Small pebble-sized hail hasn’t been known to do much damage, but that doesn’t mean that hail should be underestimated. In fact, it can total a vehicle, requiring the owner to replace it entirely. That being said, you can get away with repairing hail damage to your car if it’s not too serious. Here are five suggestions:
- Take it to an autobody and glass shop.
- Use a car dent remover.
- Try dry ice and blow dryers.
- Assess the damage and DIY the repairs.
- File an insurance claim.
Throughout this article, you’ll also learn detailed instructions on each of the aforementioned tips, the possible damage that hail can cause, preventative measures, and more. Without further ado, let’s check out how you can fix hail damage on your car.
Tips for Fixing Hail Damage on Your Car
Hail damage is frustrating to deal with because there’s no way to tell when it will come and if it will cause problems. Some of the various issues caused by hail include broken glass, dents, paint chips, and more.
The good news is that most hail damage can be repaired. If you want to learn how to prevent damage from hail, read on. Otherwise, here are the five tips that will help you fix your car after a hailstorm.
Take the Car to an Auto Body Shop
If you notice major dents, you should take your car to an auto body shop to have the damage checked. It might not be as bad as you think.
On the flip side, it’s better to know what’s wrong rather than to be oblivious to severe hazards. Some damage, including under the hood problems, are impossible to see until it’s too late.
Use a Dent Puller
You can use a car dent remove to pull out minor dents. You can try out the YOOHE Aluminum Suction Cup Dent Puller.
All you have to do is line the tool over the dent, open the handles to create a suction, and slowly pull out. It won’t work for massive dents, but small bumps will be no problem.
Try the Dry Ice and Blowdryer Method
Another option is to put dry ice and/or a blowdryer on dents. Heat and cold air are both known to expand and retract dents, so they’re perfect for the job.
Try to park the car in a sunny area and use a blowdryer to double the heat on the dent. Then, apply dry ice for a few seconds, blow dry it again, and repeat.
Do Your Own Inspection
If you’re mechanically inclined, you can try to assess the damage by yourself. Some of us are better at fixing cars than others. If you know your way around a vehicle, then why not give it a shot and save some money? At least you can take it to the auto shop knowing what to ask for rather than guessing.
File an Insurance Claim
Finally, if you’re covered, file an insurance claim. If you live in a state that has hail frequently, you should get your car covered for hail damage.
Depending on your policy, you will be able to receive partial or complete compensation for the cost of repairs caused by the hail.
What Hail Can Do to Your Car
Hail usually comes in small pebble-sized pellets. It’s fairly harmless in this form, but it’s not uncommon to see golf ball-sized hail falling from the sky. In these scenarios, hail can cause serious damage to vehicles and people alike.
If your car is parked outside during a hail storm, then it’s likely that you’ll notice minor damage. However, massive hail has been known to shatter windows in cars and houses. The good news is that you can easily protect your windows, but it’s always better to be preventative rather than having to bring it to a glass replacement shop.
Here’s a list of ways that you can prevent or repair cracks in your car windows caused by hail:
- Use car window resin. It’s perfect for small cracks in windows that got hit by unexpected hail. You can use the Rain-X Windshield Repair Kit for a cheap and effective resin. All you have to do is clean the surface, apply the resin, and buff it out for a few minutes. Most small cracks will be unnoticeable afterward.
- Try out a heavy-duty suction-based resin. These are quite similar to the previous suggestion, but they tend to work better on large cracks. The YOOHE Car Windshield Repair Kit is a great product to use. It lines up with the crack, you pour in the resin, and pull off the suction cups.
- Place towels over the outside of each window. When the hail hits your window, the force will be dispersed throughout the towel rather than the glass. You’ll end up with little or no cracks at all. The best part is that you don’t have to spend extra money if you have towels lying around!
Car windows are designed to be tough. In fact, they’re much tougher than most house windows. You shouldn’t have to worry about glass damage caused by hail from small pebbles, but it’s a good idea to protect your car against incoming large hail.
Much like the possibility of broken glass from hail, the chances that your paint will chip is very slim. In most cases, you’ll have to fix dents far more often than paint. The only two reasons that the paint on your car might chip are as follows:
- Your paint job is old, and it’s already losing the topcoat. When the topcoat goes away, the paint underneath is exposed and brittle. It’ll weaken and possibly even chip from the force of large hail, but small hail won’t likely be a problem.
- The hail was large and sharp enough to hit your car at a perfect (or imperfect) angle. Hail is often very hard; Much denser than snow. When sharp edges strike your car at high speeds, you very well might have to deal with paint chips.
Repainting a car is very hard, especially if you’ve never done it before. You need the right equipment, including safety gear, a wide-open space, and the correct type of paint. Unfortunately, many DIY jobs are botched because you can’t use regular paint on a car.
The good news is that you can take it to a car paint shop and have them fix minor repairs. They don’t need to repaint the whole vehicle unless there are scuff marks all around the surface. You can save hundreds of dollars by only having each mark repainted rather than the entire car.
Note: Some insurance policies cover paint chips, dents, and glass damage caused by hailstorms. Before you start to pay out of pocket, check your policy to see if you’re covered for reimbursement or a complete upfront payment from your company.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to deal with chipped paint from hail, though it’s unlikely. New car paint is designed to take a beating and it usually holds strong for a couple of decades.
