Dry Ice Dent Repair – Does It Really Work?

Dry ice dent repair – “Is that how you remove dents?”  This is a question we get asked a lot.  No, we do not use dry ice to remove dents.  It is a largely a myth.  You could end up causing more damage than what a Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) shop would typically charge to remove the dent.

Since dry ice dent repair is on the internet, it must be true, right? Undoubtedly, there will be countless people who are determined to see for themselves if dry ice will really remove a dent.  We have definitely seen our share of failed dent repairs by DIY methods prior to the vehicle reaching our facility.  If you are going to attempt to repair a dent with dry ice, please take proper precautions! Dry ice is carbon dioxide in a sold state.  To get this gas into a solid form, it has to be cold…really cold.  To be exact, -109.3° or -78.5°C cold.  At that temperature, the gas turns to a solid and will instantly freeze any skin it comes in contact with.  In other words, instant frostbite.  Never handle dry ice without heavy gloves.

Dry Ice Dent Repair -Turn Up The Heat

The dry ice dent removal method was always meant to work in conjunction with a heat source prior to applying the dry ice.  In theory, using a heat gun or even a blow dryer to heat the metal first would make it easier to remove the dent.  Before the metal cooled, dry ice was applied.  This is also a myth and a great way to seriously damage your vehicle’s paint and finish.

The Heavy Metal Detroit Muscle Era

Prior to sometime in the 1980’s, American vehicles used a heavier gauge “Detroit steel.”  The heavier steel was thought to provide better protection in case of an accident.  In reality, it had the opposite effect with the heavier metal producing more inertia. They were more or less rolling tanks.  For safety and better gas mileage, modern steel is thinner, lighter and much more flexible.  These improvements also make a dent more difficult to remove.  If dry ice dent repair was remotely possible on the earlier steel, it definitely wouldn’t work on today’s cars.   Luckily, PDR tools, techniques and training have come a LONG way.  There is a PDR tool and method for just about every type of dent.

Dry Ice Dent Repair Myth
Dry ice dent repair is a myth from the days when Paintless Dent Repair was in its infancy.  More damage can result from the use of it.

Dry Ice Will Not “Pop” A Dent Out

Vehicle dents do not normally just “Pop” out.  Auto body  panels start off as flat or rolled steel.  It then passes through a press where it is stamped into it’s predetermined shape.  This shape becomes the steel’s natural state and it will retain this form for a very long time.  The steel is not only strong, it is flexible to prevent permanent warping as the body flexes while driving. Once the dent is in the metal, heat nor cold on their own will get it out. Gentle force and PDR tools are needed.

A Dent Actually Stretches The Metal

When a dent occurs, the metal is actually stretched slightly and it becomes stressed.  Peaks, valleys and waves are created at the moment of impact. Even if dry ice dent repair would work on larger, shallow dents, the metal is still stretched. It would never be able to be repaired with any accuracy or precision.  Paintless dent repair (PDR) utilizes specialized tools that relieve that stress and resets the dent back to its natural state.  When done correctly, the dent will be gone and the metal will be just like new. The dent will remain in the repaired position for the life of the car.

Dry Ice Dent Repair DIY Dent Removal

Say Hello – The Friendly Dent

In the dent repair business, we have a term for a dent that was improperly repaired.  This could be from a poor repair done by another paintless dent repair shop or someone who attempted DIY dent repair on their own.  We call it a “Friendly” dent because it will “Wave” at you every time you look at your vehicle.  When a dent is properly repaired, by an experienced PDR technician, it will not be noticeable.  The friendly dents can also pop up during large hailstorms as many shops have a cattle call mentality.  They want to get as many vehicles in and out as they can.  The result is that some dents go unnoticed or the repair is rushed by an inexperienced PDR technician.

Cost Of Dry Ice Dent Repair vs PDR

Most people who attempt dry ice dent repair are just trying to save a few bucks.   As mentioned earlier, dry ice is extremely cold.  By using it, you run the risk of damaging or dulling the paint and finish on your vehicle.  If the dent chipped the paint, the dry ice can make it lose adhesion and lift off if it comes in contact with the bare metal below. Before attempting any dry ice dent repair do yourself a favor and get a Paintless Dent Repair Estimate. Many PDR shops will give free estimates.  For $100-200, you may be able to have that dent repaired without the possibility of ruining your paint.

Dry Ice Dent Repair 3
Dry ice dent repair should never be attempted on any modern vehicle. Dent repair is better left to the professionals.

Auto Hail Repair – No Need For Dry Ice If You Are Insured

Vehicle hail damage? Don’t even bother with dry ice dent repair or any other DIY method if you have insurance.  A full-coverage auto policy covers auto hail repair.  It will not even make your rates go up as vehicle hail damage is a no-fault or “Act of God” claim. You will, however, be on the hook for your deductible if you take your vehicle to the body shop recommended by the insurance company.  You are allowed to take your vehicle anywhere to be repaired.  At The Dent Company (TDC), we will waive your deductible up to $500 for our auto hail repair service.  Liability-only policy holders are out of luck as auto hail repair is not covered.

The average cost of dent removal may be less than you think.  It may even deter you from even attempting the whole DIY dry ice dent repair thing.  On average, dent repair is less expensive if left untouched vs. us fixing one that someone else attempted to repair on their own.  Our same-day Express Dent and Door Ding Repair service typically repairs dents for a lot less than a deductible. Our estimates are always free and our work is second to none.  If your vehicle is in need of dent repair, don’t hesitate to call us at (866) 685-4245 for an appointment or just stop by our facility.

-The Dent Company (TDC)
The Auto Hail Repair Experts |  America’s Dent Co.

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