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No one likes denting their car, and there are many ways to prevent dings in the garage and outside.
Popular ways to prevent dents include pool noodles, parking assists, car door protectors, and visual or audio guidance.
Let’s see how to protect your car from dents with different devices and how to fix dents in the car. Also, we look at what to do in the parking lot if someone dents your car or you dent someone’s car.
How to Protect Car Doors in the Garage
There are infrared sensors, laser guidance, ultrasonic sensors, stop blocks, contact lights, and visual guides available nowadays and cheaper options like pool noodles.
Infrared sensors can be installed to aid in parking. They work similarly to garage door sensors. Sensors are set up to form a barrier, and an RF radio receiver is installed in the car. The receiver is powered by a cigarette lighter power port. It gives off a warning chime and red light till the car passes the pre-set barrier and the vehicle is inside the garage in the desired place. Once the car is in the right place, the chime stops, and the warning light changes color to green.
Dual lasers. Lasers are easy to adjust in almost any direction. Lasers give you a visual aid. You just need to remember a predetermined spot in your car when you pull into the garage. For example, the car hood or other place easy to see. Where you know the lasers will point at. And then you know your car is precisely at the right spot in the garage.
The ultrasonic sensor emits an un-hearable sound that bounces off your car back to the sensor. The sensor gives you visual aid with lights installed on the garage wall. So you know when the car is at the right spot in the garage.
Similar to speed bumps. Made from rubber. Easy to install and doesn’t require electricity. You just lay the bumps down where you want your car to stop. Then drive up the garage till your tires hit the bump and stop. Look for ones with reflective stripes, so you notice them better.
Movable and bending signs that you drive towards until the car bumper touches the height-adjustable section holding the light up. The light will start to flash to let you know that the car is in the right place. They bend so they don’t scratch your vehicle.
Most sensors in this guide are visual parking assists. You can also just hang a tennis ball from your ceiling that touches the windscreen when the car is in the right spot. It’s an easy and cheap way. But hard to see in low lights conditions and not very accurate if the car needs to be exactly at the right spot. The modern upgrade to the old tennis ball trick is an electric ball that operates with batteries. The ball lights up when it touches the windscreen. But it is also not a very accurate way to park your car.
Door Guards and Protectors
Many stores sell door pads that you can screw into the wall or hang from ropes. They are rubber-like pads or fabric filled with soft materials that absorb impacts well.
Some plastic protectors are attached to the car door or edge strip that works just the same.
Body Side Molding
Install a body side molding kit in your car if there is none, or standard lists don’t protect the car enough. Body side molding provides protection for your doors and the side body of your vehicle. You can also install running boards or side steps.
How to Make Door Bumper With Pool Noodle
Pool Noodles are a fast, cheap, and easy way to protect your car doors from dings in the garage.
What You Need
- One Pool Doodle or Several
- Double-Sided Foam Tape
- Screws or Nails and Eyelet Hooks
- Box Cutter or Sharp Knife
- Rope, Broomstick
- Slice the noodle in half with a box cutter
- Apply the foam tape to the two edges of half noodle
- Check where the car door hits the wall and mark the area.
- Apply the noodle to the wall. If you don’t have the double-sided tape. You can also use a couple of screws or nails.
- Put the broomstick through the noodle or noodles.
- Use a couple of screws or eyelet hooks at both ends of the broomstick.
- Apply rope to the screws.
- Ensure the cars are in the garage and pick a good place for the noodle between the cars.
- Cut the ropes at the right length and apply them to the ceiling with screws or eyelet hooks at the appropriate place where they won’t be in the way of the garage door opener.
Best Garage Parking Aids
There are some things to consider when deciding what parking aids work best. You can, of course, use one or more of them at the same time.
Line of Sight or Contact
Some line of sight parking aids can be hard to see if the car seat is adjusted or they need to be adjusted to a specific car and driver. So if the car is shared, the parking aid might not work as intended. If you share the car, in that case, it is wisest to use multiple parking aids. So every driver has their own parking assist.
Contact assists are simple, like the bump or tennis ball. But they might not be so accurate every time.
If you have lots of stuff in your garage and space is scarce, or you have many kids going in and out of the car. It’s recommended to have one or more parking assist in making life easier.
You might have one, two, or even a four-car garage, so you maybe need to have multiple parking aids installed. So it’s good to consider how much money you are going to spend. But Fixing minor or significant dings and scratches ain’t cheap too. So parking aids will pay off in no time.
You can opt for old-school tennis balls and pool noodles and bumps that are cheap and don’t need electricity or go high tech with lasers and ultrasonic sensors. Or use them at the same time. Some electrics work with batteries, and some models need an electric outlet. Not every garage has an outlet at a convenient place. Lasers also need to be adjusted so they don’t hit anyone’s eyes.
How Do You Prevent Door Dings?
If your garage has enough space, you can just park your car very accurately using parking assists. So the door won’t touch the wall or other cars. Another option is to use cheap options like pool noodles to prevent the car door from dinging. Also, tell your kids to be careful with the car doors. But accidents happen.
