Author Topic: Repairing cosmetic car dings?  (Read 8825 times)

dios.del.sol

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Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« on: September 02, 2015, 09:18:39 AM »
My wife and I are at an impasse and I'm curious to hear other ideas.

We have a couple of cosmetic dings on our car (2013 model). Both of them broke through paint, but we live in Southern California, so the potential for rust is low. Both dings were our fault (parking incidents), so we're paying out of pocket. After some shopping around, we're looking at $750 to repair them. I trust the shop to do good work and we can afford it. [Edit: some details about the damage. I call them cosmetic dings, but they're much more than, say, a door ding. One is a scratch along the right rear door and fender from when my wife drove a bit too close to a barrier in a parking lot. The other is a pole-sized indentation on the right left fender from when I stupidly pushed the car into the pole at 0 MPH when squeezing into a spot - and looking right at the pole and being sure I missed it. The car has other more trivial bumps and scratches. I don't care about those. I live in a city where stuff like that happens.]

I want to spend the money. Primarily, it bugs me to have the car in a state of disrepair. I feel that repairing it will send a message (to ourselves) that we'll take good care of the car for many years. I have a bad habit of deferring maintenance and I want to break out of that loop.

My wife doesn't want to spend the money. She thinks that there are many better things that we can do with the money instead of fixing something that will result in no functional benefit. I understand her position. She's surprised that I don't agree with her because that's often my attitude.

I'm curious to hear other thoughts or considerations regarding our conundrum.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 06:32:30 AM by dios.del.sol »

KittyFooFoo

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2015, 09:24:19 AM »
I learned to drive at a late age (24) in a nearly-new 2010 Dodge Avenger that I bought before I even had my license (lol idiot).  I was never in an accident, but I did manage to scrape the car against a wall in a parking garage, the back bumper against a wall while parallel parking, and the wheel well turning out of a gas station.

I was tempted to repair the scratches at first, but resisted and never did.  No regrets.  I drove ol' scratchy for 70,000 miles before selling it to move to the city.

CmFtns

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2015, 09:48:28 AM »
First, I want to talk about the actual repair. Ding's and paint damage either need a new panel or work from a very skilled dent removal and paint touch up specialist. That quote seems to cheap to replace a car panel so I assume they are trying to fix the current panels. I just want to stress the importance of making sure they are up to the task of doing this correctly.

Dent removal involves taking a metal rod and softly pushing up from under the dent in dozens of different spots to slowly bring the dent back up to a smooth surface. If done hastily this can lead to a "fixed" dent that is popped back out but is non smooth and has a bunch of tiny bumps all over the surface that feel like brail. Just make sure they can give you before and after pics or examples of previous work if they are attempting this.

Secondly, I think it is difficult for you to justify this repair. I believe this because this has happened to you multiple times and I am not confident that you will avoid more dings in the future. I think as a challenge to yourself you should see if you can avoid further cosmetic damage for a year or two then maybe justify the repair once you have gotten into good car care habits. I have always cared for my cars and been aware of parking and possible ding scenarios and have not had damage in a very long time. Don't be lazy, park at the very edge of the parking lot away from everyone and you will not get dings.

I forget how abnormal parking away from other cars is till my friends ride with me and they exclaim "what the hell are you doing?.... there's spots way up there?!?!!". I'm shocked at how lazy some people are, I usually reply with something like "Oh yea, this walk gonna wear you out too much?"
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 09:51:22 AM by comfyfutons »

Gimesalot

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2015, 10:01:15 AM »
I say split the difference, buy touch-up paint at the auto parts store or the internet.  Look up your make, model, year, and color and you should be able to fiind paint that matches.  Fix the scratches to prevent rust and make the car look a little nicer than it looks now. 

hotdiggitydog

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2015, 10:40:25 AM »
My wife and I are at an impasse and I'm curious to hear other ideas.

We have a couple of cosmetic dings on our car (2013 model). Both of them broke through paint, but we live in Southern California, so the potential for rust is low. Both dings were our fault (parking incidents), so we're paying out of pocket. After some shopping around, we're looking at $750 to repair them. I trust the shop to do good work and we can afford it.

I want to spend the money. Primarily, it bugs me to have the car in a state of disrepair. I feel that repairing it will send a message (to ourselves) that we'll take good care of the car for many years. I have a bad habit of deferring maintenance and I want to break out of that loop.

