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What is a panel repair?
Panel repair involves the repair of damage from impacts or environmental fallout on the panels on your vehicle. Often, panel repair is a suitable option instead of replacement, which keeps the structural integrity of the vehicle in check, and reduces the cost of repairs compared to panel replacement.
How to tell if you need a panel repair?
There are many ways to tell if your vehicle requires a panel repair. Looking at your vehicle in good lighting will show up any damage to the panels, including dents, scratches, rust spots or creases, and larger damage will be easy to notice. Depending on how bad the damage is and how worried you are by your vehicles physical appearance, you may be able to leave the damaged panels as is, but if the damage is substantial, repair or even replacement will be required to return the vehicle back to a factory finish.
A specialist panel repair shop or panel beater will be able to advise you on the best course of action to rectify any damage that you notice, and often superficial damage may be hiding more damage underneath the panel, requiring more in depth repairs.
How important is it to get a panel repair?
This depends on how damaged the panel is, and the location of the panel. The first step is to get your vehicle’s damage inspected by a panel repair shop or specialised smash repairer. They will be able to advise the best course of action, whether that be a repair or replacement. It’s important to listen to their advice, if their recommendation of replacement will mean that the panel is no longer suitable for use.
If the damage is just superficial, repair may not be required if you are not worried about how the vehicle looks, but if any exposed metal is present, having the panel repaired before rust takes hold will prevent more expensive repairs or replacement further down the track.
How is a panel repaired?
Repairing a panel can take a number of different approaches, ranging from paintless dent removal (PDR) to removal of the panel, reshaping as required, repainting and then refitting back to the car. A specialised panel repair shop will be able to quote for any repairs needed, or if replacing the panel with a second hand part or new replacement is the better or more cost effective option.
How much does a panel repair cost?
The cost of having your panel repaired can vary wildly, depending on the damage, the location of the panel and the type of vehicle you drive.
Repair of small dents or creases
These repairs are often the easiest and most cost-effective repairs to carry out to panels, as paintless dent removal can return the panel to an almost factory finish without requiring any other paint or panel beating steps. Depending on the location, however, paintless dent removal may not be an option.
Repair of larger dents, creases or paint defects
This is where specialised panel repair shops are most valuable, as they have all the tools and techniques required to carry out these panel repairs. Removal of paint to allow for panel repairs are common, and often require the damage to be removed by reshaping the panel back into factory shape as best as possible with the proper tools, to then be smoothed over with body filler and repainted in the factory colour.
Small paint chips or defects can be touched up with factory colour, whereas larger paint chips and damage will require sanding to remove the damaged paint and reapplication of primer, base coat and clear coat to return the panel to a factory finish.
Repair of rust damage or significant impact damage
In these instances, it may be more cost-effective to opt for a complete panel replacement, either with brand new aftermarket parts, or a second-hand panel from a specialty wrecker. Depending on the vehicle you drive, whether it be a rare or bespoke vehicle or a classic car, replacement may not be an option - a specialist vehicle restoration centre will be able to provide you with a quote to have the work carried out.
Where can you get a panel repair?
Depending on the type of damage that requires repairs, your local smash repairs business will be able to assess what is required and provide a quote to have it repaired or replaced. Paintless Dent Removal can be carried out at your home or workplace, as many PDR specialists operate as a mobile business. This is a great option if you only have small damage that requires repairs, and means not being left without your vehicle while it is getting repaired.