- Park in the end cap parking spots. These spots are usually wider, so you can park closer to one side.
- Avoid parking next to big cars. They are wide and take up more space than regular-sized vehicles. Avoid also two-door cars. The doors are longer in them.
- Teach your kids to be careful when getting out of the car in the garage or parking lot. So they don’t ding other cars.
- Use car door guard panels or body side molding kits. Guard panels or pool noodles prevent ding in the garage, and body side molding provides protection for your doors and side body of your vehicle when parking outside or in the garage.
- Park next to small or expensive cars. Small cars don’t take up space. The owner of an expensive car is likely to take care not to hit your car with their own car doors.
- Avoid also neglected cars and rust buckets. The owners might not care about your car too. And just ding it and drive away.
- If you are outside, try parking away from other cars. A short walk to the store or mall is a healthy exercise.
There is no guaranteed way to prevent dents or dings. But doing everything you can and using caution and little common sense goes a long way.
Do Running Boards Prevent Door Dings?
Yes. Against regular height cars and you drive a truck where running boards or side steps are common. But if you park next to another truck with the same height doors. Running boards don’t work in that case.
What Causes Car Door Dings?
Accidents. Careless people, runaway shopping kart, kids, opening the car door too fast, bad parking.
Dings and dents can happen anywhere on your vehicle. And they are not usually your fault. Accidents do happen, and all we can do is try to prevent them.
Leave Space Between Cars
When you are on the roads. Leave enough reaction time (at least 3 seconds) and space between the car in front of you when driving behind someone. The closer you are to another vehicle higher the risk that rocks, sticks, or other debris will fly at your car. And can cause damage to your vehicle or your health.
Use Covered Parking
Covered parking like a garage or carport will protect your car from heavy wind, snow, or hailstorms that could damage your car. Exposing your car year-round to the elements will leave marks on your car paint job. Winds can carry tree branches or other stuff flying to your vehicle.
Don’t Leave Stuff Onto Your Car
Even small objects like keys or groceries can damage your car when they are onto the surface of your vehicle. If you forget them and start driving, they come flying down, damaging the paint job. Don’t put stuff in the roof, hood, or trunk of your car.
How Do I Fix a Small Ding in My Car?
Door dings usually happen when a car door hits another car’s side panel while both are parked beside.
There are many ways to fix car dings DIY.
Minor and Shallow Dings
Thin metal can be pushed or pulled back to shape when dented.
Interior Door Panel
Detach the interior door panel and see if you can reach the area with a piece of wood like a piece of broomstick or similar. Place the wood over the dent and try push or gently tap the wood with a hammer to pop a dent back to place. Start from the shallow part and work your way to the deeper part. You can also try another tool to hold the dent from the inside and tapping the dent from the front.
Heat and Cold Air
Use a hairdryer and a can of compressed air. Apply heat to the dented area for about 3 minutes, carefully moving the hairdryer evenly. Then immediately turn the can of air upside down and spray the area with cold air. The temperature change should pop the dent out.
If the paint is ok and not chipped, you can try this method. Get a glue gun and dowels. Clean the dented area. Put the glue in the dowel, press it on the dent, and let it dry for about 2 minutes. Pull the dent out and rinse and repeat. Clean the glue out so it doesn’t dry thoroughly. Don’t let the glue dry over 8 minutes as it might damage the paint.
You can try sink plunger. Splash the plunger and damaged area with water. Place the plunger over the dent and gently push and pull until the dent pops back.
Many places sell suction cup dent puller that works just like sink plunger. Always check the instructions first on how to operate it. For more significant dents, work your way from pulling the dent’s edges first, proceeding towards the middle.
Dent pullers only work on shallow dents that are on flat and flexible surfaces. They can improve the appearance of dents but are not likely to create a perfect finish alone. DIY dent pullers will not work on deep, angular dents or damage along the edges of bodywork. Dents in areas of thick metal are very difficult to remove at home.
Chipped paint should be repaired fast so the metal underneath won’t start to rust. If the chipper area is small, you can try to fix it. You need.
- Denatured Alcohol
- Polishing compound
- Small can of primer
- Bottle of your car color touch up paint (test it before, so it matches your car color)
- Clean the damaged area with soap and water and dry it with a cotton cloth.
- Apply a little bit of polishing compound carefully to soften the paint edges. Don’t overdo it.
- Wipe the area with the denatured alcohol with a clean cloth
- Apply the primer with the bottom of the match stick. Cover all the chipped area and let it dry for about 30 min.
- When the primer is dry, put a small amount of touch-up paint over the primer. Use dabbing motion. (A dab is a motion with which you pat or apply something to a surface, and it’s also the tiny amount of material you’re using)
- After applying the paint, let it dry for at least an hour. And then apply a second coat.
- Wait a couple of days and gently apply a polishing compound to the edges of the painted area.
- Get a clay bar from the automotive shop or elsewhere.
- Cut the clay to 3-4 pieces, so you have extra. If you drop one, get a fresh one, so you don’t scratch the paint.
- Clean the damaged area and allow it to dry
- Gently rub the clay over the smeared area.
