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.
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.
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.