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Ranging from as small as a pebble to as large as a golf ball, hail can cause some serious, costly damage to property and vehicles. A vehicle’s roof is particularly at risk when frozen precipitation hits, and fixing anything on a vehicle is usually expensive. So it may be beneficial to learn how to repair hail damage on car roofs yourself.
How to Repair Hail Damage on Car Roofs
Vehicles are expensive to maintain, even without the threat of hail. If you can handle any issues yourself, it’s a good money-saving idea to do so. In case you don’t, here are a few do-it-yourself tips on how to repair hail damage on car roofs.
Heating and Cooling
So, how can you repair hail damage on car roofs?
Applying dry ice can be an effective way to repair hail damage. Rubbing the dry ice over the dented areas cools the surface quickly. The rapid change in temperature can force the surface to contract, causing dents to “pop out,” which smoothes out the affected area. Be careful and wear gloves, as dry ice will hurt your hands. Also be careful not to damage the surface of the vehicle.
There’s an even easier method to try, and that’s to use heat to repair your dents. That includes just letting your vehicle sit in a sunny spot on a hot day. The heat will force the surface of the vehicle to expand, causing the same “pop out” described in the dry ice suggestion. It may take some time for the sunlight to heat the roof of the vehicle enough for the surface to expand. Pouring hot water over a dent or using a hairdryer may also work if the sunlight’s heat isn’t getting the job done. If you’re using a hairdryer, keep the hairdryer about two to four inches away from the vehicle. Use the hairdryer in two-minute intervals.
Be aware that too much heat may cause some fading in the paint. If the paint loses color, stop right away and use a rubbing compound or wax to restore the color.
There are kits you can buy to repair dents on your vehicle. They are inexpensive and user-friendly and can be found at any auto parts store. They typically include a tool, a glue gun and pads to fill in the dent. Not everyone would recommend using the kits, however. Just remember that if you use them improperly, you can make the damage worse. And be aware that these kits can’t fix the really bad dents that come from very large hail.
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If you try these methods and they don’t seem to work, it may be time to take the vehicle to a professional. But don’t fear: even if you do, you may be able to avoid major repairs such as hammering out the dented spot or total roof replacement.
Paintless Dent Repair
Many professionals counsel you to avoid using heat or cold at all since the risk of causing more damage is quite high if you don’t know what you’re doing. National paintless dent repair shops offer another method for repairing roof damage. Paintless dent repair basically massages the dent out without affecting the paint of the vehicle or leaving a mark. This is different from having the dent fixed at an auto body shop, where the spot on the vehicle may need to be hammered out and repainted.
More than 50 percent of the public has never heard of paintless dent repair, but auto body shops are starting to see the value. Some shops hire paintless dent repair technicians temporarily, often after major hailstorms. Insurance companies are slowly coming around, too, as the ones who know about paintless dent repair often prefer it over roof replacement.
All in all, paintless dent repair is a good option to explore. If it works for your car’s damage, you could save a lot of money and time over traditional repairs.
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However you decide to repair the hail damage to your vehicle roof, make sure you are comfortable with the decision. Saving money is nice, but in some cases, a professional may be the best way to fix a damaged roof. Certainly don’t put it off either, as fixing dents right away increases the chance it’ll be done properly. It can take a few days to a few weeks to have the roof fixed, depending on how badly it was damaged.
You may not be able to plan for every situation, but there are some proactive things you can do to keep your vehicle safe. For example, try parking your vehicle in a covered place if hail is in the weather forecast. The best way to fix damage to your car is to make sure you don’t have any to begin with!