The Reviewer: Kevin Miller is the collision center director at BMW Concord and has been affiliated with BMW for 25 years. He started working in the industry when he was in high school. He was a BASF paint rep for four years before he started working with BMW San Francisco. He eventually made the transition to BMW Concord and he is also the collision center director for Weatherford BMW in Oakland.
The Shop: BMW Concord is one of only four certified BMW collision centers in the Bay area of California. The 16,000-square-foot facility has been open since 2007.
How it Works: The staff was introduced to the T-Hotbox by Betag Innovations when it was looking at other products offered through the Eco Repair Systems of North America. Eco Repair Systems approves products that improve efficiencies and reduces waste. Betag Innovations demonstrated the T-Hotbox, and Miller saw an opportunity to cut back on how often BMW Concord would need to hire a subcontractor for PDR work.
The handheld unit removes dents by using heat to warm up the area around the dent, which allows the dent to pop back to its original state. Betag Innovations offers a unit that works on steel and one that works on aluminum, which was a runner-up for Best New Product at 2016’s SEMA Show. BMW Concord uses the steel model. The T-Hotbox is preset for time and power level. Once the time and power level has been selected, the dent removal device is held over the dent and the button is pressed. Depending on the severity of the dent, the dent will go back to its original state in a matter of seconds.
The Review: The shop has used the tool for a little over a year. Miller says that the tool works like magic on panels that have not been severely damaged. All he has to do is warm up the area and soft dents are totally eliminated. Miller says that it cannot be used all all dents. Anything with a sharp crease will still require the shop to call someone for PDR, but the frequency that this has to be done has decreased significantly. Miller says that the T-Hotbox is used daily and that he loves how compact it is. He adds that he’s noticed that results will vary depending on the type of car it is used on, but that it works extremely well on the BMWs that his shop services.
The ROI: A subcontractor would charge between $75–$100 a panel to come out to the shop. Since Miller only needs to call for severe dents, he said that the T-Hotbox paid for itself within a few months. The time savings has also been a huge benefit. Miller says the T-Hotbox removes dents in a matter of 30 seconds—the old way of grinding the paint off and pulling or pushing the dent out took about 15 minutes.
Miller also says it’s improved his shop’s CSI. Because the method is so quick and effective, the staff can now take care of dents that normally wouldn’t have been taken care of or would have been an extra charge without charging the customer anything.