Q&A with Tim Ridley - Repairing Dents from Hail is Different to Repairing Standard Dents

Another up close and personal Q&A with the team at Dent Revolution. Tim Ridley is an owner operator and specialises in repairing hail damage to vehicles using Paintless Dent Repair. Repairing dents from hail is different to standard dents and needs a special touch, read on.

How did you learn the art of Paintless Dent Repair?

I was trained by my father Nick in 2002, who has been doing dent repair since 1995. I went out on the road and learnt quite a lot about the mobile service of the operation and how to provide the same level of service from a mobile PDR unit. In 2007 I did my first hailstorm in Newcastle – I got an invite from a local company who needed subcontractors for hail dent repair. There were hundreds of hail damaged cars, and here my skills were really put to the test. I spent 6 weeks repairing dents from hail and lost count as to how many cars I repaired!

How is hail repair different from standard dent repair?

With door dents and minor collisions, the dent is more pointed in nature so it’s different. Hail is rounded, no sharp edges. Falling hail has momentum when it hits so it creates a bigger, rounder dent. They are different to door dents, not easier or harder, they just require a slightly different process. We often need to take the panels off the car to gently pull out the dents. Many dent repair people don’t like doing hail repairs and vice versa, because it requires a different eye and hand – we are unique in that we can do both dents and hail so well. It (PDR) is such a refined and delicate technique that even when you learn the basics of the trade, the quality of the finished result comes down to personal skill, patience and gentle perseverance.

What are some of the traps to be aware of when trying to find ways to repair dents from hail to your vehicle?

Just because a company says “dent repair” that does not mean they can do hail repair well, it’s quite different as I mentioned before. Do your research and find out the expertise of the dent repair company for hail damaged cars. This is a different skill – companies will tell you they have hail experience just because they have dent experience, but the work is not the same and we have seen many botched hail repair jobs because of this.

How do conventional methods of repairing hail dents compare to PDR and what are the sorts of outcomes you’ve seen?

Many people still think of going to a crash repairer for their hail damaged car. The last big hailstorm in Adelaide was in 1991 and it created so much hail damage it took panel beaters around Adelaide four years to repair all the cars – a massive job. This was mainly because they had to paint, respray and replace panels and all of this took ages. PDR was not used in these situations in Adelaide back then.

Had this been today, with PDR we repair vehicles much more quickly and cost effectively, preserving paintwork and leaving the original panels intact. In today's cars, metals are lighter and thinner, so we can repair them more quickly and effectively. It’s also better for the car’s resale value and better for the environment – less paint and less landfill.

When bad hailstorms hit and there are many cars to repair, apparently interstate and overseas companies will send their team to locations in Australia. How does this impact the local market and what is the quality of work like? 

Well, these technicians have only one goal - to get through as many cars as possible in the shortest amount of time. The incentive to ensure an excellent result is diminished by the fact they are not in their own town and they don’t have to worry so much about their reputation. They are often brought in by big companies with massive insurance contracts to work to a fixed price and within a fixed time. We quote a fair price and we work to our standard of quality and we have to see out clients again because we are local – all this makes a difference to the final panel work – the difference between a hail damaged car that looks back to excellent condition or not.

Do people have the choice of repairer via their insurance company when it comes to their dent and hail repair? What do they need to be aware of?

Just because your insurance company tells you to use their repairer, don’t settle for less. Check your policy and ask them if you can use your preferred repairer.

We have often had to repair cars that have been sent to us after their insurance companies have steered people to their preferred suppliers, who have not done a great job.

If this has happened to you, go back to your insurance company and ask for the repair to be done again, don’t settle for less and keep going until your car looks as good as it did before.

For dents from hail damage, Dent Revolution is your repairer of choice

We are specialists in repairing dents from hail damage and have been called to locations all over Australia where we have repaired hundreds of hail-damaged vehicles. Place your car in the hands of experts, contact us to book your car in.


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