Spring is almost here, and for most of the country, that means warmer weather and the promise of a relaxing summer. For Texas, spring is like anywhere else, except for one major difference: the Hail Storms.
With hail season ranging from about March to August across most of Texas, the beginning of spring marks the beginning of potential car damage from hail storms. As the season begins, it’s important to take the proper precautions to protect your car from hail.
For those who are new to Texas, or who have recently gotten a new car, you may be wondering exactly how much you have to worry about hail damage.
How Damaging Are Hail Storms?
The damage done by hail can vary widely depending on the nature of the Hail Storm. Factors that influence damage include hailstone size, wind speed, and how long the storm lasts. A two-minute downpour of .25-inch hail may come and go with no lasting damage, but a night-long pelting of golf-ball-sized stones can be absolutely disastrous.
In general, if wind and storm size are otherwise normal, hailstones would have to be one inch—or approximately the size of a quarter—to cause damage to most aluminum or steel vehicles.
What to Do Before a Storm
Even if you’re expecting a light storm with small hailstones, it’s best to protect your car just in case. Weather reports can be inaccurate, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Car hail damage repair can be costly if you don’t have insurance, and taking a risk just isn’t worth it, especially when it’s so easy to prevent damage.
To protect your car, simply put it in a covered place, like a carport or a garage, before the Hail Storm starts. If you don’t have one of these available, you can try using temporary public, covered parking, like a parking garage from a local shopping complex.
And if you absolutely must park somewhere uncovered, you can always try using a thick blanket, floor mats, cardboard, or a car cover for protection. Some companies even sell covers specifically for hail. Just remember to duct tape whatever you use so it stays in place.
What to Do If You’re Driving Through a Storm
If you’re driving through a storm, the first thing you should do is look for temporary cover you can park under. Parking garages, overpasses, covered gas stations, bridges, and anything else that goes in between your car and the sky will work. If none of these are available, you can also try parking on the side of a building that is opposite to the way the wind is blowing.
It’s worth noting that the one thing you shouldn’t do is park under a tree. Falling branches due to high winds can be a major hazard, and can end up damaging your car more than the hail itself.
If there’s absolutely no cover in sight, your best option is to pull over and wait out the storm. Roll down your windows to prevent unnecessary breakage, and stay inside your vehicle. If the storm is just beginning, you can also try putting your floor mats or any cardboard or blankets you may have on top of your roof and windshield for protection.
How to Fix Your Car If It Gets Damaged
There are two main methods of fixing hail damage on cars: paintless dent repair and traditional dent repair. While traditional dent repair may be necessary in very extreme situations, paintless dent repair will get the job done for most hail damage. In most cases, it can even help preserve the original value of your vehicle.
To get paintless dent repair, schedule an appointment with an auto repair shop that specializes in hail damage. If you have comprehensive insurance coverage, the entire repair will most likely be covered without raising your premium.
Hail Storms can wreak havoc on your vehicle, but you can avoid damage entirely with adequate preparation. If you don’t manage to get your car under cover in time for a storm, hail damage isn’t the end of the world. A reputable hail damage repair shop can get your car looking like new, so you can be back on the road in no time.