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What you should do if your car gets damaged by hail

If hail nailed your ride, here's what the experts say about do-it-yourself repairs.

HOUSTON — If hail nailed your ride, it can be quite a headache when trying to figure out the best way to fix it.

Storms commonly drop hail across Harris County and some hail can cause serious damage to vehicles.

It leads to a boost in business for certain body shops, like American Dent Specialists.

Owner Andy Ball said 65% of his business is from hail damage repairs from all over the county. One Subaru in the bay had hundreds of dings. An insurance adjuster drew a circle around each one to calculate the repair bill. Nearby, two trucks that were damaged during hail storms in Deer Park waited to be fixed.

The shop keeps a careful eye on hailstorms, using a dedicated website to track the area and addresses their impact.

To fix hail damage, a technician removes the vehicle’s interior panel to access the dinged exterior. They then use a long metal tool to reach each divet and massage the dent and push it back out without damaging the paint.

There are plenty of do-it-yourself home remedy kits you can buy, including some with suction cups.

Experts have a warning for that type of repair.

"In order for that to work, the suction cup has to be smaller than the dent," Ball said.

As for other remedies, such as using a hair dryer to heat the metal so its expands and pops back out?

"Metal that is heated expands. Metal that is frozen contracts. It will adjust the state of the metal, but seasonally, it will either come back or go away accordingly until it’s repaired completely," Ball said.

Other internet suggestions include using dry ice to contract the metal.

"Dry ice will minimize the dent. If you're putting it on steel, it will also burn the paint so wherever that dry ice touches the car it will gray out the paint, damaging your clear coat while making the dent smaller. It does effectively work on the damage but creates a new problem," Ball said.

Ball suggests calling your insurance company and getting professional repairs done to fix hail damage.

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