5 Essential Tools Used in Paintless Dent Repair

5 Essential Tools Used in Paintless Dent Repair

Paintless dent repair, or PDR, is a popular and effective method for repairing hail damage, door dings, and other smaller cosmetic damages to your vehicle. It’s cheaper, faster, more effective, and less invasive than traditional dent repair, making it the better option in almost all scenarios.

But how exactly does PDR work, and what makes it so different from traditional dent repair? Keep reading to learn five of the most essential tools used in PDR. 


#1. Whale Tails (Rods)

One of the most essential tools used in paintless dent repair is the whale tail, or rod. Whale tails are long, thin rods that are inserted into the dent from the inside of the vehicle. They are named whale tails because they terminate in a somewhat t-shaped or triangular head, similar to the tail of a whale.

Once the whale tail is placed inside the panel of a vehicle, it is used to gently push and massage the dent out from the inside until it pops back into place. 

#2. Slide Hammers 

A slide hammer is another essential tool used in paintless dent repair. A slide hammer is a rod with an attachment point on one side, a handle on the other, and a sliding weight along the center. Many slide hammers are more complex and have options to adjust the length or add more weights. 

Slide hammers work by attaching to a dent. Then, the weight is slid either against the dent or toward the technician in order to create a pulling force. As the weight slams into either end of the hammer, it causes a sudden jolt that pulls the dent out.

#3. Dent Lifter

A dent lifter is a tool that is placed on the outside of the vehicle to lift dents out. It consists of a suction cup or other adhesive component on one end that attaches to the dent, and a handle on the other.  

To use a dent lifter, the technician will attach the suction cup to the dent and then pull on the handle. This action will cause the dent to pop out. Dent lifters are often used in conjunction with other tools, such as whale tails or slide hammers, to remove tougher dents. 

#4. Window Guard

Since dents often occur on side panels of the vehicle, it’s important to protect the windows from being damaged during the repair. In order to ensure the windows don’t break during the forceful actions required to lift dents, PDR technicians use a window guard.

A window guard is a thin tool that slides in the glass passage and acts as a barrier of protection between the glass and the body panel. They are often made out of stainless steel, but may be made of other materials as well.

#5. Glue Sticks and Glue Gun

Although it may seem low-tech, glue sticks and glue guns are the unsung heros of PDR. Hot glue is used in many different PDR applications, but mostly to act as a temporary hold for dent pulling tools.

For example, when working with a dent lifter, the glue gun can be used to attach the suction cup to the dent. Likewise, pull tabs (small discs with a loop on one end) can be attached to dents with glue in order to attach a slide hammer or other PDR tool. 

Once a dent is successfully pulled out, hot glue is relatively easy to remove. Most of the time, it will just peel right off. This makes hot glue a good combination of strong and reliable yet temporary. 


Paintless dent repair is a popular choice for those looking to remove hail damage from their car. Although PDR uses dozens of different tools, the above are five of the most common ones.

If you’re interested in getting paintless dent repair for your car and want to know more about what your repairs would look like and how much they would cost, check out this dent repair cost estimator

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