Posted by & filed under Auto Body Repair, Useful Tips.

Hailstorm with lightning

Earlier this month, thunderstorms rolled across large swaths of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, dumping hailstones as large as golf balls onto crops, homes, and yes—cars.

These dramatic weather patterns shouldn’t come as much of a surprise; locals know that they can count on at least one nasty hailstorm to strike sometime from May to August.

But do you know why hailstorms form in the summer? And if your hapless vehicle gets hit with an icy barrage, do you know the steps to get it fixed for cheap?

Get ready to don your rain poncho and scan the horizon, folks. It might get dicey out there, but hopefully you’ll learn a thing or two.


Hailstorms: Explained for a 5-year-old

Bill Nye consider the following gif

Hailstorms are more likely to happen in the summer because the temperature is warm, the air is humid, and dark, towering cumulonimbus clouds are kicking up the static electricity necessary for thundershowers.

Now, hail occurs when strong, warm air updrafts push water droplets into elevations with temperatures well below zero. This freezing process forms ice pellets (hailstones), which fall to the ground when the updrafts aren’t strong enough to support their mass anymore.

The grapefruit-sized hailstones you’ve seen in the Guinness Book of World Records? Those are caused by hailstones rising and falling within the cloud so many times that water droplets freeze on layer after layer of ice. (Slice open a large hailstone and you’ll see the icy layers like an onion.)

The last stage, of course, is when the hailstones are too heavy to be supported by the hot air updrafts, they fall down to earth—striking your vehicle’s bare bodywork without mercy.

Huge hailstone

Welcome to The Land of the Living Skies.


The ins (& outs) of paintless dent removal

Whether your car has been dimpled by hail, an errant mall shopping cart, or a bitter ex-girlfriend/boyfriend, paintless dent removal is the most cost-effective way to return your vehicle to factory condition.

Think of paintless dent repair as the “McDonald’s of the automotive world”—they make everyone happy for a lot less money.

Tools of the trade

Unlike traditional auto body repair that involves smoothing out the damage with putty, sanding, and a paint re-spray (or replacing the body panel entirely), technicians who perform paintless dent removal typically use an assortment of hammers, punches, levers, and light-boards to gradually mold the dent back to a smooth surface.

Therefore, paintless dent removal ranges from between one-third to one-tenth the price of traditional body repair.

And while the paintless dent repair specialists at Bennett Dunlop Autobody and River City Ford Collision Centre work in-house, there are many mobile businesses who will come to you to perform ding removal services.

Insist on experience

Like the greatest skills, removing dents is a lot harder than it looks. Our technicians are known to spend close to 90 minutes on particularly onerous dent in a tricky spot.

We recommend that you hire a paintless dent repair technician with at least three years of work experience. Why? Poorly-done dent repair can make your car’s body panel look like topographical view of a mountain range. Those in the business call this “chewing up” the dent.

HELPFUL TIP: One way you can tell if your dent repairperson is a real pro is if they know how to remove taillights, door panels, headliners, etc. This is often a necessary step in getting the right amount of leverage to remove large dents on a vehicle’s fender, roof, or door panel.

Hail damaged car hood

🙁 Ouch. But don’t worry–it’s temporary.


My car has hail damage. What do I do now?

First, contact your insurance company

As long as you have comprehensive insurance coverage (i.e. a plan that will reimburse you for car theft, vandalism, fire, animal damage, and other acts of nature) you should be in the clear. However, if you carry only the bare minimum liability insurance, you might be out of luck.

Regardless, you ought to contact your auto insurance company as soon as it’s convenient.

Next, go get an estimate

All reputable auto body shops in Saskatchewan and Manitoba will be happy to give you a quote for your hail damage. Keep in mind, though, that your insurance company is likely only to cover repairs conducted at an SGI- or MPI-approved shop, such as those under the Driving Change Group.

Want to learn more about how to file an SGI or MPI damage claim? Check back here on July 6th for an entire post on how to handle the process.

Mechanic giving thumbs up

We’re rabid anti-dentites!


Repairs that won’t put a huge ding in your wallet

That’s really all there is to it! Paintless dent repairs are relatively inexpensive (approximately $100 per dent), quick to complete (1 hour or less), and don’t involve any messy Bondo, sanding, and paint application.



Speak your mind

  • Did your vehicle get damaged in this summer’s latest hailstorm?
  • What’s the biggest hailstone you’ve ever found?
  • Have you ever tried to remove your own door dents using the paintless method?


12 Responses to “Hail Today, Gone Tomorrow: How Paintless Dent Removal Works”

  1. Jessy Shaw

    My husband and I just recently moved to Chula Vista and for some reason, there has been some pretty wild weather. We have a few dings in our car because of it. We are looking to sell the car but we don’t want the price of it to go down. We are thinking about taking it to one of the auto repair shops so we can up the value again. I didn’t think about contacting our insurance company, thanks for the tip!

    • slucci

      Thanks for reading, Jessy. I’m glad this post could (potentially) save you some cash on your repairs!

  2. Callie Marie

    My husband left his car out in a hailstorm, and now it has dents like the one in the picture. We want to find a good dent repair service, so your advice is really helpful. Looking for someone who knows how to remove the door panels and lights is a great idea. That way we’ll be able to tell that they have a lot of experience with jobs like this.

  3. Brandon Roberts

    I like how you said that the first thing you need to do when you get hair damage, is to call up your insurance company. This needs to be the first thing you do before you do anything else. By doing this, you will get a better understanding of what you are going to need to pay for the damage. And also, you be able to see if you are covered with this type of damage.

  4. Veronica Marks

    Thanks for the tip about looking for a repair shop that removes the tail lights, door panels, etc. to get the right leverage. I’m always wary of auto body shops because of a bad previous experience. Knowing what to look for helps me have more peace of mind when it comes to these things!


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