Unexpected hailstorms can wreak havoc on your car's finish and leave noticeable dents on its surface. It's not easy to repair car hail damage -- it can end up costing you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars to fix the affected areas. This type of damage will usually require the services of a professional auto repair shop, especially on large, dented surfaces. The hood, roof and trunk are the areas that are likely to absorb most of the damage caused by hailstorms. Here are a few helpful tips for fixing hailstorm damage on your car:
The Sun + Hair Dryer + Dry Ice = Possible Results
This technique is popular among automotive enthusiasts when it comes to the removal of small dents. The idea is simple: heat will inevitably cause the metal surface to expand and (hopefully) pop the dent out. Remember that the more time the car spends time under the sun, the better this technique will work. Use a plastic and/or leather conditioner for the car's interior, so as to not damage it while exposing the car to maximum sunlight.
If the sun's heat isn't particularly strong that day, a simple hair dryer could be used in conjunction with the sun to concentrate the heat to a specific area. Point the hair dryer to the dented area for two-minute intervals until the dent pops out. Be careful not to touch the hot lip of the hair dryer on any painted surface. A two-to-four inch gap between the dryer and the surface is recommended.
In addition to the sun and hair dryer, dry ice can be used for "tougher" dents. By drastically changing the surface temperature from cold to hot, the metal expands and pops the dent out in a best-case scenario.
Car Dent Repair Kits = Likely Results
For dents that are fairly small and not deep, a dent repair kit may be an inexpensive and simple solution. These kits are available at any auto parts store and tend to be very user friendly -- instructions are always included. The best part is that they usually cost under $40. Most include several stems for various sized dents, a glue gun and a knockdown tool. You may be surprised at how well the kit works and how professional the result looks. We don't recommend this kit for large, deep dents -- you might cause even more damage trying to fix those with a kit.
Professional Service = Guaranteed Results
The two techniques mentioned above will remove the majority of hail damage on your car, but a professional job at your local auto body shop is recommended for deep dents or badly damaged surfaces. The services tend to be cheap, fast and rarely require a new paint job. However, it is a good idea to compare prices and offered services at various body shops to see which package works best for your wallet and car's situation.
Hailstorm damage is a car owner's worst nightmare and can easily be avoided with a few cautionary steps: try to park your car in a shaded or covered area, especially during seasons when hailstorms are prevalent. If you're going to be going out of town for an extended amount of time, make sure that your car is parked in an enclosed area and, if possible, have someone check on it once in a while. Open spaces will leave your car helpless against the wrath of this natural phenomenon.
Creative Commons photo by erichhh