The scariest threat to vehicles from summer storms is hail damage. Any thunderstorm is capable of producing damaging hail in Madison WI. The resulting dents range from dimples to major craters because hail ranges from smaller than a dime to bigger than a baseball. Unless you’re lucky enough to have your car, truck of SUV safely tucked in a garage, you can’t escape hail.
According National Weather Service statistics, any hail reaching an inch in diameter is severe and capable of damaging cars – breaking out head and tail lights and windows in addition to dents in sheet metal. Don’t underestimate the impact of smaller chunks of ice falling from the sky. Hail of almost any size threatens trim and vehicle accessories.
Hail the size of a grapefruit (unimaginable!) has been reported. Luckily, not in the Madison area any time in recent history. Dent repair steps into the realm of a major repair – or writing a vehicle off as a total loss. If you don’t think hail is a real threat, consider an average year in the U.S. has losses of more than $15 Billion in damage repairs from hail.
The Least Hail Damage Repair Hassle
It wasn’t that long ago that wide-spread hail-related damage on any car was an expensive, time-consuming repair project. There are still cases when that’s true, but with paintless dent repair technology it doesn’t have to be. If your car gets dappled with hail dents you want it to look like new as soon as possible at the lowest cost, right?
The paintless procedure is faster because it doesn’t rely upon:
- Using chemical agents
- Removing sheet metal panels
- Sanding the vehicle’s surfaces
The paintless approach doesn’t work for every dent, but it is ideal for most that result from a hail pounding.
There are volumes of do-it-yourself remedies for hail stone damage to vehicle roof, hood and fender panels. The best option is always to take advantage of the skills, experience and training of professionals. Applying the right tools in the right way is critical to making a damaged car look like new again.
Don’t count on them to be reliable, but here are two home remedies for hail damage:
- Apply dry ice – drastic change in temperature sometimes is enough to have a dent “pop” out. Only works on small dents on flat surfaces.
- Apply heat – the same principle as the dry ice. Heat sources range from hair dryers and commercial heat gun. You can just park in a bright, sunny spot. Sounds unreal, right? True, but it’s known to work on black or other cars with dark paint. Only when dents are shallow.
If you really want a showroom look, call upon a professional.
Serious Dent Repair Solutions
If the chunks of ice are big enough they take sizeable divots out of clearcoat, paint and metal. Serious dents require drastic repairs that may include:
- Replacing body panels – unfortunately if you’re caught in a hail storm you aren’t likely to come away with just one or two dents. Your car gets pelted. Dents that crack the paint and penetrate to bare metal require heavy-duty body work. Replacing entire body panels may be the only viable option.
- Filling and repainting – the days of “pounding out” dents have given way to much more delicate procedures but they are no less destructive. Sheet metal gets bent and reshaped. The leftover misshapen surfaces get filled with putty and sanded smooth. The repaired area is then primed and painted – with special care taken to blend the new paint with existing surfaces. This works if you have only a few deeper dents.
Paintless Dent Repair, The High-tech Choice
Auto body repairs that don’t require painting are cheaper and faster than traditional body work. The development of paintless repair techniques gives owners cost-effective options for up to 90% of basic dent repairs. It’s ideal for dings and dents from hail stones.
With the help of specialized tools like high-powered fluorescent or LED lights, trained technicians zero in on the center of each dent. Applying force to the exact center forces the levels of finish back into their original shape. There’s no need to add new paint and try to blend it with weathered, existing finishes.
Depending on the size and number of dents to deal with, this technique takes a few hours compared to days or even weeks with traditional methods. Having the ability keep the overall integrity of your vehicle’s finish while saving time and money makes sense, right?
Check off the positive attributes of a paintless repair:
- Saves money – because it takes less time and fewer materials the cost of labor is drastically reduced. No filters, primer or multiple coats of paint save money, too.
- Environmentally-friendly – no paint, filler or toxic chemicals involved at all so nothing to clean up or breathe in.
- A versatile solution – paintless techniques apply to almost any sized dent and are ideal for dealing with hail damage.
- Preserves value – traditional body shop repairs with filler and paint reduce the value of your car, truck or SUV. The factory-applied finish is not altered and there’s no threat of mismatched colors.
Can You Avoid Hail Damage?
Yes. No. Maybe? If you’re lucky you can avoid damage to a vehicle in a hail storm. With enough notice you can hide you vehicle in your garage or a covered parking structure. If you don’t have access to a spot with a hard roof, a car cover is better than nothing.
If your car is parked in a lot at work, while shopping or otherwise busy you’re out of luck. All you can do is hope for the best.
If you’re driving when rain turns to hail you have choices that might help, including:
- Find cover – if you can, pull over under a freeway overpass or under the canopy of a nearby gas station. Hail usually doesn’t last long.
- Drive directly into the hail – windshields have stronger glass than side windows so they will withstand harder hits than the side of your car. Going towards it is likely to get you out of it sooner (easier said than done, of course!)
- Park on sheltered side of building – if the wind is blowing from the west, park on the east side of a tall building so it takes up the strength of the wind. If you’re lucky a strong wind will blow hail right over your car.
When you cannot avoid a hail storm, rely upon good insurance coverage and professional repairs. Painless repairs are popular with insurance companies because they are less costly than other options.
If you comprehensive coverage on your vehicle’s policy storm damage from hail is most likely covered. Contact you insurance agent as soon as you notice any dings or dents.
Auto liability coverage does not cover damage from hail.
Easy To Find Hail Damage Specialist
Madison area residents are fortunate to have two of the top auto body specialty shops within easy reach AutoColor’s experienced paintless dent repair professionals keep up with the latest technology. Whether your car, truck or SUV was caught in a hail storm or has dent or two, visit our Madison area locations – West on Parmenter Road in Middleton and East on Stoughton Road. Call AutoColor and schedule a visit. Access to our top-flight facilities and skilled technicians is worth the effort, right? Take advantage of our expertise whenever you have hail damage to deal with anywhere in the Madison WI area.