In the suburbs of Boston yesterday, August 4, we were treated to a humdinger of a thunderstorm, complete with hail the size of small oranges in some parts of the region. Tens of thousands are left with hail-damaged metal and glass in their cars, and are looking for options. Here’s where to start:
— antoinette antonio (@antoinetteA) August 4, 2015
The flat surfaces of your car, truck, van or SUV are particularly susceptible to hail damage, because there’s just more surface area for it to fall onto.
Typically, hail damage doesn’t result in damaged paint, which is good news. The bad news is that depending on the severity of the storm or the size of the hailstones, you could still be looking at $5,000 in repairs.
Paintless Dent Removal is the best way to approach a repair. Trained technicians insert bent rods with flat surfaces on the ends into body cavities that allow the technicians to work dents out from the inside. They’ll inspect the car under florescent light to find every dent, and they work them out individually.
It’s a time consuming process, but it offers many advantages, the biggest of which is not having to paint the car, which should be the last resort.
We’ve seen Paintless Dent Removal performed on a quarter of a million dollar Aston-Martin that was damaged in transit on the way to the New York Auto Show and it works as advertised.
Contact your insurance provider to find out what your options are for Paintless Dent Removal. You can usually contact the provider directly, rather than having to go through an auto body shop.
Sometimes the damage isn’t in the form of a dent, but in a scuff mark caused by the friction exerted on the paint by the falling hail. In that case, repairing the damage is something you can do at home.
You can buy polishing compound at your local auto parts store, but if you have a local auto body supply house close by, Presta Cutting Creme is fantastic. It’s a liquid and it’s easy to work with. Apply it by hand, gently working the scuff out of the paint, then follow it up with the polish of your choice.
Windshields and backlights (the rear glass) are especially vulnerable to hail damage for the same reason the roof and hood are.
Your windshield is actually two very thin pieces of glass, with a rubber membrane sandwiched in between. It’s designed this way to prevent objects (like this axe, for example) from flying all the way into the passenger cabin at speed.
If the rear glass is damaged, it’s going to look a lot worse, but don’t worry. Rear and side glass is tempered and designed to shatter into thousands of tiny cubes to minimize injury to occupants inside. (Imagine the damage that used to happen when cars had plate glass windows.)
If hail damages your back window, you’ll be left with a giant hole where the glass used to be. It’s messy to clean up, but just as easy for a technician at a glass shop to fix.
(Image courtesy: Shutterstock)
Mobile glass shops can fix your windshield or backlight at your home or office, often in a matter of hours. They’ll even work with your insurance company so you’ll never see a bill. If you have comprehensive insurance on your car, glass is generally covered with no deductible in Massachusetts.
Regardless of the damage, safety should be the priority. Tempered glass can blow around the interior and cause cuts and injured eyes, so resist the temptation to roll up to highway speeds. If your windshield is damaged by hail, you may have trouble seeing out of it to drive, so get it fixed immediately.
Start by calling your insurance company. They’ll be able to direct you to the shops that can help.