hail storm

Types of Hail Damage to Cars

From dents to dings to chipped paint and scratches, learn more about the different types of hail damage that can harm your vehicle and how to prevent them.

Driving through a hail storm can be unnerving. It can also cause a significant amount of damage to your vehicle.

These damages can be divided into two categories: cosmetic and structural. Many times, vehicles suffer both when they're caught in the elements.

Identifying the extent of the issue can help you determine your next steps. Today, we're sharing the most common types of hail damage to a car, and how to find a professional team that can fix them.

Cosmetic Damages

First, let's dive into auto hail damage that's primarily cosmetic in nature.

Put simply, these are damages that affect the way your vehicle looks but have no bearing on its safety, performance, or the way it drives. You might not have even noticed the hail hitting your vehicle if minor cosmetic damages were all that it incurred.

Examples include:

  • Dents and dings
  • Chipped paint
  • Cracks

Let's take a closer look at what each category includes.

Dents and Dings

When a hailstone impacts your vehicle, it can leave a small depression. The difference between a dent and a ding is the size of that depression.

While metrics vary, a ding is usually defined as a depression that's no bigger than one centimeter in diameter. On the other hand, a dent is anything larger than one centimeter around.

With a ding, there usually isn't any chipped paint or exposed metal. A dent, however, does lead to exposed metal, which could be vulnerable to rust and requires quick repair.

Chipped Paint

When a hailstone hits your vehicle at a high speed and with a good deal of force, the impact can be powerful enough to break the paint. Most of the time, the paint will need to be completely redone at the area of impact.

This can make chipped paint a little more challenging to repair than dents and dings.  


On the scale of cosmetic car hail damage, cracks are usually considered the most severe. That's because these don't just mar the surface of your vehicle, but they can also affect its overall structural integrity.

You can get a crack on nearly any exterior surface of your vehicle, including:

  • The windshield
  • The windows
  • The car body

If hail cracks your car, it's important to schedule repair services as quickly as possible. Left untreated, these damages could snowball into bigger structural issues in the future.

How Paintless Dent Repair Can Help

If your car is dinged or dented from hail, there are a few ways you can repair it. No matter which route you choose, we never recommend taking a DIY approach. Attempting to correct the issues on your own could cost you more money and time than hiring a professional. There's also a chance that you could perform the repairs incorrectly, which could make your vehicle unsafe.

One of the best ways to restore the look and performance of your hail damaged vehicle is paintless dent repair (PDR). With this approach, skilled specialists will smooth out the dents in your vehicle without impacting the paint underneath. They'll also leave the underlying structure fully intact.

Instead, they'll use specialized tools to manually massage the metal from the underside of the car body, without any extra paint or supplies required. The result? Your vehicle will be fully restored to perfection with the original factory paint still intact.

Not only is this the most seamless and less intrusive technique, but it's also the only way to retain the original factory finish on your vehicle. This way, the hail damage your vehicle suffered will not affect its book value if you ever sell it.

Structural Damages

As their name implies, structural damages are those that affect the function, safety, and performance of your car. Most of the time, these fall into one of two categories: engine damage and frame damage.

While hail doesn't commonly lead to engine damage, it can occur. These could render your vehicle unsafe to drive and must be repaired immediately.

Frame damages are more common, and occur when any portion of your vehicle becomes warped or bent due to hail. You may notice that the vehicle drives differently on the road, or handles poorly. In either case, it's unsafe to drive and should be repaired as soon as possible.

Broken Windshields

Broken windshields technically fall into the category of structural damage because they affect your visibility on the road, which can also affect the vehicle's safety and performance.

If a hailstone hits your windshield hard enough, it can crack the glass pane. When this occurs, there's usually adjacent damage to your side or rear windows, too.

Repair Options

Some structural damages, including minor frame bends, can be repaired through PDR. However, this isn't always the case. If your vehicle requires more extensive repairs to the frame or engine, you may require additional repair services.

This may include new panels, windshields, or paint. In addition to PDR, our team also provides top-to-bottom repair services, including:

  • Bodywork
  • Glasswork
  • Parts replacement

All of our service appointments include a free rental car while you're waiting on yours to be restored and renewed. Once the repairs are complete, we'll also provide detailing services to complete the look.

Identify and Repair Hail Damage to a Car

Any type of car damage can be frustrating to deal with. When you know what to look for, it's easier to understand which repair services you need.

If you're dealing with hail damage to a car, you don't have to go through this process alone. No matter what type of damage your vehicle experienced, it's best to let a professional hail repair team take a look. These experienced technicians can assess and analyze the damage and recommend appropriate next steps.

If you're in Denver and need hail dent repair, schedule a custom estimate today!


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Team member using specialized tools to work on dent repair on a bright orange 4-door sedan