Few things are more irritating than finding a fresh door ding, but it's hard to avoid them.
Whether you're driving to the grocery store, work, or the doctor's office, chances are you're going to have to park your vehicle in a parking space, next to other vehicles. Here are eight ways to help avoid door dings on your car by assessing your surroundings before choosing a parking spot.
- Try to find an end spot or walk a little ways out. The end spot is generally the safest bet in a crowded lot. If you don’t mind walking some to your final destination, park further out, where there are very few to no cars. You are responsible for and can only control your actions. So the best protection from dings is to park away from other vehicles, shopping carts and people. The odds of someone crowding in next to your vehicle are more remote.
- Before you pull into a space, look at the length of the doors on the neighboring vehicle(s). When they are fully extended, can they reach your vehicle?
- Look at the height of the vehicle you are parking next to. If it's another vehicle similar in height to yours and if your car has protective rubber door moldings, those moldings may protect your car's doors. Since SUVs and trucks are taller, their doors may cause dents higher than your moldings can protect, so you're better off moving to another spot.
- Always look at the car next to you and determine if there may be passengers, especially in shopping centers and malls. This may affect which side of the vehicle you park on. If you're at work and figure there are no passengers, parking on the passenger side of that car can be better as there is less chance of those doors being opened.
- If you have to take a parking space where another car is crowding one side of the space, you'll have to decide how best to handle that risk. But never park crooked or at an angle because someone is crowding the space. When that car leaves, you will look like the one who can't park. Always try to park straight.
- Check for child seats in a neighboring car, as that may increase your risk of a ding. Remember that for a parent to properly strap their child in a car seat, they normally need to fully extend their doors. This could be a good sign to find another space.
- Look for covered parking if there is a potential for rain and hail. One cause of vehicle dings is hail damage. It can be a very costly repair should your entire vehicle get hit with small to large balls of ice. Try to avoid taking your car out of the garage when a hail storm is approaching, or try to park your vehicle under cover if you must go out, or if you’re already out. Also, consider a canvas car protector cover. You can always throw it over your parked vehicle when you have no other coverage options.
What to do if your car is dinged
In the end, a door dent here and there may be inevitable. If you can’t bear the sight of them, there are companies that perform paintless dent repair. This is a dent removal method that uses special tools to push the dent out from the inside, without the need for painting the dent. It's a clean fix, and many times the repair can be performed while you wait. For dings that cannot be pulled out and appear as minor scratches in the paint, automotive stores may have products to help you conceal the damage. You might consider filing a claim under your insurance’s comprehensive coverage only if the damage is extensive and will be more than your deductible.
While driving in a parking lot, also be cautious. Low-speed collisions are rarely serious but they can be costly, time consuming and aggravating. Protect yourself and your vehicle while driving in a parking lot with some simple tips and learn how to handle parking lot accidents.