Are you in search of a new vehicle? Do you love bargains? Is your area prone to violent summer storms that sometimes contain hail? Then you might want to wait until after one of these thunderstorms to buy an automobile. Why? Because you might be able to find a vehicle that has suffered some minor cosmetic hail damage available at a bargain basement price. For example, dozens of dealerships in the Denver and Colorado Springs had cars damaged in the spring of 2014. While the vehicles could be repaired, it would have taken the dealers months to have all of their cars fixed. So most dealerships decided to have big sales instead. According to Time, some cars were being offered for as much as 66 percent off of their MSRPs.
Is Buying A Hail-Damaged Vehicle Safe?
In most cases, the damage caused by hail will be mainly cosmetic. However, it's important to check any vehicle you are interested in purchasing carefully to ensure you choose the best one available. In some instances, the small indentations left by a hail storm may not even be noticeable at first glance. That is why it is important to inspect the car carefully by:
- Checking the roof, trunk and hood of the vehicle by scanning it from the side, not the top, in good lighting. The indentations left by hail can be easily missed if you don't study the vehicle on a plane level to your eye.
- Look for broken pieces of glass in the car, which could indicate that the windshield or other windows were broken out by large hail stones. If you find glass, check the interior carefully for water damage. If the windshield or windows were broken out, rain could have gotten in the vehicle, which could have caused electrical and other problems.
- Ask the dealership if they had to replace any of the glass in the vehicle. If so, check to make sure the glass was replaced properly. Occasionally, a windshield will be installed poorly, which could lead to leaks in the future. For example, you could pour water on the windshield to see if it leaks. Or ask the dealership if they will guarantee the workmanship if you should discover problems down the line.
- Having a dent-repair service look the vehicle over and give you an estimate of how much it will cost to have the hail damage removed. You want to make sure you won't be spending all of your savings or more on fixing the vehicle.
Dimples Are Cute on Kids, but Not on Cars
So once you purchase a hail-dimpled vehicle, what should you do? If the hail was small and you don't mind riding around in a vehicle with dimples, you could leave it as is. But, remember, this could negatively affect the vehicle's resale value.
Your other option is to hire a dent-repair service. There are even some hail repair services that will fix the damage at your home or place of work. In most cases, these services can restore a vehicle to like-new condition.
Hail Damage Is OK, but Watch Out for Flood Damage
Hail typically accompanies powerful thunderstorms, so make sure the car you are interested in purchasing does not have other damage that could be associated with a storm, especially if you are buying the vehicle from a private party. For example, check the vehicle for signs of flooding, which can severely damage a vehicle. If you notice a musty smell in the auto or mud stains in suspicious places, be very wary of the vehicle. Experts also suggest you have a vehicle looked over by a mechanic you trust if you suspect it may have been in a flood.
A hail-damaged vehicle could be the bargain you've been searching for, as long as you perform your due diligence and inspect the auto carefully before purchasing it.