It can happen at any time and often you won’t know anything about it until you see the damage. A dent in a vehicle can be caused by any number of things, from small accidents, miscalculations when in a car park or malicious damage. In some countries, even extreme weather can be a problem, especially in hailstorms.
Whatever the cause, you need to know what your options are for the repair of your vehicle, what can and cannot be done in various circumstances, and situations where you might be able to avoid damage.
There are many options available and they are explained below. Make sure you always go to a reputable professional for any dent removal or other bodywork repair you need.
When you have a dent, but the paintwork is undamaged, paintless dent removal can be an effective repair. It’s a technique that uses specialised tools, body picks and metal rods that are manipulated to massage dents from behind the vehicle’s metal body panel restoring it to a perfect condition.
In most cases repairs can easily be made without the need for removing body panels, but there are some, especially involving dents in a roof, that would require headlining to be removed in order for it to be reached and repaired.
If you need paintwork to be renewed you can still get the dent repaired with paintless dent removal, but you may have to find another business to deal with the paint repair once the dent has been removed.
You should also be aware that most paintless dent removal operations will not be able to deal with plastic panels, such as bumpers, but should be able to refer you to a body shop or smart repair company for you to get that dealt with.
Mobile paint repair
There has been a surge in the number of companies providing mobile paint repair services so you don’t necessarily need to go to a traditional body shop to get your’ vehicle’s damage fixed. It may be ideal because they will come to you rather than you having to drive to a garage and leave your vehicle there for however long it takes for the repair. It could also be a lot cheaper.
Filler and paint is needed for this type of repair, with the damaged area being sanded, then filled and dried with a heater. It’s then rubbed down and spray painted, then lacquered and polished to make it look as good as new.
Make sure your supplier gets the closest match possible to your vehicle’s paint colour so it doesn’t look strange, particularly if you are planning to sell the car. Check your insurance to see what is and isn’t covered, bearing in mind a claim may well affect your no claims discount. Also, be aware that your vehicle could be damaged by another driver while it is parked. If the driver leaves no contact details – some are not honest enough to do so – you could also lose your no claims discount if you claim.
You may decide to take your vehicle to a body shop if more than paintless dent removal or paint repair is needed. That might well be the case if there is more than basic surface damage.
A body shop will repair minor bodywork damage and also take care of more difficult repairs. It will remove bumpers, bonnets, grilles and trim, realign chassis and vehicle frames and fit replacement parts as required. This type of repairer will also deal with damaged windscreens and windows. Repaired and refurbished bodywork surfaces will be prepared and a new finish will be applied to the new or restored body parts.
Always ensure the technicians have thoroughly reviewed a damage report and that they discuss the cost estimate with you before planning and undertaking the work. Body shop costs are likely to be higher than those for mobile repair services and you will have to leave your vehicle there for a time.
Wheel dents and dings
Without tyres in good condition you may be jeopardising yourself, anyone else in the car and other vehicle drivers. It’s always a good idea to check your tyres and wheels on a regular basis to inspect them for damage.
One of the major ways wheels and tyres are damaged is from debris on the road. They could include pieces of metal that have come from a broken silencer or objects dropped from lorries or other vehicles.
Another major cause of tyre and wheel damage is potholes in the road and wherever possible you must try to avoid them. Even small ones can cause a problem if you hit them at a particular angle, and constant driving over them will weaken the tyre walls and is likely to affect rims. You could also incur damage by hitting a kerb, especially in multistorey car parks where they can be difficult to avoid if parking spaces are very tight.
For repair, enquire about getting diamond alloy wheels re-cut – this can only be done a finite number of times – and be aware this would have to be done in a garage as a lathe has to be used.
Other dangers of multistorey car parks
Beware of items such as falling brickwork, cars that are badly parked that could clip yours and look for larger spaces rather than trying to squeeze into a small one, always watching for high kerbs.
As an alternative to parking in a multistorey where your vehicle could be damaged you could look into an app from Your Parking Space that matches drivers with owners of parking spaces in many major cities in the UK as well as at airports. It’s not just car parks that are listed but also private spaces, and it could well be the solution to making sure your vehicle is as protected as possible from any potential damage.