So your car was hit by hail – now what?!
In Tucson, we are used to the heat, and we are used to the monsoons. But occasionally storm season brings another surprise that isn’t easy to prepare for or avoid: hail.
Generally, hail in the Tucson area doesn’t cause much damage – those little pea-sized balls of ice we usually see here aren’t often weighty enough to affect your vehicle (they do come down fast and hard, though, so always use caution when going outside while it is hailing! Your body is a lot softer than a car). However, every once in a while, a storm comes through that leaves cars looking decidedly dimpled (and not in a cute way – click to see before and after photos of hail damage that Dent Busters repaired using Paintless Dent Removal).
With the right mix of atmospheric conditions, we can see hail in Tucson the size of golf balls, and sometimes even larger. The mass of these hailstones can cause some serious damage on an exposed vehicle. The biggest problem isn’t the individual damage from each hit, which usually amounts to somewhere between a dime and quarter size ding. The biggest problem is actually the extent of the damage over the entire vehicle surface. If you’re lucky, your car might drive away with only a few pitted panels, but in other cases no surface is spared.
What to do when hail damages your car: Contact your insurance company!
So, what’s the first step you should take when hail strikes? We always recommend contacting your insurance company before anything else. This way you can confirm you have hail coverage (most comprehensive coverage includes hail!) and get information about receiving a repair estimate.
During the hail damage estimate process, the adjuster analyzes the extent of the damage to your vehicle and generates an approximate total of the number and size of hail dings or dents on the different panels of your car. Using these totals, adjusters can calculate approximate labor hours, what kind of repairs will need to be completed, any parts that may need to be ordered, and if any body painting will be necessary.
Pro tip: when going in for a hail dent repair estimate, or any estimate for auto damage really, it is best to show up with a clean car (just the outside, don’t worry about all the plastic bottles and snack bags behind your seat). This allows the adjuster to get a better idea of the extent of the damage, and particularly in the case of hail make sure they are seeing everything they need to, since hail damage is good at hiding under desert dust.
Next, choose an auto repair shop that specializes in Tucson hail dent removal
Many people don’t realize this, but YOU get to choose where you take your vehicle for repairs. A lot of insurance companies have Direct Repair Facilities that they work with but remember: it is your right to decide where you have your car repaired and the insurance company cannot guarantee the work of any shop.
Feel free to talk to different Tucson auto body repair shops, visit them, get an idea of what and who you will be dealing with. Hail dent removal can take as little as 1-3 days for light to moderate damage, but in cases where conventional repair becomes necessary or the damage is very extensive, it can take up to 3 weeks to complete a hail dent repair job.
Another thing to consider is that vehicle repairs aren’t always straight forward. Sometimes there are other issues lurking beneath the surface, and it is important that you are working with people you trust- not only to be honest with you but to complete an honest repair that will keep your vehicle safe and secure.
The best hail damage repair options
There are two approaches to hail damage repair: Paintless Dent Removal (PDR) and Traditional Autobody Repair. Both have their uses, but in general, Paintless Dent Removal offers a host of advantages when it comes to hail repair.
Why choose Tucson Paintless Dent Removal
With PDR, you are able to maintain the original finish of your vehicle, and generally save time and money on repairs. Highly trained dent removal technicians use specially molded tools to access the damage and work it out from inside the panel, meaning you won’t need to replace large sections of your car.
In cases where the hail has cracked or chipped the paint, or caused damage to underlying structures, certain panels may need to be replaced or conventionally repaired. At Dent Busters, we work with your case individually and make sure we choose the best repair methods based on your vehicle’s specific condition and needs, as our technicians are trained in both hail damage repair methods.
Word to the wise when choosing your repair facility
When it comes to choosing an auto repair facility in Tucson, it is definitely worth your time to do some research.
Just as quickly as those new hail dings sprung up on your vehicle, you will notice a host of new hail repair companies spring up around town. A lot of these individuals move around the country “chasing” hail. Some traveling, pop-up techs are well-trained professionals with years of experience – some are not. Most auto body repair companies will tell you they guarantee their work, but we’ve heard plenty of stories from unhappy Tucson locals who’ve had their cars repaired at these traveling pop-up shops.
Your safest bet is to talk to local auto body repair shops in Tucson. The biggest reason to keep it local is that you will have an actual Tucson business you can come back to in the future if there are any issues down the road, and a business that will hopefully feel accountable and responsible for the level of care and correctness that is taken to repair your vehicle (no one likes a bad review!).
Why choose us?
If you decide to bring your vehicle to Dent Busters (which is probably a good idea since we’ve had a lot of practice!) give us a call or request a free quote and we’ll get you scheduled. We work directly with all insurance companies and will assist you with your claim, rental car and peace of mind while we get your cruiser back in tip top shape.
Luckily, we rarely see big hail here in Tucson and the rest of Southern Arizona, but if another storm should move through and leave your car looking like the surface of the moon, just remember: Got a dent or a ding? Who you gonna ring?