PDR Estimating – know your panels video

Writing accurate estimates in paintless repair is a must.
Knowing the panel names used on cars you estimate for PDR gives you expert status.

My auto body class was an eclectic mix of people.
From pimple faced high school rockers to thirty-something adult students in army surplus jackets trying to make a new start.

The instructor, Mr. Opdyke, was new to teaching. Since he was used to working in a high production body shop, facing a room full of newbies must have felt like slow motion.
A very trusting soul volunteered his 1968 Pontiac GTO to the class for restoration, and it needed to be taken apart.
I watched as the instructor assigned teams of two the different panels for removal.
Finally, he pointed at me and said, “You take off the valance panel.”
“Er, what’s a valance panel?”
Mr. Opdyke then gathered us around the car and taught us the names of each panel.
Since you will write estimates for paintless dent removal, you need to know those names too.

Watch the video below to see how to write accurate estimates with proper names for each panel.

Disclaimer: valance panels are not listed in this video because they are not really found on modern cars. (But I’ll give you a hint, they could never get hail damage.)

Note: if you use different panel names for PDR in your country, please share them in the comments below.
I’ll trade you a hood for a bonnet.

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  1. Hey Tim,

    In our shop and with a lot of people in the industry locally we commonly would refer to what you call the “sail panel” as the C-pillar. Working forward, the pillar area between the doors would be the B-pillar and the front rail between the windshield and front door would be the A-pillar. We use these terms as they seem to work well as a universal system to call out a particular area on a car. These terms seem to have originated with the car designers themselves.

  2. The car industry in my thoughts made the biggest mistake by calling cars left side or right side. What they should have called the car the driver side or passenger side then there would never be a mistake made. I cannot tell you how many times either parts get ordered incorrectly by either the shop or the person ordering parts. Just my thougths they should have called it driver side or passenger side.

    1. @Eric: I have learned that when talking to either the public or to the counterman to always talk in terms of passenger’s and driver’s side. Let them be the smart ones and let them start talking about left or right and it usually turns out okay. Half of them think the right side is the driver’s side, so it’s easier to subtly correct their terminology in conversation as you go. LOL!

    2. @Eric:
      Drivers side or passengers side? Well I have a truck with the driver on the right side.
      We also see trucks with the driver in the middle. (cement trucks)

  3. I agree with both eric and dan. A piller B pillar C pillar, thats what i was taught my first year. I’ve also always called them drivers and passangers side. Left and right just gets confusing.

    I’ve been working with cars for alomost 9 years so i’ve known what to call what for a long while, but I do remember when i called a fender a quarter. I first looked at the video like a joke but then i remembered i was once uneducated also. So I hope that video helps people from making some of those embaressing mistakes I made before I was educated.

  4. Alot of times i will use different names on the bill for the rear trunk panel depending on what type of vehicle it is. For instance if it has a regular trunk I refer to it as a decklid, but if it is a hatchback car I will use hatch, and if it is a SUV or van i will sometimes use either liftgate or hatch.

  5. I grew up in England where a fender is a wing, a hood a bonnet, a trunk or deck lid a boot.But 25 years in the U.S. and all that is a distant memory.
    Just thought I would throw in my two cents…. or is that pence !!!

  6. Thanks Tim for jolting the mind.Some further additives and mind you im a panel beater from aussie land if it makes any difference.I call the cowl a scuttle panel or is this the detachable panel in the same area?To add to the confusion i call the left hand side (the near side) hence nearest to the curb in Australia that is,and right hand side the off side.Now that adds fuel to the fire!

    1. Jason,

      “I call the cowl a scuttle panel”

      thanks for this, I hadn’t heard this one.
      I would be speculating, but cowl here is likely adopted from aeroplanes (see cowling)

      “i call the left hand side (the near side) hence nearest to the curb in Australia that is,and right hand side the off side”

      And you are of course, absolutely correct. Since Australians drive on the left side, this serves you well.
      As I was making this video, I had to stop myself from describing the left side as drivers’ side, because this won’t apply in all countries.
      I think its easiest to imagine yourself sitting in the car looking out the front. Your left is your left and so on.
      Now you can write PDR estimates in any country, no matter where the wheel is placed or which side is used for driving.

  7. A Capitan has his ship. mean in defend country. have left & right. that happen in in Europe. Americana drive on right . So work sheet must be written on base.
    Where you live . but you should write a part down, or what you work on. so it is better for your customer’s .

  8. Getting accurate estimated in paintless dent repair is a must and I like that you mentioned that. I have been wanting to have a dent repaired on my car after a small fender bender. I would love to see what I can do within my budget to restore the look of my car.

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