My wife doesn't want to spend the money. She thinks that there are many better things that we can do with the money instead of fixing something that will result in no functional benefit. I understand her position. She's surprised that I don't agree with her because that's often my attitude.

I'm curious to hear other thoughts or considerations regarding our conundrum.

I've been heavily considering this too as I have two tiny dings in my car, both of which were incurred while my car was parked outside a shopping mall. I would say 80% of the time I park far away to avoid other cars, but sometimes I don't/can't/won't...I got the dings during that 20% of the time.

From an emotional perspective, I would want to repair it.

But from a financial perspective, unless I think repairing the dings will help maintain/increase the sale value of the car (and I plan on selling it), then why bother...some asshole with a giant suburban is going to nick your car anyway...at which point you would have to consider shelling out the money to fix the car again. If you never fix it, you never have to worry about future blemishes.

But yes, it's an eyesore and it hurts to look at it.

Dee18

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2015, 11:09:11 AM »
I would definitely do it because the car is so new...and it doesn't sound like you have teens who are learning to drive...and it bugs you. 

Eurotexan

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2015, 12:48:46 PM »
I just went through exactly the same dilemma. One ding was a third party (and they left a note with their insurance info, amazing!), the other one was from me and below my auto deductible. The car is in the shop right now and I am out of pocket $800 although the rental car is covered by the insurance from the third party. I drive a nice car, I plan to drive it until it won't go any further and the dings were driving me crazy, I felt like I was driving a beaten up car although I was probably the only person who noticed it!

If you plan on keeping the car, I would get them fixed. And absolutely park away from other cars, if possible. I am definitely going to start doing that!

Exflyboy

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2015, 01:06:10 PM »
I guess I'm not normal because I would repair and paint it myself and you wouldn't be able to tell anything had happened.

Its a fun skill to learn..:)


Gone Fishing

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2015, 01:09:53 PM »
WTF?!  Does it still drive? Spending more than $5-$10 on some touch up paint or buffing compound on a depreciating asset that you should probably hold until just prior to scrapping is ridiculous!  Even more ridiculous if you have kids or dogs anywhere near the vehicle. 

When and if you decide to sell the vehicle, you can decide if it is worth it to get any damage fixed, in the mean time, drive on! 

Who knows, the car may be totaled before it is over.  I bought a van with a dented bumper, only a few months later it was (lightly) hit by a school bus. Bingo! New bumper, at their expense!

I've aged to the point where most of the new cars my friends and I lusted over in our late teens have been reduced to hunks of junk.  Seeing one going down the road with 200k miles of wear and tear is a constant reminder that if you drive a car, it is going to wear out, and most attempts to stave off age are about as useful as that overpriced skin cream from the mall.  Take care of your maintenance (mostly oil changes these days), replace your tires and brakes as needed, and do your best to squeeze every mile possible out of a car at the lowest price possible.  When the costs outweigh the benefits, buy another used car with a good reliability record and repeat.     
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 01:17:42 PM by So Close »

Anomalous

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2015, 02:58:49 PM »
I say split the difference, buy touch-up paint at the auto parts store or the internet.  Look up your make, model, year, and color and you should be able to fiind paint that matches.  Fix the scratches to prevent rust and make the car look a little nicer than it looks now.
This is exactly what I would recommend also. Doesn't cost much, keeps rust from forming, and looks better from a distance.

Fishindude

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2015, 03:03:55 PM »
I get that stuff professionally fixed and do my best to keep newer cars in new condition.
It just rubs me wrong to see a ding in one of my vehicles.

dios.del.sol

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2015, 07:08:52 AM »
@comfyfutons: Like I said, I trust the shop. I have previous experience with them on a restoration job. The shop has some amazingly skilled people. It's the advantage of living in a tougher part of town - good work for good rates. You just have to know where to go. Regarding your second point, you have a wise suggestion, despite assuming a bit too much about the situation. I'll keep your point in mind. Given that these are the sole at-fault incidents for two of us in decades of driving, I'm OK calling them aberrations and not habits. Interestingly, I usually park far away from others, not because of car damage, but because I hate dealing with people and I like walking.

@So Close: I'm cool driving a hunk of junk. I drive a 1989 model with 300k miles and it's still going strong. The one under discussion is my wife's car, which, being new, I do feel like abusing slightly less.

