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Car Repair… or Not?

September 29, 2011

It is all a bit of a mystery, but a small dent appeared on our car recently.

The location of the dent was suspicious – on the metal between the top of the door and the roof – either caused by an unlucky (for us) falling object or some random vandal.  We’ll never know.

Since it is a newer car and we have full coverage, we called our insurance company.  They were happy to set us up with an auto body shop and to provide us with a rental while it was getting fixed.

However, our deductible is $500.  The dent was noticeable, but small and purely cosmetic.   The idea of spending $500 to repair it made us both a little uneasy.  T’s dad has an auto body shop (unfortunately in the Midwest), and he basically said that it was absolutely not worth it to fix it.

Our car is almost brand new. We got it at the end of January, and neither of us has had a new car before.  Why did this never happen to our old car?!  So the idea of just leaving it also made us uneasy.

What would you do?

T’s dad told us about “paintless repair” where they essentially just push the dent out and don’t fuss with paint.  Due to the awkward spot, they actually had to pull it out.  The stuck something with glue on it, and pulled it out, over and over, until it was basically smooth.  It is no longer noticeable, but it isn’t perfect.  The total cost was $250 – still not cheap, but cheaper than $500.  I mostly deferred to T’s decision on this, but I have to admit that I’m much happier without the dent.  I’m just not sure if it was worth $250.

This is something I never would have bothered with on an old car – a hidden cost of having a nicer car.

(Red recently made a different decisions on a similar choice!)

10 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2011 6:33 am

    We just got a dent in our car this week – someone opened a door right into the rear passenger panel above the wheel. Hard. It looks like a kid might have kicked open the door or something.

    We’re ignoring it. Our car is a few years old and has some other cosmetic dings (this is by far the worst, though). We don’t have full coverage on the car, and we feel like it’s only going to get more dinged up over time, not less – so we had five minutes of being irritated and now we’re leaving it.

    I think if our car was newer, we might have had a different discussion!

  2. September 29, 2011 7:00 am

    Our cars are four and five years old. I’m to the point where a minor dent wouldn’t be worth the trouble. We have a few scratches here and there, and they trouble me, but not enough to really bother with. When I was reading the first half of your article, I was thinking that popping out the dent was probably the best way to go, and it sounds like that’s what you did. If you have any family or friends that are car buffs, they could have probably done this for you.

  3. September 29, 2011 11:29 am

    i feel for you…i also got a new car this past January and i live in fear of that first small dent/ding/scratch of unknown origin. i know i wouldn’t pay money to have it fixed, but i also know that it would irritate the heck out of me…until an even bigger dent happens that overshadows the first!

  4. September 29, 2011 1:19 pm

    It’s hard to let it go when it’s a brand new car, but the truth is dents and scratches are really inevitable! At some point, you just stop noticing.

    • September 29, 2011 1:42 pm


      I really don’t think I had any noticeable dents on my last car, and it was over 10 years old. My dad put some (mostly unnoticeable) scratches under the front bumper (which we clearly didn’t fix). I don’t know, maybe i was just lucky in the past, so I guess I don’t think they are inevitable – but we’ll see as time goes on!

      • September 30, 2011 9:45 am

        I guess scratches are inevitable but I find that my cars always get mysterious knicks/small dents after some time. Usually after being left in a crowded parking lot.

  5. September 29, 2011 3:49 pm

    Hey, thanks for the link! 🙂 You know how I feel about cosmetic damage on my used 2006 Dodge Stratus. That being said…

    If my car was practically brand new, I would have felt a lot differently about it getting a dent in it, especially the dent that’s sitting on my front bumper right now. That’s something I would have had to think about for quite a while, and I’m almost certain I would have done *something* to repair the damage just because it would have driven me crazy to look at it.

  6. October 5, 2011 6:12 pm

    We had a few minor indentations (not even big enough to be called dents) on odd places on our last car, and when we went to sell it we paid to get them removed as you did. We may not have bothered for another car but this was a sports car that was only 2 years old and we were pitching it to get the best price (we also got a really high quality detailing done by somewhere that does classic cars for car shows).

    So – I’m with you that it was worth getting it done, but I probably would have left it until selling or at least there were a few of them to be dealt with, since the price probably wasn’t set per dent.

    (Our current car is an 18 month old VW wagon which has already had a hard kid-inflicted life. It has scratches on its bumper but we’ll probably wait a little while before we get them sorted out since there’ll only be more to come.)

  7. November 7, 2011 4:50 am

    Honestly? I would do the paintless dent repair for $250; that’s not bad at all. I have a dent on my Mercedes that will cost thousands to repair (just front hitting a pillar in a parking garage) so I just left it there.

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