DIY car dent removal is always an option, but it’s a good idea to know your vehicle’s limits. If you’ve experienced hood damage, you might have options available. That said, you’ll know if you’re outside of DIY territory. Aside from contacting a 24/7 towing service, there are a few things you’ll need to do if your car’s hood is buckled, bent or otherwise irreparable via your own means. We’re here to walk you through the basics of hood damage—helping you decide whether a repair or complete replacement is needed.

Understanding Mild Steel

Before anything, you should know the ramifications of damaged mild steel. Fenders, quarter panels and hoods are crafted with mild steel. Mild steel can be “bent” back into shape. That said, there are a few things mild steel can’t come back from. For the most part, you’ll need to determine whether the cost of a new mild steel panel will exceed the cost of a repaired one.

Determining Price

If your vehicle is beyond the point of DIY dent repair, talk to your provider and get a quote. If your hood costs about $200, and if your provider tells you it’ll take five hours to repair, you should multiply the hourly rate by this timeframe. Then, compare the hood’s original price to that of a new hood.

Refurbished Hoods

Buying a used hood might not seem appealing, but it’s quite cheaper than purchasing one from your manufacturer. In fact, a lot of refurbished hoods are brushed up to be incredibly viable options. The purchasing process might take a little longer, and you might need to search a little, but it’s still a viable buying avenue.

Extreme Damage

In general: Mild steel lacerations are hard to treat. For this reason, you’re better off getting a new hood if you’re facing a ripped apart car. Repairs can cause safety issues if they’re done hastily, and it’s better not to risk it. Remember: Your insurance won’t pay for prior damage, either. If your hood sustained heavy damage due to a preexisting problem, it’s an all-around better idea to opt for a replacement.

Rust, too, is a deal-breaker for most repair service providers. You may find hood replacement to be a viable alternative to dent removal, minor repair and complete overhauls, in most cases. At the end of the day, you should put your family’s safety first. Check out the prices, but don’t turn away a new hood just to make the ends meet.