Most of the time we refer to a ding in terms of a door ding. You’re in a parking lot and the person next to you parks a little too close. They open their door open, and it dings into yours leaving an unsightly, although mostly cosmetic, ding on your door. A ding is damage that is generally a half inch in diameter or less. It doesn’t chip the paint or leave bare metal exposed to rust. They usually occur in the parking lot or in your garage.
A dent, on the other hand, is a little bit bigger. Often dents require more extensive metal work, and sometimes require entire panels to be replaced. The biggest difference is the size and if the paint was damaged. The one caveat, however, is when it comes to hail damage. When hail storms rip through and your car isn’t under shelter, you can get a lot of what we end up calling dents. These dents are fixed with paintless dent repair (PDR).