@Exflyboy: I try a lot of car DIY. Auto body is the last on my list. I respect the amount of skilled work that goes into that and I don't have close to the time to learn.

General responses:

I edited the post to clarify this, but I think we're beyond touch up paint. Although, I suppose I'll do that if I don't do the repair just to protect the body from the elements.

Thanks for the rest of the input. Obviously this repair has no positive investment value. The more relevant question is whether parting with the money will bring something of equal value. I realized with the split responses that this is a completely personal question. Regarding the disagreement in the household, I think this one is gonna come down to compromise and communication. Darn.

RWD

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2015, 10:13:58 AM »
I came across this comment on Bring A Trailer on worrying about pristine cosmetics. It seemed relevant so I wanted to share here.

Quote
The “fear of driving/parking” is real but surmountable.
Around 25 years ago I’d finished the bodywork on the 62 E-Type OTS and reinstalled all the chrome, glass and interior. My better half asked to take it out for its first drive with one of her friends for lunch and of course, I acquiesced (all our cars are apparently considered “hers”…….).
So I wasn’t overly pleased when she returned and I found a large “ding” in the centre of the passenger’s door….. I was told that the car was parked far away from every other one, yada, yada, yada but that didn’t change the fact there was a door ding.
This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, an epiphany for me. I filled the hole, rubbed it down to smooth the area but left it at that (to the VERY significant annoyance of my wife!). I discovered that my “shall I dare use it?” issues had vanished and I drove it anywhere, anytime like a “normal” car and so managed to get much more use than I would otherwise. Need to go to work, to the shops or just for “a drive”? No problem! Get in and use it!
And yes, that door ding still shows as a primerred spot in the middle of the door today.
At the end of the day, these things are either investments or cars. If they are the former, clothe them in bubble-wrap and put them in an air conditioned cocoon. If not, then drive it and enjoy it, isn’t that the reason we purchases them and at a “show”, let the kids sit in them to create the next generation of car enthusiasts! Your Delahaye or Duesenberg may have been made to be petted and pampered but your Ford, Datsun or Jaguar most definitely were not.

CmFtns

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2015, 10:34:32 AM »
@comfyfutons: Like I said, I trust the shop. I have previous experience with them on a restoration job. The shop has some amazingly skilled people. It's the advantage of living in a tougher part of town - good work for good rates. You just have to know where to go. Regarding your second point, you have a wise suggestion, despite assuming a bit too much about the situation. I'll keep your point in mind. Given that these are the sole at-fault incidents for two of us in decades of driving, I'm OK calling them aberrations and not habits. Interestingly, I usually park far away from others, not because of car damage, but because I hate dealing with people and I like walking.

@So Close: I'm cool driving a hunk of junk. I drive a 1989 model with 300k miles and it's still going strong. The one under discussion is my wife's car, which, being new, I do feel like abusing slightly less.

@Exflyboy: I try a lot of car DIY. Auto body is the last on my list. I respect the amount of skilled work that goes into that and I don't have close to the time to learn.

General responses:

I edited the post to clarify this, but I think we're beyond touch up paint. Although, I suppose I'll do that if I don't do the repair just to protect the body from the elements.

Thanks for the rest of the input. Obviously this repair has no positive investment value. The more relevant question is whether parting with the money will bring something of equal value. I realized with the split responses that this is a completely personal question. Regarding the disagreement in the household, I think this one is gonna come down to compromise and communication. Darn.

You should post some pictures. Sorry for assuming things feel free to correct my assumptions. What kind of car is it? how long do you plan on keeping it? how noticeable is it?

Your also not the one driving it so maybe your wife should have more say in the decision... You could always put it off for a whileto decide. The option to repair will always be there and if you get another ding or two along the way then you could probably get them all fixed at the same time for not much more than current quote
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 10:37:16 AM by comfyfutons »

Gone Fishing

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2015, 11:57:25 AM »
Just a little food for thought:

At a post inflation growth rate of 7% (similar to historic S&P returns) that $750 would be worth roughly $8k in 2015 dollars after 35 years.

dios.del.sol

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2015, 01:55:14 PM »
You should post some pictures. Sorry for assuming things feel free to correct my assumptions. What kind of car is it? how long do you plan on keeping it? how noticeable is it?