You can also try paint thinner if you don’t have clay. Use a cotton cloth and rub the area with a paint thinner to remove the smear carefully. Try to avoid your own car paint job. Wash the area afterward.
This only works on scratches that have not fully penetrated the clear coat of car paint.
- Get a whitening toothpaste and clean the area beforehand and let it dry.
- Use a soft cloth and a small amount of toothpaste. Rub the toothpaste only to the scratched area using a circular motion.
- Once the scratches are removed, clean the area carefully.
You’ll need shoe polish darker than your car paint job and very fine sandpaper.
- Wash and clean the area, and it dry.
- Apply shoe polish to the scratched area spreading it out.
- Use the sandpaper and very gently sand down the area. Don’t overdo it sading down too much paint.
- Check the applied shoe polish and continue to sand carefully. Use a soft cloth to polish the area between and check the results.
Nail polish is a fantastic scratch remover. Choose a color close to your car. Use the same nail polish methods as toothpaste or shoe polish—clean, buff, and sand down the damaged area.
Apply nail polish evenly to cover up the scratches. If needed, apply another coat.
What to Do if You Scratch a Parked Car?
Don’t flee. Security cameras may have seen you and can lead to a hit-and-run charge. Most states require you to leave a note or wait for the car’s owner.
Track down the owner or car you dinged. Wait a bit. If no one appears. Go to the shop and speak customer service and have the other vehicles’ information (make/model and color) paged over the speakers.
If you cannot contact the vehicle owner. Take lots of pictures from both cars and the dent. Be sure to include license plates. Take photos all around so the other person cant charge you with further damage.
Look for possible witnesses. Get their contact information and write down or video their description of what happened.
Then write a note containing your contact details and an explanation of what happened. And leave the message somewhere secure where it won’t get wet or blown away by the wind.
Most states require that your note include this information:
- Contact number
- Explanation of accident
- If you were driving someone else’s vehicle at the time of hitting a parked car, you are required to leave the name and address of the car’s owner as well.
When you talk with the other person, mutually decide if involving the insurance companies is the best solution.
If the damage is severe, you can file a police report or ask a security guard to write up an incident report.
What to Do if Someone Dings Your Car Door?
If the culprit car is still next to your vehicle. Take photos of the dent—both cars position to each other and license plates. Then wait for the car owner to return or try calling him/her or ask the store staff to make an announcement to return to the car.
Look for possible witnesses. Get their contact information and write down or video their description of what happened.
When the person returns to the car, be calm and ask for the insurance information and him/her contact details. If they refuse, call the police and present the evidence.
Collect this information:
- Contact number
- Explanation of accident
- Insurance company
Many states require you to call the police when your vehicle is involved in an accident. If there is any noticeable damage, you should contact the police.
If you are not able to contact the vehicle owner or the other car has left already. Take many clear photos (with the date and time stamp). Document the damage and location and the other vehicle if it’s still there. Then call your insurance company immediately and ask for advice.
You can also call the police and file a police report. It’s handy when making an insurance claim.
Also, ask the shop if there are security cameras in the parking lot.
In some states, insurance goes with the car, no matter who is driving. Points and liability go with the driver.
Should You Report a Door Ding or Dent to the Police?
Many insurance companies will advise that you call the police and report the accident, depending on the damages’ scope. If you want your insurance company to cover the cost of repairs,
According to the Insurance Information Institute, most people will be required to copy the official accident report. If they wish to file a claim with their insurance company.
So if you think that repairing the damage to your car will be too expensive to cover by yourself, then you should report the damage to the police. While reporting the incident, be sure to request that police document and file an official accident report for you.
Also, there are situations when you should not file a claim at all. When you know you don’t have collision coverage, avoid filing for a dent from minor or major incidents. If the repair cost is less than your deductible, avoid filing and save money by covering it yourself.
Does Insurance Cover Parking Lot Dings?
Yes. If you have comprehensive and collision auto insurance.
Collision insurance covers the damage caused by a car accident or a collision with an inanimate object. In contrast, comprehensive insurance covers damage caused by events outside of your control. You’ll pay the deductible, and your car insurance company will take care of the collision repair costs.
Your property damage liability coverage will pay for the parked car’s damage. And your collision coverage will cover your vehicle after you pay your deductible.
Do Insurance Companies Check Parking Lot Cameras?
If your car is involved in a hit-and-run and you cannot find the party who damaged your vehicle, look around for security cameras. Often businesses will have security cameras watching their parking lots for just that reason.
Parking lot surveillance cameras are common. Go into the store and ask the manager if they have any security camera footage you can check.
Insurance companies can try to use video surveillance to contest liability and challenge a victim’s claim’s validity.
There needs to be upfront disclosure from the insurance company letting you know that a video will be used as evidence.
How Much It Cost to Repair a Door Ding?
The average dent repair cost is $125-$325
The paintless dent repair cost is around $50-$150
Dents and dings indoor is around €75-$125
The cost of multiple dings ranges on average between $150 and $500.
Larger dents range from $150 to $450.
Hail damage repair is about $2500