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In the toolbox
A good set of stainless steel tools is suggested for strength and durability. Tools needed for a PDR service involve several variations of lengths, thickness and tips to attack varied situations.
Beginning PDR techs should look for a set that includes spring steel tools. These tools tend to be more flexible. They offer less torque when you need to push a dent on a harder metal, such as Mercedes or BMW.
A good beginner tool set should consist of roughly 20 tools in a wide variety of tips and lengths to accommodate all types of dents. Successful PDR techs usually use about a dozen tools on a regular basis and a specialized tool only on rare occassions.
Despite some sales pitches, new techs entering the business should not be looking at getting sets of 70, 80 or 100 tools — it's not going to help you become a better PDR tech. Most of the time these sets are one tool duplicated with different lengths, which you will discover is an unnecessary waste.
A new PDR tech should be concentrating on education in the beginning. Attending a good school will teach you various techniques for access and making quality repairs.
These training sessions will teach you how to use the wide variety of tools and also give you tips on how to work under braces, access tight areas or how to use thicker tools when you need more torque or force to remove the dent.
Lights, reflectors, boards!
Equally important in making quality repairs is having the correct lights and reflector board to read the dents properly. Proper lighting will also be easier on the eye.
Training your eyes to read the dent is as important as having a quality PDR tool. Because PDR can be difficult on your eyes when you are first learning, you will need proper lighting to ensure you can be as precise as possible.
Bottom line — good lights that are easy on the eyes will help you make faster and better repairs.
Michael Patrick has been president of Appearance Plus since 1987. Michael was voted PDR Person of the Year at the 2006 Mobile Tech Expo and Paintless Dent Repair Olympics.