PDR Tech of the Month Carl Stuckey

Carl was born in Jacksonville, NC but has lived all over the US. Carl now lives in Hilton Head Island, SC with his wife, son, dog, and turtle. Carl began his career in PDR in 1997 with Dent Wizard. After finishing his undergrad at ECU, he helped open a Saturn dealership. They lost their first dent guy to an unfortunate event and Jamie Hawkins took over his route. Jamie eventually talked Carl in to leaving the dealership and going to work for Dent Wizard.

Carl left Dent Wizard when his contract was up and spent a few years traveling the world working hail. He met his wife while out of the country at a hail storm. When they decided to get married, they moved to Hilton Head Island and he ran a successful route/retail business there for seven years. Carl is now back to chasing hail after losing a big auto group account last year. Carl still has a retail location and a few dealers on the island that are maintained by his wife and a close friend while he’s on the road.

Carl makes one of the best LED lights in the industry. He has always enjoyed making his own lights and has been trying many different things over the years. One day Carl and Anthony Spencer were talking about how they hated the cords on their lights and he decided to do something about it. After thousands of dollars and many different LEDs and batteries, the Stuckey Light was born. He now has some of the parts manufactured, but each light is still assembled by Carl and his wife. Carl has customers across the world including being a supplier for VW Group and all their factories from Bugatti to VW. His patent application has been accepted for the light, so we should see the light’s patent number very soon. Carl just came out with a new light stand and has more things he’s working on, but wouldn’t tell me what just yet.

I asked Carl about his view of the future of the PDR Industry and here is what he said, “I hate to say it but I feel the future of PDR looks very gray, especially for route and hail. There are still some small protected markets for a route like ours was. When you deal with large corporate groups though, they are only going to look at numbers. With hail every year you have more and more people getting into it and more and more people willing to work for less than they are worth. I think a quality technician can still make a decent living doing retail. I am all for coming together as an industry to change things for the better. NAPDRT has been trying for years and now PDR Nation has come in with a fresh passion and drive. I hope these groups will help but until you can get everyone to accept a standard nothing is going to get better.

By Carl Stuckey

The Stability Technique for Oil Can Dents

When doing severe hail and major door ding work we have all come across what many call the oil can affect. This basically means that the surrounding perimeter of the damage cannot absorb the pressure of repairing the impact area, causing the impact to pop in and out. Take notice that the oil can affect usually only takes place on flimsy areas of the panel like the center of roofs, hoods and the middle of doors. I decided a few years ago that this was one of the most challenging dents I have ever encountered and to become better I needed to find a technique that would save these panels.

The first stability technique I want to discuss I’s the prop rod for roofs, you will need one that extends farther than the normal; I found this one on the Snap-On truck. When repairing hard hit oil can dents on a roof, one of the first thing you want to do is stabilize that flimsy panel. With the long prop rod you can extend it from the floor to the roof and push a high a few inches from the impact area creating stability. That’s the key creating stability throughout the repair process.

The second stability technique is the mini lifter panel attachment. I recommend using a large tab and placing it so you can connect the lifter and its feet will be next to the impact area, no further than a half-inch. After placing the lifter crank the tension up so the feet will apply ample force to the panel. Continue checking the pressure during the repair process making sure the glue does not release. This technique can be used on doors, roofs and hoods however I have found it most useful on top panels.

Last but not least the finishing technique. I recommend when repairing a severe oil can dent, after creating stability, you should use a close fog and a very sharp tipped tool. Make methodical pushes to shrink the damage making the impact area much more manageable. The close up fog is great for seeing the bottom of the damage and the sharp tip will make sure you do not over push the core causing that dreadful oil can to rear its evil head. With these stability techniques you will notice a difference. The damage will move smoother and repair time will be reduced. Thanks for your time and happy pushing!

by John Highley

Acknowledgements, Seth Andrew Byerley – Prop Rod Technique

PDR Before & After: Advancements in the industry

The tools and abilities of PDR has come a long way over the past 15-20 years. To look back at the way things were when a lot of us started in the business to the way things are now, is simply amazing. From the days of bending and grinding screwdrivers for hand tools to carbine fiber hail rods, we’ve come a long way. Let’s take a look back and compare the way things were to the way they are today.

It wasn’t that long ago that techs were salvaging torsion rods from old decks to make their tools. Hand tools were made by grinding down screwdrivers and bending the shafts. Whale tails were….. well, there were none. The tool options today are endless. We have tools made in different shapes, lengths and diameters to get to any dent possible. Interchangeable tips and adjustable handles have turned one tool into possibly 20 or more. Whale tails have made our lives so much easier as well. Whale tails are like cell phones to us, we don’t know what we’d do without them, but it wasn’t that long ago that they didn’t exist.

Glue pulling has been a major breakthrough for our industry. It began with large round tabs and a slide hammer to assist in fixing dents on rails and other areas that weren’t accessible with a tool. We would cut down those large tabs to make them smaller to pull less of an area. Now, glue tabs come in many different sizes and shapes with multiple types of glue and pullers. These advancements allow glue pulling to be used on large damage, creases, and so much more than we would’ve believed when glue pulling first started..

Lighting has changed dramatically as well. Remember the Lights of America two bulb light fixtures with cords draped across the floor getting in the way? Headaches from staring at two fluorescent lights all day are a thing of the past. LED battery powered lights have helped revolutionize our industry. With all the advancements in PDR, we are able to repair damage that was never thought possible in the past. I believe a tech training in PDR today has many advantages over a tech that trained 20 years ago. The changes in our tools have been amazing. It’s too bad that the matrix hasn’t advanced with it.

By Stephen Padgett

Next Month State of the Industry By Jamie Hawkins