We have all experienced that "Oh No" feeling when we come back from a shopping trip and see a blemish on the side of our car. This type of damage is almost inevitable but there is some good news! There are varying degrees of body damage, and there is a big difference between a " Ding" and a "Dent" when repair costs are considered.


What is a "Ding" and what is a "Dent"?

Generally a "ding" is damage limited to about 1/2 inch in diameter, that does not damage the paint or leave an exposed area that can rust. Shopping carts, carelessly opened doors or rocks are the usual causes.


Larger , more extensively damaged areas that require metal work, repainting or even panel replacement are usually described as " Dents". The difference between a Ding and a Dent is based on the size and type of damage as well as the effort and expense needed to make the repair.


Most owners consider minor "Dings" an annoyance but not something that needs immediate attention. The difference between these two types of damage is more significant  to owners who are turning in a leased vehicle, or  considering trading in their car.


With leased vehicles, the condition of the vehicle at turn in time can result in penalties for excessive wear and tear.  Manufacturers provide guidelines  differentiating between "normal wear and tear" and  "Excessive damage ". This is where the difference between a ding and a dent takes on a new significance, as the owner may be charged for the repairs needed to bring the vehicle back to acceptable condition.


Chargeable vs. non-chargeable damage

Non- chargeable repairs are " dings" that are less than 1/2 inch in diameter and do not require paint work. These types of dings can often be repaired using " Paintless" dent removal techniques. These repairs are less costly than traditional auto body repair. In most cases the repair cannot be seen and manufacturer's guidelines usually allow two such dings per panel. If a vehicle has many such damaged areas, the owner can expect to be charged. Paintless repair cannot be done if an area has been previously damaged, so you will probably be charged for new damage as only an area with the factory original finish can be repaired with paintless techniques.


Even larger areas of damage, or dents, can sometimes be repaired with paintless techniques. The difference is whether or not the metal has been creased and if the paint has been damaged. If metal work is required to return the area to its original shape, then the area will have to be repainted. This is classified as " Excessive" damage and there is usually a charge for the repair. In extreme cases the metal may be so badly damaged that the panel will need replacement.


Whether or not to repair damage is a matter of personal preference in most cases. Some owners will simply not want to drive a vehicle with visible accident damage. Car accident repair can be an expensive proposition, and even if there is insurance coverage, deductibles may apply.


If a vehicle is  leased and the vehicle is about to be turned in, ask your dealer to appraise the damage. There will be a formal assessment by an independent appraiser when you finally turn the vehicle in, but your dealer can generally tell you if there is chargeable damage or not. In some cases dealers will ignore damage as an incentive for an owner to lease another vehicle from them.


If you are an owner who simply does not like the appearance of their vehicle marred  by auto body damage, then getting an estimate from an auto body repair shop is the next step. Most auto body shops will give you an estimate free of charge, and a call to your insurance company will determine if the insurance repair will cause an increase in your rates.


An internet search will help you find local auto body repair shops. Suburban Auto Body, located in Little Canada MN is a family owned business that has served the Twin Cities Area for over thirty years. Their website provides an estimating tool and they will gladly answer any questions you may have over the phone or you can visit any of their three locations.


They can be reached at:  https://www.suburbanautobody.com/ or by calling 651-633-8900.