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Ding vs Dent: What’s the Difference?

There is a new spot on your car door. Is it a dent or a ding? 

Let’s give that mark a name and an expiration date. Most people use the terms dent and ding interchangeably, but there is a difference. 

When you call to schedule that mark’s removal, it helps to give a proper description so a trained auto body technician knows exactly what to expect and how to tackle your repair. 

Dings vs Dents

We’ll get into more detail, but here’s an easy way to tell the difference between a ding and a dent. A ding is a dent’s annoying little brother. It’s smaller, sneakier, and often pops up when you least expect it. You may not even notice a ding when it first happens. 

What Is a Ding? 

A ding is a slight impression on your car’s exterior that is no bigger than your pinky fingernail. The paint appears intact, and the imperfection has no sharp edges or folds. That’s why they often get overlooked or go unnoticed. 

Many people feel dings are a natural part of your vehicle’s wear and tear. As long as the paint is intact, some people ignore an annoying little ding, but others can’t. If it bothers you, it’s worth fixing.

What Is a Dent? 

A dent comes in a lot of different shapes and sizes. Anything over the size of a paper clip is a dent. A dent may appear to leave the car’s paint and structure intact or have folds, sharp edges, or paint damage. 

Even if they don’t appear to have done significant damage, dents need to be repaired properly and quickly to preserve the integrity of the body panel and the paint. Leaving a dent weakens the structure, increases the potential for further damage, and invites rust and corrosion.

What Causes Dents and Dings

Let’s look at some common causes of dents and dings on a car’s exterior: 


  • Contact with neighboring car doors, purses, shopping carts, or stationary objects that are too close to your car
  • Loose rocks and debris on the road
  • Hail storms
  • Natural debris from trees or other foliage you may park under or near
  • The neighbor’s runaway tennis ball or other small moving object


  • Collisions with cars or stationary objects
  • Natural disasters
  • The neighbor’s runaway basketball or larger moving object

How to Repair Car Dents and Dings

Now that we’ve identified the mark, it’s time to bring your car to the experts at CARSTAR for careful restoration. Let us put your worries behind you with our precision dent and ding repair methods.

If there’s a ding or minor dent, but the paint is intact, your local CARSTAR can often save you time and money with a paintless dent repair option. Our trained technicians and specialized tools will gently coax the flawed area back to its original position. This technique requires patience and finesse but produces excellent results for minor dings and some types of dents.

Larger dents require more specialized care with bonding, sanding, smoothing, straightening, and a new paint job. Some dents even require a panel replacement. 

Dent vs. ding conundrums all deserve expert resolution. Regardless of size or origin, taking your car to a reputable auto collision repair shop like CARSTAR is always best. Others might tell you a minor repair can be done at home, but it will likely cost you more in time, money, sanity, and panel integrity than going to an expert. 

You and your car deserve a professional repair you can trust.

Visit Your Local CARSTAR

Trust the CARSTAR experts for paintless dent repair at a body shop near you.

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