What to Do If a Rock or Other Road Debris Hits Your Car

3 Minutes Read

Driving a vehicle comes with a lot of responsibility. Maintenance, insurance payments, and repairs are all expenses of vehicle ownership. The most common repairs on vehicles are cracked windshields, paint chips, and body damage from everyday driving. 

In fact, AAA has studied how road debris is a common factor in accidents. Looking at data over a four-year period they found that debris was involved in over 200,000 vehicular accidents. Approximately 500 deaths and 39,000 injuries were attributed to debris road accidents. 

In Flagstaff, extreme temperatures leave their mark on our vehicles. But it’s daily highway and dirt road driving that leaves the most damage on cars, trucks, and SUVs. Small sprays of rocks and gravel will damage windshields, front bumpers, and painted hoods. Larger pieces of debris can hurt the undercarriage of cars, damaging axles and oil pans, and creating dangerous driving conditions. Inspect your car for debris damage regularly.

Assessing the Damage

When you hear a loud snap on your windshield while driving, pull over and check for damage. The same goes for hitting a pothole. Large pieces of gravel from the pothole can damage the finish on your bumper and hood as well as the undercarriage of your car. Pull safely to the shoulder of the road and inspect your vehicle for any dents or broken glass. Cracks in paint can lead to rust issues quickly, while large dents may indicate structural damage. Lastly, check for any leaking fluids or the smell of fuel or oil. 

Road damage from debris can lead to more serious car troubles

  • Shattered windshield
  • Punctured oil pan
  • Structural damage to body 
  • Cracked axle boot
  • Rust damage due to chipped paint finish


DIY Repair Options

For a few small scrapes, you might consider using a do-it-yourself repair kit. Even if you’ve had success with self-repair in the past, it's still better to have a collision repair technician take a look at the damage. 

Windshields are especially tricky to repair correctly. Without glass repair experience, it's hard to determine if there is unseen structural damage. Glass expands and contracts with hot and cold weather and just one heavy gust of wind could leave you with shattered glass. 

Oil changes and flat tires are simple to fix, but you should leave the difficult car repairs to an expert technician. Keep in mind, it's easier to get a quote for a small repair than it is to have a totaled car.

Scheduling Repair Service

After debris damage, don’t wait to make a service appointment. Waiting may result in further serious damage to your vehicle. Be proactive and schedule repairs as soon as you can. 

Here are things to consider before scheduling repairs: 

  • Request a written, itemized quote.
  • Is the shop familiar with the make and model of the vehicle?
  • Are shop technicians certified?
  • What guarantees does the shop offer?
  • How long will repairs take?

Ensure a fair price for your quoted repairs. Seek out quotes from a few shops to get a better idea of the current pricing for auto body repairs.



Will you use insurance to pay for your repairs?

Check your insurance policy for collision coverage. This not only covers damage from vehicles, but also impact from objects. Your repairs may be fully or partially covered through your policy. Contact your insurance carrier for details.


How to request a windshield replacement or damage repairs from the company of a truck involved in the debris damage to your vehicle.

Windshield damage happens all the time. Inevitably, the back tires of some large commercial trucks will kick up rocks onto the front end of your vehicle. Do you know how to request that they pay for the damages?

The first thing you should do is pull over and gather information. Write down the company name, telephone number, make and model of the truck, and license plate number. Next, take note of your location, date, and time of day. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle from multiple angles. 

Your insurance agent will guide you through the collision coverage claims process using this information. Many companies will dissuade you from making claims against them. Collecting this important information gives you more evidence to hold them accountable for the damages. 


How to find a qualified auto body shop to repair body damage from rocks and road debris.

Your insurance agent may provide you with a list of local auto body shops. You should also ask for shop recommendations from friends and family. Remember, you can use any auto repair service that you choose, but it's important to do some research first. There are many questions you can ask these potential repair shops to ensure that they are able to handle the repairs. Your best bet is to find a certified collision repair shop that is familiar with the insurance claim process.


When your car has damage, call Flagstaff Collision today

We are your hometown collision repair experts. Our technicians are fully certified and have experience with a wide range of vehicle makes and models. Contact us today so we can answer any questions regarding debris damage to your car, truck, or SUV. You can schedule an appointment for an estimate, check on your repair status or just drop us a note. We’d love to help you navigate the collision repair process. 

Michael Whittemore