Your also not the one driving it so maybe your wife should have more say in the decision... You could always put it off for a whileto decide. The option to repair will always be there and if you get another ding or two along the way then you could probably get them all fixed at the same time for not much more than current quote
Yeah, pictures would explain much better... but without a smartphone, I don't have time at the moment for the camera, computer, upload routine. They're noticeable, but do not impair function at all. I don't have any other clarifications other than a long history of ding-free driving, but your point is still well taken. The car is a 2013 Hyundai Elantra and we plan to keep it indefinitely. And I agree, the default option is not to repair it; we can always do it later. Which given the inertia of getting stuff like this done, is most likely what's gonna happen. As you say, her car, her decision...

pk_aeryn

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2015, 10:52:06 PM »
Don't repair it.  Feel now the freedom of your car being "ruined" and not having to worry about adding on any further blemishes... You fix these now but someone could sideswipe you tomorrow and you'd get a new door on their insurance's dime anyway.  Or someone will open their door into your car and you'll say, "I don't care because I didn't just pay $750 to fix that door."

When does one ever look at the outside of their car anyway?  When you're driving in it, you can't see the body except for the a glimpse in the mirrors.  And when you're not driving, I consider it a waste of time to sit and stare at a car.

Bearded Man

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2015, 01:30:30 AM »
Interesting perspective, makes sense. I'm in same boat as OP. $500 dollars to replace front bumper and hood on my Civic. Not that noticeable according to most. I babied this car for years though and then bam, I ding it.

Greg

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2015, 10:37:50 AM »
Can you afford it?  Does it fit into your car care budget?  If you fix it, will it not bother you so much?

If so, I'll go out on a limb and suggest you fix it (get it fixed).  I like cars and like to take care of mine. If I didn't have the skills to do it myself I might not be as into it.  I understand the cringe factor of having damaged parts or panels on your car.

I also have an untested theory that the more rough-and-tumble your car becomes, the faster it gets that way as you and others stop caring as much about it.  This manifests itself in how other treat it in parking situations as well as your own care when using the car.  Sort of the broken-window theory of car care. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_windows_theory

Dicey

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2015, 08:06:46 PM »
It is highly mustachian to take care of things, particularly expensive things. Fix it and move on, lesson learned.

undercover

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2015, 05:31:15 PM »
It is highly mustachian to take care of things, particularly expensive things. Fix it and move on, lesson learned.

Nothing wrong with taking care of things, that's for sure, but not fixing something that isn't necessary to be fixed isn't really not taking care of things.

If you think you might sell in the future, it may be worth getting fixed since it's not worth having someone walk over something so small.

If you plan on keeping it till it falls apart - as you probably should, then I agree with others - drive it and forget about it. My car has various scratches and scuffs and even hail damage and it still overall looks good enough that I don't care.

Don't feel bad though. We all feel like failures when our car gets dinged and scratched. BUT, think about it: It's obscenely stupid that we even drive such fragile things around in such tight quarters. It's an amazing feat to drive to the store and back and not get hit as it is.

If you want to feel better about your beat up car then just go to San Francisco for a day and observe all the scratched up/dented vehicles. They don't care because there isn't any point in caring while the car still functions, it's just going to happen again.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 08:25:07 AM by undercover »

GeneralJinjur

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2015, 06:24:03 AM »
I'm surprised at all the pro fix it posts.  I bought my very first car with the plan of keeping it forever (94 Saturn).  Bought it new, with every option that would take me through the next 15 years and paid it off early.  Some yahoo crashed into us and totaled the car after 5 years. As I looked at my cute car in the junkyard, I was glad for every cosmetic repair I had ignored over its brief life.  I maintain my cars mechanically and got some guff over the years about refusing to fix the other stuff.  Maybe because, as a female, I'm supposed to care about pretty?

I replaced it with a $5k version the original owner had babied. That car survived until it died of old age.  I don't see the point in investing my ego in something that another person can destroy in a heartbeat.  I can park safely, drive defensively, etc., but other people's bad habits or inattention have far too much influence over the external state of my car.  I do not feel like a failure if my car is dinged.

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JRA64

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2015, 09:25:29 AM »
Here's another vote for touch-up paint / DIY repair and let it go. Funtional or safety issues? Repair them immediately. Cosmetic only? Let it go. Especially since it is your wife's car, and she's OK with not fixing it.

