Repairing Dents Caused by Hail
Weather: you cannot predict it and you sure cannot control it. Powerful storm systems can quickly come raging in, leaving a path of destruction behind them. For those who have ever witnessed a hailstorm, the effects can be extremely damaging, especially to vehicles left out in the elements unprotected. Not everyone has access to a garage or other covering when a hailstorm strikes, so knowing how to repair the body damage hail can leave on a vehicle is important. Read on to learn what repairing hail dents on a vehicle entails, along with some money-saving tips.
Assess the Hail Damage
First, assess the size of the dent the hail created. If it is a small dent you should be able to easily fix it yourself. Dents that are deep and wide may need to have a professional assessment. In addition, dents that are chipped or older will require attention from an auto repair specialist, as they can create a stripping effect while trying to repair them, which can cause further damage to your vehicle’s paint.
Hail Damage Repair Tools
To fix a small hail dent, you will need a plunger or suction cup, a rubber mallet, a slightly wet, soft rag, or a car dent removal kit. You can purchase a car dent removal kit from your local automotive parts and accessories retailer for around $40.00. Depending upon the damage, you may also need a hair dryer.
The goal of repairing hail dents is to make the surface flat again. To begin, place the plunger or suction cup directly over the dent, making sure the middle of the dent is in the middle of the cup or plunger. Pull hard to pop the metal back into place. Use your rubber mallet to tap it from inside, if it is easily accessible, such as inside the door panel, on the hood of the vehicle, or on the roof. In many cases, this process can remove the dent without any further damage to your vehicle. For stubborn dents, try the hair drying method. With the hair dryer on high heat, aim the airflow over the dent for two minutes at a time. This expands the metal, and can make the metal easier to pop back into place.
If you cannot remove the dent yourself, consult an expert. There are paint-less dent repair technicians and conventional auto body repair technicians. Paint-less dent repair technicians use metal rods or body picks to push the dent out from the inside. Glue is sometimes used to assist with pulling the dents from the outside of the vehicle. A conventional body repair method requires sanding the area, filling it back in, refinishing it, and then repainting. The conventional body repair method costs more money due to the steps involved, while the paint-less dent repair method is generally less expensive.
If you live in areas that are more prone to damaging weather, such as hail, check with your insurance provider to be sure you not only have physical damage coverage, but also comprehensive coverage, which is part of physical damage that covers weather-related damage to your vehicle. As soon as damage has occurred, call your insurance company and report it. If you choose to have the vehicle repaired, find a good repair shop that can guarantee their work and can fix your vehicle promptly.
If you know a hailstorm is coming, try to put your vehicle under some sort of cover to protect it from the hail’s damaging effects. If this is not possible, or you are caught in the storm unexpectedly, give yourself the peace of mind knowing that it is repairable. Most dents you can fix yourself for little money, while others may need to be repaired by an auto body repair professional. Assess the damage, contact your insurance company, and then, depending upon whether the damage is covered by your insurance or not, fix the dent yourself or call a local repair shop. Remember, to safeguard yourself against weather-related events, by obtaining comprehensive coverage from your insurance agency.