Vehicles are expensive. Not just at the moment you sign some paper to buy one, but throughout the course of ownership. Gas, insurance, depreciation, oil, and regular maintenance form a bit of a fiscal sinkhole on their own. So, when you dent your bumper, or scratch the paint, bodywork can be the straw that breaks the camel’s bank account… or something. The point is, people don’t want to spend money on inessential services for their vehicles. So, when should you repair cosmetic damage and when can you afford to leave it be?
Almost all mechanical damage should be repaired immediately. If you damage your suspension, engine, belts, hoses, tires, et c…, you should get them fixed immediately. Driving with damaged components puts you in unnecessary danger. Also consider that your vehicle is an intricately connected system. Each part relies on those that come before and after it in the chain operation. If one part is damaged, it can increase the strain on other parts leading to increased repair costs. But that doesn’t just go for engine and transmission repairs.
Plenty of ostensibly cosmetic problems have dangerous “knock-on” effects. A damaged windshield, for example, may obscure your vision and shatter more easily in a crash or when struck by an object. And your vehicle’s body panels are not just finely crafted to look good; they’re also built to protect you. So, if you have a crumpled a door panel from a parking barrier, get it repaired. Fortunately, Universal Collision Centre performs quick and affordable glass repair as well as expert body repair.
But what about seemingly inessential repairs? If the damage was the result of an accident for which you were not at fault, or hail damage, and your insurance covers the repair, of course you should go through with it. But should you repair the bumper that you dinged on a curb, a mysterious scratch, or cosmetic damage that occurred during a previous owner’s driving?
In each of those cases, the main concern should be rust. The exterior of your car is made up of primer, paint, and clearcoat. And, generally, there are multiple layers of each of those compounds. Obviously, the layers help make your car look great (unless you’re driving one of those burnt-orange Pontiac Sunfires), but they also protect the metal beneath. If you don’t repair deep scratches, water, dirt, road salt, and debris will reach the metal and form rust. However, nearly all bumpers are made of plastic, so if the scratch is on a bumper, there’s no risk of rust. The decision to repair low-risk damage like that will depend mostly upon you.
The Psychology of Cosmetic Damage
In the wise words of Sheryl Crow, “The first cut is the deepest.” And that holds true when driving a new vehicle. Owners are far more likely to repair the first scratch or ding on their pristine ride. But once they get used to seeing a blemish, they’re more likely to tolerate others and the imperfections will start to snowball. Before long, they’ve accumulated a ton of scratches and dings and reduced the overall value of the vehicle.
If your vehicle suffers noticeable damage, it might be worth the peace of mind to get it fixed quickly. UCC can repair a scratch quickly and affordably. But, at a certain point, you may have to accept that vehicles are machines that perform a hard task and minor cosmetic wear is just a natural part of the job.
When trying to trade-in or sell your vehicle, you have some different factors to consider. If you’re trading in your vehicle to a dealership, you probably shouldn’t get it repaired first. Most dealerships either have their own autobody technicians, or an agreement in place with a separate body shop. This allows them to repair damage at cost. Consequently, you would lose money by paying to have it repaired before trading in.
But, if you’re selling privately, obvious cosmetic damage will reduce the resale value of your vehicle. Studies have shown even cleanliness affects values, so you can bet a huge scratch will. But whether it will cost you more than the price of fixing it is another matter entirely. You should probably get an estimate done to assess the cost of repair. Universal Collision Centre can give you a quick and free estimate for any damage. We even have a mobile estimate van that will come to your home or office.