There seems to be an endless number of ways Mother Nature can attack our vehicles: a bear in the car, a fallen tree limb on the hood, kittens in the motor. God forbid anything like this happens to your car, but if it ever did, would you know what to do?  

Repair to car after tree fell on it.


Gas prices and insurance premiums are what we like to worry about when it comes to our vehicles, but the thought of an animal or some other act of nature doing damage isn’t always at the forefront of our minds. However, simply because we don’t necessarily worry about them, doesn’t mean they don’t happen. They do happen, and quite often. In fact, there has been an uptick lately in reports concerning nature-related vehicle damage. Luckily, vehicle damage of this sort is reparable (most of the time) if you know what to do. It’s actually easy: simply bring or have your car towed to Granite City Collison and we will assess the damage and get you an honest report of what can or cannot be done to get you back on the road.

Let’s look at some of the most common ways Mother Nature likes to play rough with our cars. First on the list–mice!

Sure, they are cute and tiny and make that sweet little squeaky noise, but they also love to chew on things that they should not. Mice and other rodents love to eat wire jackets, which in turn can cause major damage to your vehicle’s electrical systems. And as we move towards more eco-friendly products, such as recyclable wire jackets, our furry little friends seem to enjoy chewing on them even more.

Even auto insurance companies have noticed this issue, as most–if not all–insurance companies have a page on their website dedicated to rodent damage, showing what is and what is not covered. Be sure to check with your insurance company to see the extent of coverage for rodent damage, as it can get pretty complicated.

Okay, mice in the electrical, we can handle that. But what about an animal with a bit more size? What about bear damage? Law informant officers highly recommend keeping your vehicle locked at all times when in bear country, because bear attacks on cars is another surprisingly common occurrence. One reason for this occurrence is that bears are inquisitive beasts, and they are quite good at entering modern vehicles. Usually, they are only looking for food, but once one is inside your car, there is sure to be some major damage done. In some of our American Parks, it has even been noted that bears seem to be able to decipher between different models and makes of cars, meaning they will try breaking into a Honda differently than they would an Audi. Smart, right?

Once a bear gets inside your car, it is common for it to struggle to get back out of it, which makes him angry and there goes your interior. An angry bear inside a car–not a good scenario for anyone, including the bear.

Types of Repairs

Whether it’s an act of nature or an accident caused by yourself or another driver, Granite City Collison can get you fixed and back on the road. (Unless that bear completely turned your car inside-out, in which case we will gladly give you a ride to the nearest car dealership so you can purchase yourself another ride.)

Most collision shops offer a full menu of auto body repair and restoration services, from paintless dent removal to professional detailing. And, although most services are provided in order to repair damage resulting from a recent collision or act of God, we also work on smaller, less scary types of issues, which in general, are the most common types of repairs that body shops perform. What follows is a list of our most performed services:

  • Paintless Dent Removal (PDR)

Stray grocery carts, hail, and flying rocks can all leave noticeable dents in body panels and doors. If not dents punched over the body of your car, it can leave scratches, even remove or damage the paint in large areas of the car’s body. Left untreated, these seemingly minor results can cause more expensive paint damage later. In order to ensure that doesn’t happen, we use a process called “paintless dent removal.” PDR requires no fillers or sanding, as a trained technician uses a variety of special tools to gently and slowly push dents back into place without harming the factory paint job. Overall, PDR is a very cost-effective and a long-lasting way to get your vehicle’s body looking great again.

  • Auto Body Painting

A new paint job might be necessary after an accident–and/or from a storm or clawed animal. Or, maybe there aren’t necessarily any scratches, but the paint itself is in need of freshening up. This is a good idea for any older car’s exterior, so you can keep it from receiving further damage due to the elements. Body shops routinely do paint jobs on vehicles with bodies that are marred by scratches, chipped by rocks, rust, paint swirling, or other damage. When painting the body of a car, these are the steps our trained technicians use:

  1. Surface is sanded down to the bare metal and cleaned
  2. Corrosion-resistant primer is applied and allowed to cure
  3. Cured primer is sanded down and the surface is carefully cleaned
  4. Several layers of paint are applied with a sprayer and allowed to dry for up to 7 days
  5. Clearcoat is then applied which gives the finish a high-gloss appearance
  6. The exterior is then buffed and polished
  • Window Repairs and Replacements

Auto glass damage comes in many forms, including chips, cracks, and breaks. Sometimes the damage can be repaired, and other times a total windshield or window replacement is necessary. If your vehicle is being repaired by a local body shop due to an accident, they may have a full-time glass repair technician on their payroll. Those that don’t partner with glass repair shops in the area can send out a technician to perform the necessary window repairs or replacement before the vehicle is picked up.

  • Frame Testing and Straightening

Studies have found that roughly 50% of all vehicles sustain frame damage after an accident,

including minor fender benders. If not from those, imagine a large, furry beast rummaging around inside your car until it gets angry then begins throwing its weight around. Yeah, that will bend a frame. What’s worrisome is a frame that’s unknowingly weakened or bent can place a vehicle’s occupants unnecessarily at risk during a subsequent accident. And, a vehicle with a bent frame will also track unevenly down the road, handle poorly, and probably cause your tires and steering components to wear out prematurely. To help ensure that your frame is safe after an accident (or an attack), these are the steps taken:

  • The frame is first visually inspected for signs of damage
  • If any damage is present, the vehicle is then placed on a frame alignment machine
  • The machine then straightens the frame using hydraulic force and torque until it’s back to its original factory specifications
  • Once the frame is straightened, your vehicle will track normally and be safer to drive

Clearly, there many ways your car’s exterior can be damaged, but hopefully it is just as clear of how well Granite City Collision can help get your car back to looking good (and driving well). Give us a call, or visit us online today to set an appointment.