Ironing Out the Dents of Hail Damage

How to fix hail damage on a car

The storm woke you up out of a sound sleep with the dreaded pinging sounds on the roof. The next morning, the first thought that came to mind was how to fix hail damage on a car after looking at your 2018 Toyota sedan covered with dents.

Repairing the damage isn’t cheap, depending on the size, number, and site. Your insurance will likely cover it—after you meet your deductible. You can expect to pay anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to well north of a thousand or more.

Several methods exist for restoring your vehicle. Results vary with some working better than others. A lot of dents will affect used car values considerably. So, it’s worth trying to fix it. A few are DIY with others requiring a trained technician to get it done.

Temperature Changes

This first approach won’t cost you anything. However, it may not take care of the problem entirely or even at all. The theory is that you can use heat or extreme temperature changes for popping the dents out and restore the smooth surface.

You can try parking your car in the sun to heat the metal so that it will expand. Of course, it helps if you live someplace where there are plenty of hours of direct sunlight beating down on your vehicle. And there is a certain satisfaction with Mother Nature cleaning up after herself.

If that doesn’t work, some people claim that using a hair dryer will do the same thing. This one is a bit tricky with a risk of causing more damage if you aren’t careful and mar the surrounding paint. Use at your own risk.

If you don’t have luck with heat, you can take the opposite route. Some say that using dry ice will get the job done. This method is not for the faint of heart as its temperature is -109 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use it on its own or heat the site first and then go the other extreme. There is some risk with this one. Be sure to wear gloves when handling it.

Dent Puller or Removal Kit

Another DIY option is getting a dent puller. It uses suction to pull them out and hopefully, restore your car to its original condition. A dent removal kit adds a glue gun to the mix along with other tools. The former will run you under $100 and the latter, around $20 for a decent one.

Using either requires some skill. If the damage is minor, you might have some luck. However, it’s probably a better option if you have a used vehicle instead of a brand new one. Besides, it’s cheaper than getting a new ride on Car Finder.

Finish Glazing

Finish glazing works well if there isn’t a lot of damage. It is something you can do with a hefty dose of patience since it’s not foolproof. It involves sanding the dents with sandpaper to rough up the surface so that the glazing putty will stick to the car. It’s essential not to go too deep. You should keep the surface intact.

Then, it’s just a matter of priming, painting, and applying a clear coat to the spots. That’s where the patience comes into play if you have a lot of damage.

Paintless Dent Repair

This technique works on the same principle as above only you’re pushing the dents out from underneath instead of from the surface. On the positive side, it reduces damage to the paint so that it can save you some cash. Insurers like this method too for that reason. It also can minimize the depreciation of your car if you’ve been looking at new car prices.

On the downside, it’s not something you can do in the garage unless you have the tools and expertise to do it right. Paintless dent repair is something that a pro should do.

Old-School Heat Method

If you have an older vehicle, some of the previous options won’t work. The metal on these cars is thicker than newer ones, making it harder to pop out the dents. It’s not a DIY project. It is a job for the repair shop.

As the name implies, it uses heat from an oxyacetylene torch to pop out the dents. It’s quick and doesn’t involve all the prep to finish glazing or the mess of using a body filler, aka, Bondo. It’s also an excellent option if there is a lot of damage. But, it’s not something you can do with newer vehicles with their thinner aluminum bodies.

Sometimes hail damage is unavoidable if you don’t have a garage or a storm kicks up with no warning. Fortunately, you have several options for fixing the damage whether you want to tackle the job yourself or leave it to a professional.