CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Hail damage repair

Hello all,

My 2011 Nissan Sentra SR got damaged on the roof and on the sides during a hail storm a while ago. I want to get it fixed and started searching on the web for hail damage repair. A number of places recommend the ‘car dent repair kits’ available at body shops like this http://www.dingking.com/. The dents are not very deep.

Does anyone have any experience with fixing their car dents using these DIY kits? Did it work for them? Will appreciate any suggestions. Suggestions for a reasonably priced body shop in NY, tri-state area are also welcome.

Thanks

Mowgli

I’d look into paint-less dent repair. http://editorial.autos.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=434597 Someone who knows what they are doing can make the repairs and you’ll never know it was damaged. It preserves the factory paint and saves on the cost of painting labor and supplies. I wouldn’t suggest trying to do it yourself with something such as a Ding King, they will remove small dents, but often they are still quite noticeable.

You can’t remove hail dimples using a system that uses an adhesive. These are used more for dents that are shallow and wide spread.

It requires special rods of different lengths and shapes and a lot of patience to message out the hail dimples.

Go to YouTube and in their search engine enter “paintless dent repair” or “hail damage repair” and you’ll see what’s involved.

Tester

Don’t you have comprehensive coverage for a car this recent?

If you do, I’d contact them and let them run with the ball.

@db4690
Yes I do have coverage. They inspected it and gave me an estimate.

I have limited or no information about options for hail damage repair. My insurance company told me to find company of my choice and get it fixed. I want to identify what is possible and what is best. That is why I am posting the question.

@Tester @FordMan1959 Thank you for your suggestion. I am going to search for some paint-less dent repair shops in the area and call them up about it. Good to know Dent King won’t be as effective.

I suggest you find a good body shop in your area and let them do it. That shop will call in a PDR company and do the repair. Plus if they find damage the original appraiser could not see then they will repair and supplement the insurance company.

I have had good results with paintless dent repair as posted by @fordman1959

Don’t even think about doing it yourself. Go to a good body shop and do the paintless dent removal route. I had over 20 dings on mine and the total was a little over $1000 paid by insurance. Can’t tell where they were. Its not the tool but the skills and techniques that go with it. You don’t want to learn on a near new car. There’s really nothing to research, just get it fixed.

Now also if the car is financed, you have an obligation to put the car back into the shape it was in before the hail. They may have already been notified by the insurance co.

If the car were ten years old, it might be worth giving the Ding King or similar DIY measure a try, but not on something so new. Paintless dent repair places are usually pretty good and very reasonably priced for what they do. I read an article years ago on a company called Dent Wizard (I think) in which one of their technicians removed some dents from the body of an original, unrestored 1970 Dodge Challenger, including a crease that ran right through the lock cylinder in one of the doors. For about $500, you couldn’t even tell this car ever had any dents in it at all. The technician did admit, though, that the 40+ year old Challenger was more difficult to repair than more modern cars since the sheet metal was twice as thick as that of a new car.

I had 3 cars damaged by a hailstorm a number of years ago. One was black and looked like a golf ball after the storm. All were fixed by paintless dent removal at a fraction of the cost (to the delight of my insurance company). One was leased and passed the return inspection with flying colors, another was kept for many years after the repair with no negative affects. No pant chipping or cracking. I highly recommend this type of repair if possible.

I tried to take out some hail dents with a gizmo that had a small “bridge” and a threaded rubber contact that was glued to the dent. I assume that is similar to your “DingKing”. I used the glue that came with it and hot melt glue. Both pulled off before the dent popped. So I tried superglue. It pulled the paint off. Luckily the experiment was on a panel that was off of another car, and not to be reused.

Go with Paintless Dent Repair or PDR. They can get very good results unless there is a second piece of metal too close under the dent to get their rod(s) in place.

Hey guys, something just occurred to me after reading your posts.

Isn’t it going to be a lot of work for the PDR guy to remove the dents on the roof if he has to remove or at least lower the headliner to get tools in place?

I’ve dropped many headliners, and it’s no 5 minute walk in the park. You’re talking sunvisors, dome lights, a-pillar panels, b-pillar panels, c-pillar panels, grab handles, etc. And if there’s a sunroof involved, more work.
Granted, some of this stuff may not have to be removed entirely, but you see where this is headed.

I’m not saying anything about PDR guy’s skills, but the more stuff you have to remove, the greater chance something will be damaged.

@Mustangman @mark9207 @Bing @Barkydog @meaneyedcatz @MG McAnick @db4690 Thank you all for the suggestions. So DIY kits are out.

I am also curious about @db4690’s point. How are they going to fix the roof? Can anyone who got PDR done chip in with their experiences on roof repair? Since shops are not open for Christmas, I am trying to identify the best course of action.

Thank You

They remove the headliner to repair the hail damage on the roof.

Tester

The headliner certainly can be removed to repair the roof, and it isn’t always an easy job. Some may take more than a couple hours to remove without damaging anything, (damage is normally a major concern on older vehicles in which time and the sun have caused plastic to grow brittle) and this will be reflected in the repair bill. This is kind of a moot point, though, if insurance is going to be paying for this.

Like I said just let them worry about it. That’s the best course. I had roof and hood damage and no problem. They removed the headliner and hood insulation. Only problem is they broke my washer nozzles.p