It’s May in Dayton. You hear the weather report call for hail—and not just any old hail, either. We’re talking about monster, “golfball-sized” hail that takes no prisoner. It’s the type of hailstorm that you wouldn’t wish upon your own worst enemy…and your car is sitting on the street, uncovered, with only thoughts and prayers to keep it safe. What luck.
Wondering what you can do or use to protect your vehicle from hail? Here’s how to avoid hail damage and car repair costs this spring.
12) Buy a hail car cover
Do car covers protect against hail? You betcha. If you don’t have a shelter, like a garage or even covered parking spot that you paid an arm and a leg for, hail covers may offer full protection from shattered windshields and hail dents on your car. Or, at a minimum, you’ll only be looking at minor hail damage to your vehicle.
You have several options for hail covers, including expensive products like the Hail Protector System ($400+), cheaper protectors like this multi-layer cover ($70+), and OEM car covers that are designed to fit snugly around your specific model. For instance, if you need a Honda Accord hail cover in Dayton, simply contact one of our Ohio or Indiana Honda dealers for a quote on an authentic Honda accessory.
11) Use blankets
Purchasing a hail cover for your vehicle is an investment. On the cheap, you can try substituting that cover with a thick blanket. To ensure you have adequate vehicle coverage from hail, be sure to tuck the blanket ends into the door, under the hood, in the trunk lid, and even in the windows. Close them tightly, ensuring you have access to door handles to reenter your vehicle once the storm passes.
Note: Do not duct tape blankets to your car! Some other “how to protect your car from hail” articles may suggest this, but it’s not good advice. The adhesive on duct tape can certainly peel away car paint, and the tape itself will be difficult to remove once the hail stops. Use the tactics above to get the best protection from hail with a blanket.
10) Try floor mats or rugs
If you don’t have enough (or large enough) blankets, you can mitigate some of the more major hail damage by using your car’s floor mats as a hail windshield cover. Put the softer, carpeted side on the window, and the hard rubberized side facing up. Hail hates rubber (so we heard).
9) Cardboard boxes work
The rule of using cardboard as a hail protector is simple: Make sure the cardboard is thick. With hail, you’ll likely get rain, and thin, cheap cardboard will absolutely disintegrate when it gets wet. A thicker panel of cardboard, like that of a corrugated appliance box, offers better survivability in hail storms.
To support the cardboard on your car, consider attaching strings or bungee cords to door handles (pull them over the roof to attach each side).
8) Towels are an option
Use the same tactic as the blanket—fold all towels into the car securely. You may need to get creative here, as you’ll obviously have many more towels to secure down.
7) Fold your side mirrors in
Hail can easily crack side-view mirrors, as they’re quite thin and flimsy. Folding them in will help to protect the reflective part, though the mirror’s casing will be at the mercy of Mother Nature.
6) Park under a tree
In storms, it’s not advisable to park under or near trees, as limbs can easily snap and fall onto your car, causing a significant amount of damage. However, if the upcoming hail storm isn’t going to be accompanied by high winds and lightning, trees can offer a moderate amount of protection from hailstones.
Note: Hail storms are usually accompanied by wind and potential lightning. Park under trees at your own risk.
5) Put plywood on your roof rack
If you own an SUV with a roof rack or cross bars, you can buy a cheap 6-foot-long plywood board and attack it to the top. This will offer a little protection from hail dents on your roof, hood, and windshields, but you’re open to smashed windows, mirrors, and the car’s sides.
Note: It’s important to secure the plywood properly! Windy conditions will put lots of stress on flat objects like plywood, and if not adequately secured, it may cause more damage than the hail itself.
4) Know where the closest indoor parking garage is
If you simply can’t hail-roof your car—whether that’s due to lack of time, resources or apathy—you should pay the small fee to park your car in a nearby parking garage or covered lot. The $5 or $10 fee is far less than the costs of paintless hail repair or hail dent removal.
3) Don’t use rocks as weights
Instead of folding blankets into car doors and windows, people will sometimes use “heavy” rocks to keep blankets in place. This is a terrible idea. The blankets can easily grab wind and lift the rocks up; as you’d guess, that would leave your vehicle unprotected from both hail and the flying rocks.
2) Always have adequate insurance coverage
Does car insurance cover hail damage? If you have opted for full comprehensive auto insurance, you should be covered. However, if you only have an auto liability policy, repairing dents or windshield damage from hail will likely come out of your pocket. Be sure to speak with your insurance agent prior to spring if you’d like to be financially protected from hail.
1) Go Small
Is your vehicle in the driveway because you’ve had to forgo cleaning your garage due to work/school/pottery classes/baptisms/choir practice/etc.? Instead of getting your hands dirty, you can choose to downsize to a smaller vehicle, like the compact Honda HR-V. It comes with all the assets of a larger SUV—cargo capacity maxes out at a mesmerizing 58.8 cubic feet*—but has an even tinier footprint than the best new cars in the market—it’s 22 inches shorter and 3 inches slimmer than even an Accord—making it the perfect crossover for a cramped garage.
Even the best deterrents and preventative measures may not be enough to protect your car from hail. If your vehicle’s become the victim of a hail-and-run in the Dayton area, be sure to have it towed to a professional collision or service center that works with your insurance company. Contact one of the Miami Valley Honda Dealers’ auto service centers near Dayton, and we’ll do what we do best: Get you back on the road.
Cargo volume based on SAE J1100 cargo volume measurement standard plus, where applicable, floor space between seating rows and seats in their forward-most and upright position.