Hail damage repair is one of the most common auto body repair procedures.
Most of the time, hail damage is mild and might not even be noticeable. But, baseball or even golf ball-sized hail can wreak havoc on a car’s exterior. In these cases, one may find a damaged windshield or car body. This type of hail damage requires the attention of a qualified repair professional.
You’ve probably seen lots of DIY hail damage repair videos online. You’re probably thinking it will be easy to pop out a few dents and dings. These videos certainly make hail damage repair look easy. But unless you really know what you’re doing, you can actually cause more damage to your car, and cost yourself more money in the long run. For the best and longest-lasting results, you should always take your car to a reputable auto body repair shop.
In this post, our auto body repair experts at CBS Collision will talk about two common hail damage repair methods, how they compare, and what hail damage means for you.
Can Hail Damage Total A Car?
Many people believe that “totaling” a car means a collision has absolutely destroyed it. This is not always the case. A car is “totaled” when the cost to fix it exceeds its value. Older vehicles with extensive hail damage could very well be totaled because over time, the car’s value decreases.
But whether or not a vehicle is totaled, it is best to let your insurance company decide.
How To Fix Hail Damage
There are two methods for hail damage repair: paintless dent repair and body filler.
What is Paintless Dent Repair?
In some cases where the damage is relatively mild, paintless dent repair is a useful technique. It is important to remember that paintless dent repair isn’t viable for every dent and ding. But a professional auto body technician can tell you whether paintless dent repair is viable for your vehicle.
Paintless dent repair involves using special dent removal tools to push the dent from underneath the body panel. This leaves the car looking like new from the outside. Alternatively, there are also dent puller tools techs can use to pull the dent outward. Both methods achieve the same smooth outward appearance.
PDR is an appropriate fix for aluminum and steel vehicles. Paintless dent repair is only viable for hail damage repair if the paint surface is in good condition. If the paint is scratched or cracked, paintless dent repair is not viable. The surface in the damaged area must also be free of any torn metal or sharp edges. If there is cracked paint or sharp edges, alternative dent repair methods are necessary.
How Do Auto Body Repair Shops Use PDR For Hail Damage Repair?
Even though it is always best to take any hail damage repair to a reputable body shop, we find that it is helpful for our customers to know exactly how we repair our vehicles. Let us walk you through the process of paintless dent repair:
- First, we remove any trim that keeps you from gaining access to the underside fo the dent.
- Then, we use the dent removal tool to gently push the dent outward.
Again, paintless dent repair is only a viable repair method when there is no damage to the surface of the paint. This is usually the case for smaller, more mild dents. But in cases where a technician can use PDR, it is a simple and efficient fix for all parties.
What is Body Filler?
Body filler is a substance that an auto body repair shop can use to fill in dents or dings. It is a tried and true solution for dent repair and is the product of many years’ evolution and innovation.
There are many different types of body filler, which manufacturers designed to repair varying degrees of damage. Body filler can repair anything from minor dents to extensive damage.
In a nutshell, a repair shop applies body filler over the dented surface and smooths it down to create a smooth outward appearance. If the damage is particularly severe, a shop may apply putty over the filler for additional smoothness.
How Do Auto Body Repair Shops Use Body Filler For Hail Damage Repair?
Body filler is relatively simple to use, though if you use it incorrectly, it can leave your car looking worse than before.
- First, we clean the dented area and remove all residue
- We remove as much of the dent as possible with dent removal tools
- Our techs will sand the dent and surrounding area to remove any paint, then:
- Mix the body filler and spread it over the dented area
- Wait 20 minutes for the filler to dry
- Sand the area until it is smooth
- Apply putty as needed
- Sand until smooth and repaint.
How Do Body Shops Know Which Repair Method To Use?
Whether a body shop uses paintless dent repair or body filler really depends on the level of damage.
PDR is ideal when there is minimal damage. PDR also involves no chemicals, meaning it is cheaper and more eco-friendly.
Paintless dent repair is also a good option if you’re going to sell your car in the future. Painting and traditional dent repair methods can cause your car’s value to depreciate.
Body filler, on the other hand, is optimal for repairing heavily dented vehicles. If hail scratches the paint or the metal underneath, body filler will be necessary.
The bottom line is that PDR is a great solution for small dents and minor damage. For anything major, an auto body shop will need to use body filler.
Contact CBS Collision
Our Louisiana weather is pretty unpredictable. When your car sustains hail damage in the Shreveport-Bossier area, give us a call at CBS Collision! You can contact us by calling 318.741.2373 for our Bossier City location or our Shreveport location at 318.636.6134.
You can also use our handy repair estimate tool to get an idea of a price tag directly from our experts at CBS.