Whether your vehicle is on the road, situated in a parking lot, or parked in front of your own house, there are potential dangers lurking everywhere that can damage it. And one of the best ways to protect your vehicle against auto body damage is to be aware of what those potential hazards are.

While some hazards are glaringly obvious, others are hiding in plain sight, and some may never even cross your mind. At Minnetonka Collision, we’re here to help bring those potential dangers to light. After decades in the auto body repair business, we’ve seen dozens of culprits behind minor to severe automobile damage, some of which vehicle owners never thought to suspect.

Below, we’re sharing the top five most common causes of auto body damage and the steps you can take to safeguard your vehicle.

1. Inclement Weather
When you live in Minnesota, your vehicle is subject to a wide range of weather conditions if you’re forced to park outdoors. From harsh, freezing weather and salty streets during winter to scorching sun and summer hail storms, Mother Nature can do quite a bit of damage to your vehicle.

The most common type of weather-related auto body damage is hail damage, and if left unrepaired, dents caused by hail can quickly develop rust. Since rust will inevitably eat away at your vehicle’s paint — and eventually, its paneling — it’s important to schedule hail damage repairs as soon as you realize hail has left dents in your vehicle.

To prevent hail damage (and damage caused by flying debris), park your vehicle in a covered area, preferably in a garage, if you know the forecast calls for hail or high winds.

If you don’t have access to a garage and your automobile does suffer some dents, make sure you know how to handle hail damage to your vehicle.

2. Other People’s Careless Acts
Though the majority of auto body damage results from accidents and driver negligence, many instances of minor damage are due to pure carelessness, both on the road and off it. What kind of careless acts are we referring to?

They include:

● Runaway shopping carts in parking lots
● Drivers carelessly opening parked vehicle doors
● Drivers failing to pay attention while reversing out of parking spaces
● Kids playing ball in the street

While the above list is far from comprehensive, it’s relatively easy to avoid the majority of auto body damage instances that occur due to careless acts. Simply park at a distance from other vehicles in public parking spaces. If possible, park in covered, protected areas to avoid flying or falling objects.

Check out How Your Parking Habits Endanger Your Vehicle for more helpful tips on avoiding auto body damage that can occur even when you’re not behind the wheel.

3. High-Speed Collisions
High-speed collisions are the number one cause of extensive auto body damage, and in many instances, that damage is irreparable.

Generally, these types of collisions result in severe body and frame damage, and in most cases, insurance companies will deem the involved vehicles totaled.

Because restoring a severely damaged car or truck typically costs more than the vehicle is actually worth, the insurance provider will issue the driver a check for the vehicle’s remaining value. To lessen your risk of involvement in a high-speed collision, ensure you give your full attention to the road while driving and remain at least three seconds behind the vehicle in front of you.

For more information on handling extensive auto body damage, check out Using Insurance To Pay for Auto Body Repairs: Consumer Rights You Need To Know.

4. Fender Benders
Of all the potential culprits behind auto body damage, fender benders are probably the most common. And fortunately, the damage caused by these types of minor accidents is typically reparable.

However, even at low speeds, it’s possible to incur frame damage during a fender bender. Even if dents in your vehicle don’t bother you, it’s important to visit an auto body repair shop after a fender bender for a vehicle inspection. Doing so will allow the professionals to rule out more serious internal damage that may compromise the functionality of your vehicle.

How can you avoid fender benders? Unfortunately, dents and dings caused by these minor accidents are in many cases unavoidable because the damage is someone else’s fault. But simply being vigilant and aware while you drive can help you avoid causing your own fender bender.

If you need additional help keeping an eye out, you may want to consider getting a car or truck that has advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that will help you stay safe on the road.

5. Lack of Proper Vehicle Maintenance
Have you ever seen a vehicle that looks like it has peeling or patchy paint? That unsightly paint damage is almost surely the result of improper exterior maintenance.

While paint deterioration doesn’t technically qualify as body damage, auto body repair shops do specialize in paint color matching, so it’s worth a mention.

Many vehicles require touch-up paint or even entirely new paint jobs when their exteriors are not well-maintained. But avoiding bubbling and peeling a clear coat and paint is pretty simple. Because paint damage usually stems from sun exposure, salt exposure, and corrosion, keeping your vehicle clean and waxed can go a long way toward keeping its paint in great condition.

If you ever notice even the tiniest area of paint deterioration or what looks like the beginnings of bubbling clear coats, taking prompt action is crucial. Getting the area touched up as quickly as possible can help prevent the damage from spreading.

And no, you shouldn’t attempt to touch up the paint by yourself. Check out Do Vehicle Scratch Repair Kits Actually Work? to learn why DIY paint touchup isn’t a great idea.

Need Auto Body Repair? Contact Minnetonka Collision
If your vehicle recently suffered body damage, regardless of the cause, bring it to our team at Minnetonka Collision. We specialize in auto body repair for high-end vehicles, as well as comprehensive body repairs for all other makes and models.

To schedule a free repair estimate, feel free to give our team a call at 763-230-7805 or send us a message on our contact page, and we’ll be in touch with you promptly.