damage hail to blue carEvery year, home and auto insurance companies in the United States experience about $15 billion in total claims related to hail damage. The Great Plains, Texas and the Midwest are the hardest hit by severe hailstorms and more likely to see damage than other parts of the country.

However, that doesn’t mean we’re safe from hail in New England. Many people have been caught in a storm that left their car or home’s roof covered in hailstone dents. Learn how this type of precipitation may damage your car and what can be done to repair it.

Understanding Hail Damage

Hail is a form of solid precipitation that’s round, icy and at least 0.2 inches wide. The smaller particles are less likely to cause significant damage, yet larger hailstones are known to wreak havoc.

As a result, your car’s metal surfaces could get covered in small dents across all panels. Although it appears superficial, hail damage may affect the car’s structure and, in extreme cases, can shatter the windows.

Not all hail damage is created equal; the weather conditions and your car’s structure play a role. What should you know?

Strong Winds

Hailstorms are often accompanied by wind. The faster the gusts, the faster this precipitation travels. If the wind is blowing in one direction, your car may see more damage from that angle, or the dents may appear in an uneven pattern.

Storm Length

The longer the storm lasts, the greater degree of damage your car sees from pelting hailstones. A quick hailstorm, especially if you’re out driving and can seek shelter, might not do much damage. However, if you leave your car outdoors and the storm continues for hours, expect to see far more dents.

Size & Type of Stone

The typical hailstone has a smooth, spherical shape while others are elliptical, uneven or have jagged edges. Stones can also vary in hardness. The harder hailstones have been known to damage a car’s side panels and alter its structure.

Metal Type

Your car’s metal also influences the degree of damage it may experience. Generally, thicker steel is more resistant to larger hailstones. Thinner aluminum, a common material for trim, may show nicks and dents from stones just a half-inch wide.

Repairing Hail Damage

Auto enthusiasts have likely seen the DIY methods for hail damage, involving dent removal kits, dry ice, hairdryers and suction cups. Although these techniques may pull out a few dents, they are not reliable for large, deeper impacts.

The traditional auto body shop method would be to fill in the dent and re-paint the affected area. Yet, paintless dent repair (PDR) has become a more convenient process.

PDR involves pushing or pulling the dents with a set of special tools to smooth out the metal. Particularly for hail, PDR has the upper hand: Hail dents tend to be conical in shape or have a creased indent and, by themselves, don’t scrape off paint. Overall, the process takes less time, can be used for a variety of dent sizes and is comparably cheaper.

However, PDR can’t solve everything. If hail altered your car’s structural integrity, the side panels may need to be replaced.
If your car gets hit with hail this summer, reach out to DaSilva’s Auto Body for paintless dent repair. We can also work with your insurance carrier to file a claim. To learn more, give us a call today.