Things to Consider in Tools Selection

Tool selection is a popular topic amongst our PDR trainees particularly when there's hundreds of different tools to choose from. How do you know which tool to choose for a particular dent? Let’s go through this process and  hopefully it might help you.

When it comes to tool selection there are two main things to consider, one is ‘reach’ and the other ‘leverage’. So the questions are, can I reach the dents? And can I get some leverage on it?  Just a real simple thought process to think about when you're trying to choose the tool to use. My trainer years ago taught me that it does not really matter what tool you use, as long as you get the dents out. 

I have actually done a dent repair using a wooden broom handle. It has got a nice dome to edge to it which I used to take a dent out in a roof panel. I was able to get in with a broom handle and just gently push them out. It's literally a stick of wood and not related to PDR. The point is about getting access to reach the dent. And then what am I going to use for my leverage?

A Couple of Examples

So I’m repairing a small dent. I want to do just a couple of little examples on what kinds of tools will help to get to the area that I want to work in. So whether you're using extension bars, screw tips, dual bars or leverage blocks, S hook and, O-rings it all depends on the area you're working on.

So working on this rear quarter panel using this bar which is just a fairly standard door bar. It's a hockey stick style bar so it's just got that kind of curve that shape to it. This is a fairly short one from BLE tools. This door bar is not limited to being used on door panels only. I often use these on every panel on my car where I can get accessibility. And what I like about it is where it has that hockey stick. It's a kind of well bent bar that you can get. So if I'm coming in through the hole I can come in and reach a certain area of the panel from the other way or reach the bottom half of the panel.

What I like about these particular kinds of tools is once you're in there it gives you plenty of leverage or reach getting behind the damage. So this is reinforced on the inside so you can twist or you can come straight and just leverage straight into the back side of the dents.

Understanding The Correct Tool

So what's going to be the right tool to reach and get leverage? So whether that's coming in through a locator hole or coming up from the bottom, leaning against the tire and getting some leverage. So having the screw tip bars really opens up your options in terms of all the different tips and turns it into a multipurpose tool. The tip that's particularly popular is the DentCraft are those with a little red cherry caps on the end. So when you can get these behind dents it makes  removing damage  a lot quicker. 

Now we're using my example of the hockey stick bar. This particular one has no screw tip. So the one of the ways to really maximize this tool is to be able to give you that same reach and leverage that this tool can give me by just applying a little bit of tape around there. And what's good about this is you can have many layers of tape around there. It gives me that kind of damper between the metal tool tip and the metal panel. 

I can also remove some layers of tape so it's thinner and that will change the kind of  pressure that I'm putting on that panel as well. So even though this isn't a screw tip bar, I'm able to change the sharpness of the tip and change the damper by just changing the layers or the different amounts of tape on the tip.

Also Essential 

Another thing that is really going to help you understand the correct tool for the job is understanding your access points. I'll go for a couple of different points that we've got to get different tools behind to give us the right access to particular areas in that panel. 

Taking a look at this front wheel arch panel, again, if we had a dent around here then there would be a couple of different ways to access it. The very first thing I do on a front wing is to  check what access we have to the area inside. So on this particular model, it's nice and open and I can get a tool through the big wide gap. 

A Wide Range of Tools

I've really got a wide range of tools I can use, whether it be one of my kind of door hockey stick bars, or I could even get my full double bend screw tip tool to give me different options for the tips to reach any of this area. If it wasn't there, my option would be to come in underneath. 

Understanding your access points is also going to help you in terms of your tool selection. So with a nice bar like this, the double bend which I have screwed on the end, I'm able to come in and through one of these holes. I get plenty of reach and plenty of leverage as well.

Some Reminders

And it's worth noting, If you are working around these kinds of edges, they can be a bit sharp. So look after yourself and if you're coming anywhere near the headlamp, it's always good to put something over the headlamp cloth tape or leverage block  just to make sure we protect those kinds of plastic lugs.

So there's one option to come in with that sort of bar from the top or from the underside. And then also with my hockey stick bar, I can get in through there. That's going to give me reach to most different places around that wing, to the front section or from underneath. 

Key Takeaway

My main two points when it comes to tool selection are about reach, leverage and to know your access points. So every time you're working with a vehicle, just be sure to look around, lift the bonnet, open up the doors or even check behind lamps. See where potentially you can have access whether underneath or from the top of certain panels or from behind. 

If you're just starting off and you've got hundreds of different tools laid out in front of you and you don't know where to start, make sure that you understand reach, leverage, and  accessibility to narrow down your selection and help you repair those dents.

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