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Automotive Dent Repair and What Dents Cannot Be Fixed?

Updated: Jun 9

While you might hope for a quick fix through paintless dent repair or other automotive dent repair techniques, unfortunately some dents and unfixable car damage can signal much more serious issues, like structural damage or even the possibility of your car being declared a total loss. 


These dents not only affect your vehicle's appearance and value, but more importantly, its safety. 


Below, we explore these tricky situations in greater detail, explaining how to spot signs of structural damage, and figure out what to do if you suspect your car might be beyond repair altogether.




Types of car dents that defy repair


Severely dented liftgate on Ford Edge
Severe dent on Ford Edge liftgate


Now that we understand the stakes, let's dive into the different types of car dents that can prove stubborn in the face of traditional repair methods. While some dents may seem like minor inconveniences at first glance, others present significant challenges that go beyond surface-level imperfections. 


Here are some common characteristics of the trickiest dents to repair:


Sharpness

These dents are characterized by distinct, sharp creases dug into the smooth contours of your vehicle's body. Despite advances in paintless dent repair technology, sharp dents often retain their shape and depth, making them difficult to fully eliminate.


Size 

While small dents can often be remedied with relative ease, it goes without saying that larger dents clearly pose a greater challenge. While some large dents are still fixable in many cases, substantial body work damage will always warrant much more extensive work—including the reshaping of entire panels, which can be time-consuming and costly.


Depth

Deep dents, that severely penetrate the metal surface of the vehicle, present a unique set of obstacles. These don’t only affect the appearance of the car but also compromise its structural integrity, increasing the likelihood of long-term damage if left unaddressed (although, just consider the fact that some may be irreparable altogether). 


Cracked or damaged paint

Dents accompanied by cracked or damaged paint pose additional complications. Repairing the dent without addressing the paint damage may result in unsightly blemishes or expose the underlying metal to corrosion, which can lead to longer-term damage while your car is exposed to the elements. 


Dents in high-stress areas

Damage near door hinges or along the edges of panels, can be particularly challenging to repair. That’s because the structural complexity of these areas can hinder access, compromise long-term safety, and limit the effectiveness of traditional dent repair techniques. 


Dents in hard-to-reach places 

Damage nestled in areas with limited accessibility, such as beneath wheel arches or within intricate body contours may restrict the use of standard dent removal tools—demanding slightly more creative solutions for repair.


That being said, while it’s still not ideal (especially for resale value), a dent is far less unsightly if it’s hidden from view altogether! So, essentially the choice is yours if you still wish to pursue dent removal in this instance. 


What is structural damage on a car and how it affects automotive dent repair?


 


While some unfixable dents and dings are an unsightly eyesore for you to grin and bear, others can compromise the strength of your vehicle's frame and underlying components. 


Therefore, identifying a car with structural damage is essential for ensuring both your safety and the longevity of your vehicle. Here are some telltale indicators to watch out for:


Unusual frame alignment

One of the most glaring signs of structural damage are dents that cause irregularities in your vehicle's frame alignment. Visible misalignment, such as uneven gaps between body panels or asymmetrical positioning of components, normally suggests underlying structural issues.


Misaligned doors or windows

Structural damage can also manifest itself in subtle yet annoying ways, such as difficulty opening or closing doors or windows. If you notice resistance or misalignment, it’s important to seek professional advice on how to proceed—as it can be a safety hazard that jeopardizes the validity of your insurance. 


Uneven panel gaps

Take a closer look at the gaps between body panels, such as those around the hood, doors, and trunk. Consistent and uniform panel gaps are indicative of a well-aligned vehicle, whereas irregular or asymmetrical gaps might signal structural distortion.


Again, if any of the dents or dings on your car affect these things, it’s wise to seek professional advice straight away. 


Visible cracks or buckling 

These outward manifestations of structural stress or deformation suggest significant underlying damage that requires immediate attention from a qualified technician. Just keep in mind that in most cases like these, the damage is unlikely to be 100% fixable, if at all. 


Suspension and handling issues

Structural damage can affect more than just the appearance of your vehicle—it can also impact its performance and handling. If you notice unusual vibrations, sounds, instability, or changes in steering responsiveness, it’s probably a sign of something affecting the vehicle's suspension or chassis.


Remember, ignoring signs of structural damage can lead to further deterioration, jeopardizing both the safety of occupants and the overall condition of the vehicle. 


What to do if your car dent is unfixable




If you’re at a stage where you suspect you have an unfixable dent, or are dealing with any type of damage that’s beyond repair, you should still carefully explore your options and make informed decisions about the next steps. Here are few things to consider:


Always get professional advice first

We’ve already touched on this point above, but consulting with reputable automotive dent repair specialists should always be your first course of action. 


Experienced technicians can assess the extent of the damage, provide expert guidance, and offer insights into potential repair options or alternatives—so you shouldn’t necessarily always consider your car to be a write-off straight away.


What makes a car a total loss?

Total loss occurs when the extent of damage makes your vehicle unfeasible to repair from a cost perspective, exceeding the threshold set by your insurance company.


If your insurer declares that your vehicle has been totaled, you’ll then be offered a settlement figure based on the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle minus any deductible and salvage value. If you’re wondering what happens when your car is a total loss—again, talk to a professional before working things out with your insurer, just so you’re fully clear .


Explore salvage options

If your car is eventually deemed a total loss, there are things you can explore to protect your pocket. Salvaging viable components can recoup some value and offset the cost of replacement or repair. Salvage yards or auto recyclers may be willing to purchase salvageable parts, such as engines, transmissions, or body panels, providing a partial return on your investment.


Last-resort solutions

Depending on the nature and severity of the damage, exploring alternative repair methods or cosmetic enhancements might offer a viable path forward. While certain dents may be considered unfixable by traditional means, innovative techniques or specialized treatments are out there. It all depends on how much you want to, or even believe it’s worth spending in an attempt to fix your car. 


On the other hand, if you’re convinced your car is still in a fixable state as far as dings and dents are concerned, we’d be more than happy to help. Even if you’re unsure and still weighing up your options, we’re on hand to offer a second opinion and offer advice if needed. 


Give us a call, and even if your car is in an undrivable state, we can bring our mobile dent repair services straight over to you and take a look. Get in touch today to find out how King’s Ding Repair can support you with all things dents and dings. 



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