A post hail-damaged Melbourne

14 03 2011

The afternoon of March 6th 2010 was one like few others, where what can be described as a “mini cyclone” hit the Melbourne CBD and outer suburbs.  The storm brought with it flash flooding, and strong rotating  winds, and perhaps worst of all, the storm produced hail stones the size of cricket balls, and occurance not seen in Melbourne since 1985.

Along with flood damage, hail damage to insured buildings and motor vehicles came to an estimated to over $500  million, a staggering amount for a 45 minute event.

While the large hail stones contributed to extensive damage to buildings glass and roofs,

hail damagethe most unusual aspect of the storm was the tens of thousands of vehicles that had been dented.

Vehicle owners with comprehensive insurance have claimed the damage to the vehicles, which have either been written off and resold at auctions, been repaired, or still waiting to be repaired.

But what about vehicle owners who are’nt covered by insurance, or bought damaged cars from a dealership as part of a “hail sale”? A few options exist for those with cars that remain damaged.

Leave the car damaged

An option many owners will take, as either the repairs would far outweigh the value of the car, the owners cannot afford the repairs, or that the vehicle is prone to accidental damage; such as commercial vans, utes or 4×4’s.

Bear in mind, for these vehicles, obtaining insurance may be difficult do come by.

Trade the car in

Those who bought from such “hail sales” or otherwise owned a damaged car, trading in to a dealership for a new model may be a relitvely easy option to take. Owners may need to do their homework by obtaining several realistic quotes from repairers, and compare the value of the car minus repairs to the trade in offer.

Some dealerships may exaggerate the cost of the repairs on the trade in offer, or may not repair part of all of the hail damage.

Get the car repaired

Perhaps the most difficult option, is getting the car repaired.  Prices, quality and turnaround will vary greatly between each body shop, and consumers need to be sure what they’re paying for. Any reputable shop should be able to walk you through the repairs process, and explain in detail the costs and outcome for a quality repair. With high quality, comes a high cost, especially for extensive damage that may require multiple panels replaced.

But for ever quality repairer, waits an unscrupulous shop that may replace panels with poor aftermarket or second hand items, mismatch paints, or simply fill over any dents without first removing them from the bodywork.

Many of these body shops will offer to do the work for a cheap price, but be warned many will resort to the above shortcuts in order to keep costs low.

Is there an alternative?

With any industry, new processes and methods are continually created or evolved. In particular years, one that has really taken off in the auto body repair trade is paintless dent repair. Paintless dent repair (also known as PDR), is a relatively unknown method to those outside out of the automotive industry.

PDR is a process that aims to skilfully massage a cars metal body to its pre-hail damage condition, without the use of fillers, grinding or repainting. As this process uses no materials, the costs can be significantly lower, while still delivering a quality repair.

The turnaround time for hail damaged cars can be from 1 to 4 days, depending on the vehicle model and severity of damage, which means fewer days without your vehicle, or even hiring another car.

Many insurance companies and body shops are more and more using Paintless dent repair for not only hail dents, but carpark dings, creases and minor collision dents.

Unlike conventional repairs, many PDR companies offer mobile services which can repair your vehicle at your house. Vehicles can also be repaired in stages, one or more panels at a time for customers on a limited budget.


Interested in using Paintless Dent repair to remove the unsightly dents and dimples on your car? Many PDR companies advertise online, and can be readily found though a search engine, or ask a reputable panel beater who they use for their paintless dents.


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13 03 2011

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