The calm after a storm is not so smooth when it has resulted in hail damage to your vehicle. In many cases though, getting the damage fixed is not so difficult.
The first thing you should do after the storm is get in contact with both an auto body shop and your insurance company. An auto body shop will help you figure out your hail damage repair options; your insurance company is likely aware that a hailstorm went through your area and can let you know your insurance coverage, as well as repair options.
More often than not, your car can be fixed using a technique called paintless dent repair (PDR). This is used when there are dents in the metal, but the paint job has not been damaged, which is often the case with hail damage. PDR is relatively inexpensive, as many auto body shops offer this service in-house, work with insurance companies after a storm to ship cars to PDR companies, or can refer you to a specialized PDR technician. In areas where hailstorms are common, many insurance companies and collision repair shops will set up temporary PDR spaces to provide quick repairs at minimal cost.
In the past, having a chipped or cracked windshield meant that you would certainly need to have it replaced. However, modern day auto glass repair makes windshields more repairable depending on the size, location and the severity of the damage. When deciding whether to repair or replace your damaged auto glass, it is helpful to understand the differences between repair and replacement. However, it is best to ask your local auto body and glass repair shop for a professional recommendation.
Auto glass replacement involves removing and replacing your damaged glass with new glass that has been thoroughly tested for safety. In most cases, replacement is the safest way to ensure the structural integrity of the auto glass. When you replace the glass, you’ll typically have to wait a few hours before driving your car to let the urethane used to bond the glass to cure. An auto glass replacement is usually more expensive than an auto glass repair.
An auto glass repair is a more cost effective alternative and a quicker solution than auto glass replacement depending on the extent of the damage and size of the chip or crack. A quality auto glass repair will prevent a chip or crack from spreading and help hide the original damage without having to remove the original glass. In fact, many insurance companies may waive the deductible on your coverage, covering the entire cost for an auto glass repair. You’ll need to act quickly to get an auto glass repair before the damage spreads, because if your chip or crack grows larger than a dollar bill, auto glass replacement will become your only option.
When it comes to the damage from a chip or crack, the location plays an important part in determining whether or not you’ll need an auto glass repair or replacement. For example, a crack on the edge of your windshield can spread very quickly and compromise the structural integrity of the glass. Also, auto body and glass repair shops may not repair a chip that is located directly in the driver’s line of vision. An auto glass repair on a chip may leave minor distortions, so to be on the safe side, it is best to replace the glass so that the vision of the driver is not compromised.
If you are still unsure whether to do an auto glass repair or an auto glass replacement, it is best to seek advice from reliable auto body and glass professionals. Repair technicians will first check if they can do a repair before suggesting a replacement.