The record hailstorms that have pelted Texas this year have been a big test for fixed operations departments.
Dealerships from north to south have had to deal with thousands of damaged vehicles, hundreds of them declared total losses.
San Antonio faced a special challenge as it rarely gets hail. When the costliest hailstorm in the history of Texas hit Alamo City on April 12, it caught many by surprise.
More than 110,000 vehicles were hammered with ice chunks as big as grapefruits. Estimated insured losses to automobiles were put at $560 million by the Insurance Council of Texas.
Many thousands of those vehicles were sitting on dealer lots as new and used inventory as well as customer cars being serviced. And many thousands more belonged to private owners looking to dealership body shops for a quality fix.
Glass for broken windshields and car windows was back-ordered. Body shops were inundated; loaner cars were scarce.
Service representatives went into triage mode to figure out which vehicles had to be fixed first.
Some were discounted and sold as-is in "hail sales"; others were fixed by "storm chasers" who offered their services in paintless dent removal. But they had to be vetted by dealerships trying to keep their reputations intact for quality and guaranteed repair.
As if that weren't enough, another hailstorm in late April did more damage. It was less severe than the first but further complicated a hectic situation. At Cavender Toyota, about 400 vehicles that were repaired after the first storm were "re-hailed" in the second.
Here's how two dealership managers responded and what they learned.