Regardless of the season, severe weather conditions can make driving and car maintenance difficult. Like snow, sleet, or extreme heat, hail can cause damage to your car. Significant dents and other major damage generally require the work of a professional. Fortunately though, DIY hail damage repair is an option in many cases if you’re willing to put in a little elbow grease.
Keep reading to learn how to fix hail damage on a car, the kinds of tools you’ll need for different types of damage, and when it’s time to visit a repair shop.
When can hail damage happen?
Although the fall and winter months often bring sleet, snow, and a hailstorm or two, spring is the time when hail damage is most common. Every now and then we even get a surprise hailstorm during the summer.
Making sure you drive safety through the seasons and taking your car in for spring maintenance can help prepare your vehicle for hail. But no matter how careful you are, hail can cause damage that requires repair.
Types of Hail Damage
Dents are the most common type of vehicle damage caused by hail, but scrapes, chips, and scratches can also happen. In major storms, hail can even crack your windows, mirrors, or lights.
Although serious damage may require professional hail dent removal or windshield replacement, in many cases you can DIY it. Following our tips, you can learn how to fix hail damage on a car yourself!
Tips & Tools for Hail Damage Repair
Different types of damage require different types of hail repair and different tools to get the job done right. Here are a few of the most helpful tools you can generally find at your local hardware store or repair shop to help with minor DIY hail damage repair work.
Pushing Tools for Hail Dent Removal
Dents caused by hail can sometimes be repaired using long-handled, thin metal-pushing tools. These kinds of pushing tools are generally sold in kits at hardware stores and local auto body shops. They’re designed to reach inside or under your vehicle’s body panels, where you gently apply force in quick, gentle pushes on the underside of the dent until it disappears.
This methodical approach can be used to remove the dent little by little, rather than making the situation worse by applying too much force all at once. However, it takes patience and some skill, so if you’re feeling nervous about giving it a try, you can always take your car in.
Pulling Tools for Hail Dent Removal
If you’ve been a car owner for a while, it’s probably no big surprise that dent removal is one of the most common auto body repair jobs. While pushing tools can be useful in certain circumstances, the average DIYer is probably more familiar with pulling tools.
Minor hail dent removal jobs can often be accomplished using these tools, which are usually sold in kits that include an adjustable pulling handle, a glue gun, and a variety of plastic plungers. Although pushing kits are easier to use than pulling tools for most people, they still require a steady hand, repeated applications of a small amount of pressure, and a lot of patience.
Windshield Repair Kits for Chips in Glass
Most drivers have felt the impact of a pebble, small rock, or other type of debris hit their windshield. This often results in small chips or cracks in your car’s glass. Hail can cause a similar type of damage to your windshield, and these chips need to be repaired as soon as possible to prevent them from worsening.
When it comes to permanent hail damage repair for your windshield, you can let the glass experts handle the work or you can try your hand with DIY windshield repair kits. You can generally buy these kits on major online shops or at your local hardware or auto body store.
The most common type of repair kit involves removing air from the chip or crack by filling it with a durable resin, which prevents further cracking. Make sure you use these kits as soon as possible following hail damage, and don’t try to repair serious cracks or shattered windshields on your own.
When You Need Professional Hail Damage Repair
Fortunately, minor hail damage can often be repaired using DIY tricks and tools like the ones we mentioned above. But sometimes too much is just too much. If the damage is severe, you should take your car in for assessment and repair by a certified technician.
Here are a few examples of when you should put the DIY kits down and take your car into Mackin’s Auto Body for help:
- If your car is seriously dented
- When the body paint is scratched
- If your mirrors, headlights, or tail lights are damaged
- When your windshield has large cracks or has shattered
- If you’re not sure how to approach fixing the damage yourself
Old-Fashioned Service, Quality Repairs
Mackin’s is the PNW’s most trusted auto body shop for a reason. We’ve been operating as a local, family-owned business since 1945. We’ve seen it all! Whether you need hail damage repair, regular maintenance, or help to get your car back on the road after a collision, we’re here to help.