Sometimes, weather conditions are unpredictable and can give unpleasant surprises in the form of hail, the size of a walnut and more.
Such unusual “gifts” from the sky leave deep dents on the body of any car.
However, if your vehicle is unlucky, then do not worry, because car repair after hail is a common thing for beaters and car painters, and if you wish, you can do this work with your own hands.
There are at least five stages of car damage by a falling hail:
- small scratches of lacquer, not reaching the paint;
- chipped paintwork without metal dents;
- body dents without damaging the paintwork;
- numerous damage to paintwork and deep dents of the metal;
- deep dents with damage to the paintwork and the destruction of the glass.
And since hail can quite significantly reduce the cost of your new car, and repairs will not be so cheap, it is not surprising that there are so many tips in the spirit of “do it yourself.”
- How To Fix Hail Damage By Yourself: 3 Myths About The Self-Restoration Of The Car Body
- Entrust Repair To Professionals
- Summing Up
How To Fix Hail Damage By Yourself: 3 Myths About The Self-Restoration Of The Car Body
Exposure To Direct Sunlight
Some sources will convince you that it is enough to park the car in sunny places to get rid of dents. Common sense probably tells you that this will not solve the problem with the body that was damaged by hail.
Even if wikihow insists that one week of car parking in direct sunlight will remove 90% of damage. After all, if that were true, there would be fewer people willing to experiment with dry ice, hairdryers, etc. And, of course, professionals would have much less work.
Consider the method of eliminating defects with the hairdryer. The idea is to warm up the surface of the body a little more in addition to sunlight.
In this way, you can only further damage the paintwork. If you see the paint begins to fade, immediately stop experimenting.
You can read that with the help of dry ice you can get rid of small (but noticeable) dents caused by hail. In most sources, you will be advised to first heat the defect well with a hairdryer and then quickly cool it with dry ice.
Due to a sharp temperature difference, the dent must be removed. However, if you will be able to achieve some result in this way, it will still be incomplete and almost guaranteed you will have to contact specialists.
Entrust Repair To Professionals
So, if there are no reliable ways left, can it be better to turn to professionals right away? Most likely, this is the best option. Suppose you have to spend some amount of money, but at least you will be sure that all the consequences of a hail damage will be eliminated correctly.
1. Ground Coating, Priming, Painting
Usually, if the car gets under a big hail, only full painting is waiting for it. It all starts with a puttying step. The self puttying of the car allows you to fill chips and light dents after hail (you can use both universal and finishing putty).
This is followed by priming the car in 2-3 layers. It is essential to wait until the ground is completely dry.
After applying the ground, you need to paint the car. It is better to pre-pick the color by the gas tank flap on the computer spectrometer. This is especially important to do if you need to paint the car with the transition to adjacent parts. This way of restoring the body is complex but effective.
Horizontal surfaces of the body are more affected by hail because they absorb all the energy of the fall.
On the sides of the car, hailstones can leave only scratches. But anyway, it is often necessary to paint the whole car or most of it. It is not necessary to take up the painting of the entire car, without having a special room.
You can borrow a compressor and an airbrush, but in a dusty garage, painting results are unlikely to please. As a result, you will have to contact a professional car painters. So, why not do it right away?!
The nature of the damage after hail is of several types. Not always hail is homogeneous. Small ice balls can fall mixed with large ones. A few large hailstones can get on the car, do not fall at all or collapse the huge mass.
We can assume that we got lucky if the damage touched only the hood, for example, several large dents. The hood is much easier to restore and paint because you can remove it and work with it separately.
2. Straightening Without Painting. PDR Technology
The modern technology of straightening without painting makes it possible to remove dents after hail on metal surfaces with the help of hot melt glue, standard adapters for hail and mini slope.
This is a long and painstaking process.
However, this method saves money. It’s better to repair a car after hail with your own hands if you have patience and a desire to learn how to work with metal. Otherwise, it is better to entrust such work to a specialist.
It is possible to resort to a straightening without painting only if the native paintwork is not chipped. You can’t see this with the naked eye, because not only noticeable, but also minor damage is essential.
The fact is that the microcracks of the paintwork open the way to moisture to the metal of the body. Over time, rust begins to appear in their place.Only minor dents can be corrected with a gentle straightening.
