The Auto Guy on Storm Damaged Vehicles

There have been a lot of storms lately, and a lot of storm damage on vehicles as well. Sometimes it’s your own vehicle that gets damaged, and sometimes it’s a vehicle that you might be interested in buying. Either way, you need to be careful before you make any decisions related to storm damaged vehicles.

The hail has come down on several occasions, and it has ranged from marble sized to softball size. Dents that are caused by hail larger than golf ball size usually requires replacing the damaged panel with a new one. Dents smaller than golf ball size can usually be repaired by using a process called paintless dent repair, or PDR. The PDR method involves getting special tools behind the damaged panels and pushing the dents back out without requiring any repainting of the damaged panel. The PDR method is not only less expensive, but it is much faster as well.

The size of the hail is not the only thing that determines the amount of damage to the vehicle. The speed of the wind blowing the hail towards the vehicle makes a big difference as well. A marble size hail stone doesn’t do much damage at 10 miles per hour, but it can definitely make a good sized dent at 70 miles an hour.

Most insurance companies have catastrophe teams to write the hail estimate to repair your vehicle, so don’t bother running around getting more estimates. You take the insurance company’s estimate to the shop of your choice to get it repaired, and the shop will use that estimate as a starting point. If the shop runs into additional costs to repair the hail damage, they get in touch with the insurance company and bill them directly for those additional costs.

Buying a vehicle with hail damage can sometimes get you a decent deal, but you better do some homework before you purchase it. If windows were broken and water got inside, it’s best to pass on that vehicle. Also check with a body shop before buying a hail damaged vehicle, just to get an idea of how much damage it has. Getting $500 off of the price of a vehicle with $10000 worth of hail damage is not a good deal.

Flood water has been a problem recently as well. Not only can it leave a mess with your carpets and seats, but it can destroy electronics that are located along the floor of the vehicle as well. Even if you don’t have a problem right away, corrosion might still be an issue in the future. Add tree damage to the list, and you can see that there is a lot of work to be done. If you have a storm damaged vehicle, your best bet is to deal with a reputable local company. The good news is that there are a lot of great shops in our area, and one of them can have your vehicle dent free and back on the road in no time.


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