Is It A Dent Or Ding? 2 Ways To Tell The Difference

Nobody likes driving around in a damaged vehicle.

For a lot of people, their car is their pride and joy.

It’s normally the 2nd most expensive item they’ll ever own in life.

That’s why, when you come out of the shop to see damage to your car, you’re filled with rage.

Depending on the type of damage, whether it’s a dent or ding, will decide your course of action.

A ding could be repaired for <$100, whereas a dent could cost you over $1000.

In this article, I’ll help you to decide whether it’s a dent or ding. I’ll also advise you on the best repair method.

Understanding the process will help you get your car fixed properly and decrease the chances of you being scammed.

Which one is it? Is It A Dent Or Is It A Ding?

The main difference between a dent and a ding is the size.

Generally, a dent is a result of a bigger impact whereas a ding is a result of hail or a small car park incident.

The most common dings are from car doors hitting each other, shopping carts, and hail damage.

Most dings are a result of small impacts that are enough to cause a very small dent but not damage the paint.

Whereas the majority of dents are a result of bigger collisions.

A dent is considered much more serious and could cost a lot more to repair.

You’ll find that most dents need paint refinishing as well since the paint has been damaged.

Most people are absolutely blown away by the price of major dent repairs.

Whereas you could be pleasantly surprised if you got a quote for minor dings or creases on your car.

How A Ding Is Repaired

Most dings are repairable using a technique called “paintless dent repair” or “PDR”.

dings and creases that have no paint damage are easily repaired using this method.

The difficulty can vary depending on the location, but most pros will be able to sort them out.

You can have a shot at it yourself with beginner PDR tools, but, you’re most likely going to make it worse.

Because it doesn’t need traditional auto body repair techniques, it’s much cheaper.

PDR removes the need for any bondo or paint. Meaning there’s, parts or paint cost.

There’s also no need for a courtesy or hire car while your car is in the body shop because most PDR jobs can be done in a day.

Most PDR prices are based on the size of the dent.

You’ll be surprised at how cheap some companies are willing to do it for.

It’s definitely worth getting a couple of estimates done.

How A Dent Is Repaired

I still see a lot of dings and creases that could have been PDR’d end up in bodyshops.

Even some of the bigger dents can be PDR’d. As long as the metal isn’t stretched too much and the paint is still intact.

However, the majority of “dents” are bigger and need repaired using traditional methods.

The traditional repair would be to pull the metal out and fill whatever cannot be metal finished.

This requires filler and paint, as well as a lot of stripping, fit and other labour time.

Repainting a car also means that adjacent panels need blended or repainted which costs even more money.

Even the best body filler & glazing putty needs painted. There’s no paint matched body filler just yet.

You can quickly see how the costs add up on a traditional repair.

That’s before we even consider the fact that some dents may be beyond repair and may need the panel replaced.

As well as any other hidden damage.

Bodyshops are definitely the more expensive road to go, but sometimes it’s the only option.

You could always go through insurance but that’d likely increase your premium.

When To Get Your Car Repaired

The first deciding factor on whether you should get your car repaired or not is whether the paint is broken,

Paint defects and bare metal will cause rust in the long term.

You can drive around with minor dings that have no damage to the paint.

However, if the paint is damaged it’s going to need fixed and re-painted to prevent the panel from rusting.

If you don’t have the money to repair it, or don’t want to use insurance, you could try touch up paint to slow down the rusting.

The second deciding factor is what you plan to do with the car.

If it’s a lease car or you plan to trade it in, you probably want to fix the damage.

Cars that have superficial damage are seriously discounted in price when traded in.

It’s not uncommon for the cost of repair to be charged to you, or taken into account when trading in.

It’s always worth getting an estimate done from many companies to see whether it’s worth fixing before returning the car or trading it in.

If the damage is minor dings and you can use a PDR company for it, it’ll save or make you money when getting rid of the car.

Obviously, if you can afford to repair the car, and want to, go ahead and do it. It’s your car.

The two before mentioned scenarios are situations where repairing the car is more of a must do.

When To Leave The Damage On Your Car

If you’re driving a beater that you don’t care about, it makes sense to just leave the car damaged.

The price of low value cars doesn’t drop that much lower with damage unless it’s significant to the way the car operates or drives. Superficial dings aren’t a huge deal.

Most beaters or low value cars don’t hold much value unless you’re going through private sale anyway.

If your car is mid-high value it’s probably worth repairing, but a 1 or $2,000 beater isn’t going to decrease much in price with a few dents.