If the metal is drawn (as happens with the fall of very large and heavy hailstones), then only a thorough straightening will help. The ways of sparing straightening are also not suitable if the paintwork is peeled off from the metal.
Removing Dents Without Painting Using PDR Technology
The PDR method of removing dents without painting is very often used when repairing car bodies damaged by hail. In this case, a specialist aligns the metal body with special tools, without harming the paintwork.
To eliminate defects using PDR technology requires considerable experience and the presence of a special tool. The technique is not recommended to practice for amateurs.
Especially often PDR is used in cases when there are any difficulties with replacing the affected panels. For example, if we are talking about the roof of the car.
The technology for eliminating dents without painting using PDR technology is the most cost-effective of all the professional methods.
In those places where hail often occurs, and damages of cars are usually caused by the hail, insurance companies often recommend removing dents without painting using Paintless Dent Repair technology.
3. Traditional Repair Using Heat
For vehicles with more severe damage and older cars made of thicker metal, your car service center is likely to choose this method. This technique uses heat, usually with an acetylene-oxygen torch, to straighten the metal of the car body.
The specialist heats the metal in the area of the dent, moving the burner along a spiral trajectory, from the outer edges of the damage zone to its center. Then the softened metal is leveled with a hammer.
After that, the specialist checks how aligned the dent and corrects it as needed. After the cooling of the body metal, paintwork and protective coatings are applied.
The main advantage of this method is that this is the only method that works with thicker metal layers and large dents. If a qualified specialist handles the case, the repair is done efficiently and quickly.
However (and this will be surely told to you in the service center) this technology does not always work with newer cars, because their body panels are made of thin sheets of metal, which can be severely deformed during heating.
4. Replacement Of Damaged Parts
Strong hail leaves deep traces and can spoil the paintwork, so in some cases, it makes sense to replace the removable parts with new ones (you shouldn’t even think about leveling if the old parts already have corrosion).
Preliminary they need to be primed and painted in the color of the car. Thus, you can be sure that the metal under the paint is whole and intact, which means it will last for a long time.
Large-scale repair of cars, beaten by hail, at first glance, may seem a sad affair. But the most important thing is to start step by step to carry out the process by process.
5. Cleaning And Polishing With Metal Polish
This method is suitable for removing small dents from hail and is considered as an alternative to PDR technology. Some car owners practice cleaning and polishing the damaged surface of the body with the help of polishing paste at home, and not in car repair shops.
Make sure you know exactly what you are going to do before you start working. The main advantage of this technique is that you do not need to polish the surface down to the metal of the body.
An additional benefit is that during the repair work the protective anti-corrosion coating from the manufacturer is not removed since the paintwork cannot be transferred to the level of the metal of the body.
Although this technique is applied quite widely to eliminate defects (and not only dents from hail), you need to take into account that the paintwork of the car must be in reasonably good condition to work as it should.
How does it work?
First, the person who repairs must clean the working surface areas thoroughly beforehand so that all defects become visually well visible.
The next step is the polishing of the damaged regions, usually with the help of a double-action grinding machine and sandpaper of 180 grit.
Finally, the final alignment of the damaged areas and the painting of the newly restored areas is carried out.
6. Traditional Repair With Body Filler Liquid Putty
This method is very similar to the previous one, but there are small nuances. The main difference is that you have to remove the layer of paint completely, directly to the metal of the body.
7. Glass Repair
Hail indiscriminately beats everything in its path. And if small ice cubes are not as dangerous for automotive glass, the large ones can literally sweep through them.
But usually only the front and rear glass suffer, and the side windows remain unharmed since they are not exposed to hail. Through holes of the triplex is a sentence. Such glasses are not subject to repair. They are replaced with new ones.
The replacement of the glasses is better to make in the service station. After self-installation, there are often leaks and drafts due to poor sealing.
If cracks appeared on the glass after the impact of hail, then such glass is recommended to be replaced, even in the case when the cracks do not interfere the view.
Any crack changes the normal distribution of loads on the glass, which leads to an increase in the mobility of the body. Because of this, new cracks may appear at the most inopportune moment.
Removing the dents left by the hail on the body of your car won’t be easy. It is worthwhile to do this on your own only if you have enough experience and know exactly what you are doing.