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One of the challenges a car owner faces on a daily basis is dealing with the small dings and dents on our daily drives. The more we use our cars, the more we risk scratching and denting it, but what can we do, right?

While the level of annoyance really depends on the OC-ness of the owner, it's still a pain for any self-respecting car lover. A latero is usually the first thing that comes to mind to remedy dents but a good latero ain't cheap and painting jobs take time.

Fortunately, there is a better option. Paint-less Dent Repair PDR is a fast and more affordable alternative to repainting each dented panel. PDR requires a highly skilled technician with great hand and eye coordination because the DENTist doesn’t usually see his tool as it touches the underside of the dent. He only relies on visual cues as he sees the dent's movement from the force he applies.

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Tools of the trade | Photo: Charlie Cruz

One person who is at the top of the PDR industry is freelancer Jay Mango. A native of San Fernando Pampanga, Jay started his automotive career as a small-town mechanic with dreams of someday working in Manila. In the early months of 2001, Jay took a job at Zeibart, Makati as a reserve mechanic in the Paintless Dent Repair division. That is where he underwent training, starting with small dents or dimples on Japanese cars whose metals were easier to work with. One company and a couple of years later, Jay had gained enough skill and experience to go solo, and the rest was history.

Jay knew that freelancing as a DENTist would be the right course of action to achieve his financial stability but he also knew that it was going to be an uphill battle. He needed to establish his clientele and find enough patrons to sustain his business. Thankfully, Jay's work ethic paid off, and he was able to let his work do the marketing for him. As time went by, his customers grew exponentially and he is now repairing 4 to 15 cars a day depending on the difficulty of the repair. Jay is always on call and he will happily work on Sunday but only until lunch, as he still reserves Sunday afternoon for attending mass with the family. Among his long list of clients are celebrities, politicians, car show patrons, race car drivers, buy and sell agents, high-end car dealerships, car manufacturers and of course, obsessive car guys like us.

According to Jay, European cars are harder to fix because of the difference in the metal -- being made of denser, tougher, and less malleable material. The difficult dents to repair are the ones on big panels like sides of vans. Dents found on contour lines and corners also fall on the difficult list. As long as his custom designed and fabricated dent repair tools can reach the underside of the dent and that the paint is still intact, Jay can still restore it and erase the dent. Spotting the dents is a skill in itself and are easier seen on black and dark-colored vehicles.

As a quicker and cheaper alternative to repainting the affected panels, PDR is definitely the better option. The challenge is finding a skilled practitioner of this black art. With prices ranging from 300.00 to 6,500.00 pesos per dent, it still is more practical to have it repaired via PDR. That, plus you get to retain your vehicle's original paint, which in turn, will add resale value to your car.

In case you need a DENTist, Jay can be reached at 09235192725. Tell him we sent you. *wink*