Car Ding Vs. Dent: What Is The Difference?


I remember when I had to first ask what is a ding on a car when contacting a repair shop. I  had left the grocery store to find that my car, some shopping carts, and a windy day met in battle while I was inside.

Unfortunately, it appeared my car had met defeat with ugly "battle scars" all over it. Upon calling a repair shop, they asked if I had dents or dings. I learned they were two different things.

Who knew? Not me, that's for sure. I had considered one the same as the other. Instead, each has components and reasons for why they are in fact different kinds of damage.

What is a ding on a car?

A ding is a very small dent that is less than an inch in size. It is not deep and does little to no damage to the paint on your car. Most of the time, it is considered normal wear and tear on the car.

What is a dent in a car?

A dent, unlike a ding, is a bit more serious because it does have visible damage. It is deeper and does cause moderate to serious damage to your car's paint and even the metal of the car. There are various causes of impact and assorted types of dents and resulting damage.

4 key differences between a car ding and a dent


Dings, you might not even be able to see unless you look very closely, since they are less than an inch in size, depth, and diameter and they rarely spread into ongoing damage.  

A dent is at least an inch deep or wide and much larger. Because of the bigger size, it is more noticeable. You can probably see it from a few feet away. Since it cracks, the paint and metal dents can begin to rust, and the damage spreads, making a dent larger than the original size.


A ding might not even need repair or, even if it does, most owners wait since it won't rust. If an owner does repair dings, the paintless repair is much cheaper than the more involved process of repairing dents. Dents, on the other hand, require multi-step repairs, including new paint.


The main difference in costs between a ding and a dent is that most dings won't even need repair. If you prefer to repair it, it only needs slight attention and will cost very little. A dent, conversely, will need more labor and specific tools, which then make the cost greater.


Dents again cause more damage than a ding but that damage will depend on the force of the object hitting your car, the size of the object, and its speed of it.

Types Of Car Dents

Before you know what kind of repair is needed after the above factors and better knowledge of what a car ding and dent is and the differences, it helps to understand the common types of dents.

Crease Dent

Have you ever been sideswiped by another car or made a turn too close and hit something that then drags along the car causing an indentation followed by a long scrape? You have a crease dent type.

Round Dent

This kind of dent occurs when something hits your car such as a home run baseball. Your team might win but something has to stop that round object. Unfortunately, this time it was your car. These cover a larger area with the dent being a round or funnel shape.

Sharp Dent

This kind of dent is the worst. On the surface, it might not look that bad, but there is unseen damage underneath the metal panels. If the small metal object that hits the car hits between the panels, then those may need serious repair or replacement.

Which type of damage is chargeable?

Most car insurance companies have their own rules and guidelines for chargeable and non-chargeable damage, so always be aware of your car insurance policies. In general, however, if the dent was your fault, it will be chargeable.

Perhaps you overestimated your car fitting into a tight parking spot and hit another car. It may also depend on what kind of repair is needed, but a fault or no-fault is usually the first consideration.

It also can depend on the likelihood that the damage will be repeated. For example, if your car was dented by falling hail was it a freak out-of-the-blue storm, or do you live in an area where hail is routine? Knowing your policy well can give you some peace of mind over chargeable dents if and when they occur.