an extreme example, but shows just what some technicians will do to try and access a dent, this is an extremely unprofessional and probably a new technician.

Poor Hole Drilling - Paintless Dent Removal

Some holes drilled into a Quarter panel area on a vehicle.

PDR Drilling Hole

Here is another example of a poor repair. This technician did nothing to cover the bare metal after a hole was drilled.

Poor Hole Drilling - Paintless Dent Repair

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