The Money Mustache Community

Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: coffee_sipper on April 02, 2014, 05:28:08 PM

Title: Cosmetic Car Repair?
Post by: coffee_sipper on April 02, 2014, 05:28:08 PM
I have checked out this post regarding repairing a vehicle, and when the right time to do so is, but it pertains more to mechanical than anything from what I can tell, along with 10 year old vehicles. (

However, I am curious as to what you all think about repairing a car in regards to its looks, or cosmetics.


We have a 2009 vehicle that has been fully paid off for a while now that we don't plan to get rid of it for another 4 years or so (personal decision based on family growth that is to occur around that time frame). The car definitely has some cosmetic damage that was repaired DIY, and the repairs look decently horrid. Due to such, the value of the car is probably hurt by around $1000-$1500 at this point in time. However, to repair all of the cosmetic damage, we would be talking around the same price, more so towards $1500. So in the end, it would be a wash if we sold it right now, but would likely lose money over the long run if we repaired it now and sold it when we plan to.

So, I'm assuming that the right answer is to just deal with the cosmetic damage and not worry about it? Or would some of you go ahead with the repairs on the body of the vehicle?

I'm curious to hear your thoughts.
Title: Re: Cosmetic Car Repair?
Post by: CarDude on April 02, 2014, 05:38:11 PM
I never recommend fixing cosmetic issues unless they cost less than 1% of your estimated sale price. So for a car I'd expect $10,000 for, I wouldn't spend more than $100 on cosmetic repairs.
Title: Re: Cosmetic Car Repair?
Post by: Milspecstache on April 02, 2014, 05:42:36 PM
+1.  I have, however, spent money to buy paint to paint an old car just to avoid further rust damage.  Just think of the cosmetic damage as theft deterrence!
Title: Re: Cosmetic Car Repair?
Post by: FunkyStickman on April 02, 2014, 08:29:17 PM
I've done some minor cosmetics on my '06, but nothing major. I repaired the sunroof, that cost me $200 (did it myself) but I went with it broken for like 2 years. It currently has a big dent in the bumper and a ding in the hood, and the door window trim is peeling off. But I plan on driving it till the car falls apart, and then yanking the motor and building a hot rod with it. So no, I don't care.
Title: Re: Cosmetic Car Repair?
Post by: Primm on April 02, 2014, 09:11:57 PM
I bought a car many years ago for half the initial price because every panel was pitted in a hail-storm. Drove it round like that until it fell apart. If you don't care about resale it doesn't matter. Plus I found people didn't park so close to me at shopping centres because they were afraid I would ding their cars...
Title: Re: Cosmetic Car Repair?
Post by: Thegoblinchief on April 03, 2014, 06:43:04 AM
Don't fix it. If and when you sell it, then run the numbers.

What's to stop it from getting damaged in the exact same spot after you fix it? The only exception would be a sales job where you need the car looking professional. Then you should fix it, because it impacts clients perspective of you.
Title: Re: Cosmetic Car Repair?
Post by: coffee_sipper on April 03, 2014, 08:15:15 AM
Thank you all for the personal insight regarding the issue. I will go ahead and leave the vehicle as it is, and just attempt to get the most out of it when the time comes. I appreciate all of the input!
Title: Re: Cosmetic Car Repair?
Post by: TrMama on April 03, 2014, 12:09:14 PM
The best reason not to fix it is that the next bit of cosmetic damage that happens won't stress you out. My '06 has several bumps and bruises and when I gently backed into a rock last summer I didn't even sweat it. Just got out, looked at the scratch, shrugged and drove away.

I consider the car is now perfectly broken in :-)
Title: Re: Cosmetic Car Repair?
Post by: coffee_sipper on May 28, 2014, 03:43:30 PM
Time for a little bump! Rather keep the information here than make a new thread.

Anyhow, here is the current situation:

Car is under two recall notices due to the large GM situation that is plaguing the company. Due to this safety issue (which is being fixed by a local dealership, but parts are coming in 4-6 weeks), the cosmetic repair, seat belts acting odd in the back (sometimes they lock in place, sometimes they work properly), windows not rolling down at times, and the road noise produced by the car, the wife is wanting to look for something else. I am contemplating just attempting to fix all of the issues, which would likely run about $2,500, but the road noise would likely be present after sound deadening is added, and the window issue could also pop up again in the future (bad parts being used?).

For the last two years or so, the wife has fully supported saving quite a bit of our income, and if you take out the expense of her college education coming out of pocket, we are at a 75% savings rate (Around 50-55% if you include schooling costs).

Part of me understands the desire for a different vehicle, especially since she has been so supportive of de-cluttering, living frugally, and saving the majority of our income. But part of me doesn't want to spend the additional money on a different vehicle. I understand however, without attempting to make a justification or excuse, that mustachianism is about using your money to provide happiness in certain objects, ones that are valuable to you and your spouse.

What does the community think? Would it be wise to get something safer, better on gas, quieter, and without all of the cosmetic and functional issues and make the wife happy (probably, lol)? Or, should I attempt getting the vehicle repaired and possibly have her still disappointed in driving our vehicle?
Title: Re: Cosmetic Car Repair?
Post by: Cassie on May 28, 2014, 03:55:19 PM
Sounds like it might be time for a different car.  Happy wife-happy life!