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Hail damage repair

Has anybody personally used any do-it-yourself DIY methods to repair small dents from hail damage? I have heard about Dry Ice, hair dryer, compressed Carbon dioxide in a spray can, etc., but I haven’t found anyone who actually used a method that worked. Even if you tried a method and it didn’t work, please report that, so I don’t waste my time.

First, do you have comprehensive insurance? Check your policy. For body damage, there is likely a deductible, most likely $500. Comprehensive insurance protects your car from this type of thing, hail damage, a fallen tree limb, or hitting or getting hit by a deer. If you have an older car and don’t insure the car to this level, consider it.

Otherwise, there is a DIY method, of course. It’s not hard but it takes touch. And you have to do it right. It’s Bondo, or any other name. You want a brand that requires a mixture of filling material and a catalyst, that cures quickly and can be sanded and formed within twenty minutes. You sand the broken paint off of the dents and mix the filler, apply it, let it dry, and sand the patch until it is level with the body of the car. Then after 24 hours you apply a matching paint color. NAPA does a great job matching color, based on original color and year. They even account for sun-damage. After the color is sprayed on, let the paint cure and add a clear coat. Add the clear coat type or brand that is recommended.

The key here is whether the paint is cracked or fractured around the hail dents. If the paint is intact, experts can pop most of them out using various methods including dry ice, liquid nitrogen, high vacuum suction cups, and pressure from behind the dent…

If the paint is cracked, it’s really not a DIY project. Botched jobs will look far worse than the original dents…

I’ve had no luck fixing my own dents. I’ve tried that “Ding King” seen in the infomercials and it does NOT work. I never expected it to. Just a word of caution. If you do end up trying to match the paint color, I have not had much success getting the paint to blend in. I had to bring it to a auto shop where they painted the whole side of my car (back panel, rear door and front door) so that they could blend the color in without it being noticeable. The dent was on my rear door. Overall I would leave this to the pros unless you have prior experience fixing these.

If you have not done so be sure to check your insurance.

I just bought the car -with- existing hail damage, so my insurance doesn’t apply to this. Also, I know how to fix with bondo, etc., and I know that experts can do this.

The dents are tiny and smooth and there are only a few of them. The dents are in locations where the paintless dent repair guys can’t reach them from behind to push them out.

The reason I am asking if anyone has personally used dry ice, carbon dioxide and/or a hair dryer to fix this type of hail damage is because if you Google it there are lots of people who tell you to do this and that it works, but, I can’t find anybody that has actually tried it with good or bad results.

I have seen video clips of people making this work. Of course video is capable of showing all sorts of things that only partly match reality. The only reason I don’t question it much is that for the blow dryer/dry ice method, no one is selling anything. I have no reason to think that someone is doing the “Ding King” advertising tricks.

Anyway, I’ve not tried it either. The negative thing I’ve seen people say has to do with unknown effects of the dry ice on the paint.

If I were you I’d pick one of the dents in the least conspicuous area and give it a whirl - a tiny bit of time & money is pretty much all you have to lose. If it does anything really bad chances are you’ll be headed to a body shop anyway.

The heat gun/freezing method won’t work on hail dings. The reason is the metal is stretched in such a small area that this method can’t return the metal to it’s original shape. This method only works on shallow dents where there are no creases in the sheet metal.

You can watch it here.


Are you sure the PDR guys can’t get at them?? That would be unusual, they have tools that can reach darn near anywhere on the car. Have you actually checked with them?