Estimating Dent Depth

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Estimating Dent Depth

The depth of dents is another factor to be considered in the quotation process. Once again the deeper the dent, the more difficult it is to repair so prices have to be altered to compensate. The dents can be shallow, medium, deep or extreme. (In training, you should attempt to repair shallower dents first before attempting those that are deeper).

International Standards for dent depth

Shallow depth <0.91 depth
Medium depth =0.91mm to 1.25mm depth
Deep depth = 1.26mm to 1.40mm depth
Extreme depth > 1.40mm depth

Because of the relatively low range of dent depth, this is a slightly more difficult skill to grasp. This is also made more difficult with panel surfaces that are more curved.

Weight, shape and hardness of the hailstones and of course size all determine the varying dents you can get. Furthermore, the type of panels may vary the type of dents observed on different vehicles with each hailstorm event. Hail dents can vary in both size and depth. Hailstones vary from small and shallow to shallow medium and shallow large. Of course in more violent hailstorms, deeper dents occur with varying sizes. So you can see the full spectrum of dents on any vehicle are made of a combination of various depth and size of dents.

One technique to get a sense of depth is by using a credit card or business card. Place it over a dent and using proper lighting or reflection, you get a sense of depth based on the spacing. Practice in actual repair of dents eventually will assist in determining the dent depth that you are able to repair just by observation.

Over a very curved surface, feel free to orient the card to run parallel taking advantages of the flattest to determine dent depth.

Shallow Dent with movement card parallel with the surface show dent depth very well


As you can see the same shallow dent in the second video with credit card moving horizontally and credit card oriented vertically did not show the dent depth well at all. It fell into the dent.