As much as possible, I choose parking places I don't need to back out of. Pull-throughs are first choice, backing into a wide open spot is second choice. I park further away and walk. There's a ding on the back of my car which prompted this change of behavior - another car and I backed into each other in a parking lot. I replaced the tail light myself, but the dent is still there. It reminds me to put safety first any time I am driving.

Goldielocks

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2015, 09:46:09 AM »
2013 vehicle -- Fix it.   A vehicle this new is about image, and resale value is vastly impaired with a large ding / dent.
That is what you get for buying new(ish).   A pretty car that you need to maintain.


8 year old vehicle - never fix it, just put some primer on the spot ASAP.   If the panel rusts out in another 5 years, you can choose to replace the panel and keep driving.

FLA

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2015, 09:55:56 AM »
Having had to drive around for work all day for 15 yrs, parallel parking I still find difficult, being in bad neighborhoods and having my car keyed, I just sucked it up after a while and admitted to myself it was stupid to keep replacing the front bumper just because it had a dent or a fender had a scratch.

then I had a detached retina that left me with mostly just seeing outlines of colors. It is totally legal to drive with one eye. But it took getting used to. So driving was hard for a good year. The ding/dent incidences went up.  I was still driving for work and planned to drive my inexpensive car until it died.  I have a great body work guy and even he said, unless stuff was broken, let's leave the dents and just use touch up paint, i could pay him to do it but he knew I did not want to put more money into this car and planned to keep it til it died. 

He goes, "I have some leftover touch up paint for your car, just bring it back when you are done," I was expecting one of those tiny samples you get at the dealer.  He had a quart that he kept for me, lol.  A friend did the touch ups and frankly they did not look good but I didn't care.  Recently, kids were keying in the neighborhood. They got me good, it's large and down to the metal.  I suppose I have to touch that up so I don't get rust. 

But as long as no major damage is done, it's purely cosmetic, I stopped chastising myself and accepted it as part of doing business. Granted, I am not a car person, so others would probably hate this.

dios.del.sol

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2015, 10:50:33 AM »
Thanks everyone for the feedback. What I find very interesting is that this post doesn't seem to be converging on any conclusion. Some people would fix. Others wouldn't. There are interesting and valid perspectives both ways. But except for a few important considerations - resale value if reselling (not planning to resell), whether we can afford it (yes), and whether it is in budget (yes - lower than usual maintenance on the old car and lower than usual gas prices) - it really does seem to be mostly a matter of opinion depending on one's view of cars, maintenance (including the "broken windows" consideration (thanks for that)), risk tolerance and loss aversion.

simplified

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2015, 12:07:56 PM »
I usually wait until there are a few dings and get them fixed all at once. I also benefited twice when someone rear ended me and ended up paying for my front bumper and rear bumper that have accumulated a few dings over time. So I say wait for the right time to get them fixed. Until then you can try some DIY suggestions in this thread.

Guesl982374

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2015, 12:48:29 PM »
WTF?!  Does it still drive? Spending more than $5-$10 on some touch up paint or buffing compound on a depreciating asset that you should probably hold until just prior to scrapping is ridiculous!  Even more ridiculous if you have kids or dogs anywhere near the vehicle. 

When and if you decide to sell the vehicle, you can decide if it is worth it to get any damage fixed, in the mean time, drive on! 

Who knows, the car may be totaled before it is over.  I bought a van with a dented bumper, only a few months later it was (lightly) hit by a school bus. Bingo! New bumper, at their expense!

I've aged to the point where most of the new cars my friends and I lusted over in our late teens have been reduced to hunks of junk.  Seeing one going down the road with 200k miles of wear and tear is a constant reminder that if you drive a car, it is going to wear out, and most attempts to stave off age are about as useful as that overpriced skin cream from the mall.  Take care of your maintenance (mostly oil changes these days), replace your tires and brakes as needed, and do your best to squeeze every mile possible out of a car at the lowest price possible.  When the costs outweigh the benefits, buy another used car with a good reliability record and repeat.     

This. Especially the part about seeing decaying cars I "lusted after" when I was a teenager 15 years later. Maintain the vehicle from a mechanical and safety point of view, ignore the rest.

Eurotexan

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Re: Repairing cosmetic car dings?
« Reply #28 on: September 10, 2015, 02:06:05 PM »
I agree that there's no correct Mustachian answer for this question. However, I just picked up my repaired car up from the shop and I tell you, it feels great driving a ding-free car!