Effects on Engine
Hail can wreak havoc on your car by cracking windows and putting small dents all over the exterior. There are some rare circumstances in which people file insurance claims for engine damage caused by hailstorms, but is it likely? No, here’s why:
Hail is definitely bulky, dense, and fast enough to cause problems. That being said, the hood of your car is designed to protect you from an oncoming collision. It’s not going to break and hurt your engine from a hailstorm.
The reason that some people file insurance claims for engine troubles caused by hail is because of one of two reasons:
- They slid off the road or got into an accident when they were driving during a hailstorm. You’ll have to confirm the legitimacy and possibility of getting this repaired through an insurance claim with your company. Some of them just view it as poor driving, while others accept the case.
- They got stuck in their driveway and tried to floor it by slamming on the gas without moving at all. 2WD vehicles have the tendency to get stuck in thick layers of hail on the ground. If you’re trying to push an old car past its limits, the engine might fail. Whether or not you could file with your insurance company varies from case to case.
Hail and Tires
It’s unlikely that hail will harm your car tires. Even if it’s massive, quick, and jagged, hail doesn’t have what it takes to break the rubber of a tire. It’ll more than likely just bounce off and hit the ground after it falls.
That being said, driving on hail is a different story. Hail combines with rocks and other sharp objects once it hits the ground and starts to melt. It basically turns into a bunch of small hazardous pellets on the ground, which can definitely hurt your car tires.
It’s not common to pop a tire from driving over hail, but you can lose control of your car if you’re not careful. When hail hits the ground, it starts to melt on the surface. This process causes a slippery street, which can be especially dangerous if you don’t have 4WD or AWD.
Even if your vehicle is equipped to handle melted hail and snow, it’s important to take it slow. The last thing you want is to have zero damage from hail falling, only to get in a car accident because you drove too quickly over melted hail.
In short, falling hail probably won’t break your tires, but you should still exercise caution when driving over it. Keep an eye out for hail that has sharp rocks, glass, and so on. You don’t want your tires to pop when you find yourself in a stormy emergency situation.
How to Protect Your Car From Hail
You’ve seen all of the ways that hail can damage your vehicle, but wouldn’t it be nice to stop all of that from happening in the first place? Well, you’re in luck! There are all sorts of preventative measures that you can take in order to prevent such damage.
For starters, always try to keep an eye on the weather reports near your town. There’s no way to know when hail is coming if you don’t pay attention to the forecast. Once you know that hail’s approaching, try out these five tips to prevent damage to your car:
- Park your car in the garage. This is a pretty straightforward suggestion, but we’ve all made the mistake of thinking that our vehicles will hold up. If you have a garage and you see that a storm’s brewing, take a few seconds to move it into the garage for some free, reliable cover.
- Put a canopy tent over the top of your car. If you don’t have any more room in the garage (or you don’t have a garage at all), then you can throw a canopy tent over your vehicle. If there’s wind in the forecast, make sure you bolt or tie it down, so it doesn’t go flying into the neighbor’s yard.
- Lower the windows by ¼ of an inch. This suggestion might sound insane considering that hail might be able to find its way inside, but it’s actually very useful. Car windows build up a lot of pressure when they’re closed all the way (hence the suction sound when you roll them up or down). A ¼-inch gap relieves some stress and prevents cracks.
- Brace all of the windows from the inside. If you don’t want to crack your windows, then you can use rulers, sticks, metal bars, or any other solid object to brace the window from corner to corner. This will allow the impact to be dispersed throughout the glass rather than hitting one point and cracking.
- Park under a tree or on the side of your house opposite of the wind’s direction. Trees, motorhomes, houses, and other large structures can be used to protect your car during a hailstorm. If you know which way the wind is going, you can use it to your advantage to keep your car out of its path.
Car Insurance for Hailstorms
Insurance is very helpful if you live in stormy parts of the country. You can try some of the most popular car insurance brands, but even some smalltown companies will have hail damage repairs as part of their comprehensive coverage bundle.
Some of the worst states impacted by hail and those who file insurance claims are Texas, Nebraska, and Colorado. It’s also great to have if you live near tornadoes since they can combine with hail and shoot out at lightning speeds.
It’s fairly well-known that filing an insurance claim for an automobile accident will cause a spike in monthly payments. For example, if you back up into a light pole and have to file a claim, your premium will go up. However, filing an insurance claim for hail damage will very rarely cause an increase in price.
According to Insurance.com, many insurance companies have the option to completely replace your vehicle if it gets totaled during a hailstorm. That’s right, you can receive a check for the price of your vehicle’s current market value, but only if it’s inoperable.
Note: If you continue to file numerous claims from hail damage over and over, you could see an increase in your insurance premium. This price hike is due to the fact that the company believes that you should take preventative measures for an incident that continues to occur over and over.
Hail damage is no joke. It can cause irreparable damage to vehicles, but you can prevent it by following the suggestions found in this article.
You can also repair minor dents, window cracks, paint chips, and other small problems caused by hailstorms.
The truth is that prevention is far better of a tactic than repairing every time hail starts to fall from the sky.
Here’s a quick recap of the post:
- If you live in an area that has frequent hailstorms, get protection from your car insurance company.
- Dry ice, blow dryers, suction dent removers, and resin kits are all great to have in your car.
- Hail can break glass, chip paint, and cause engine troubles.
- Park your car under a tree, in the garage, or beneath a tent canopy for protection during a hailstorm.
- If you must drive during a hailstorm, move slowly to prevent your car from sliding around.