Home » How Much Does Cosmetic Damage To Your Car Bother You? Autopian Asks

How Much Does Cosmetic Damage To Your Car Bother You? Autopian Asks

Aa Cosmetic Damage Ts2

You may try your hardest to avoid it, but if you drive your car daily, it will get some form of cosmetic damage eventually. Maybe it’s a ding or a dent, maybe it’s fading paint or heck, maybe you crash your ride into something. How much do you care about cosmetic damage? Does it have you lying awake at night?

My wife’s Scion iQ has become like a pet to her. Sheryl’s given her iQ a name, Ike, and thanks the little car after every successful trip. We think of the little car as an underdog taking on the world. Unfortunately, growing such an attachment to a small car means feeling hurt when the little car takes on damage.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

I don’t have pictures of it yet, but Sheryl says she got trapped in a horrible scenario. A semi-trailer ahead of her shredded a tire and she couldn’t react in time to dodge the tire “gator.” The tire shred removed a chunk from the vehicle’s lower left front bumper cover before whipping around and slamming into both right wheels. The vehicle’s right wheels lost their trim rings, which isn’t bad, but the tire also somehow managed to bend one of the steel wheels a little. We were already considering replacing the steelies with alloys, so now we have one more reason to. Thankfully, the overall body escaped damage and the only broken parts under the vehicle appear to be one or two exhaust hanger welds on the pipe. Here’s the sharp little car beforehand, if you’ve never read my pieces on it:

All things considered, it’s all very minor, very repairable damage. Still, Sheryl feels so sad because her Ike got hurt. She also hates looking at that chunk missing from the bumper because it’s a reminder that she couldn’t dodge the tire. Despite that, Sheryl tends to care less about body damage than I do.


I buy crap cars, but trust me, I do care about cosmetics!


I consider myself to be pretty loose when it comes to cosmetics. I don’t care too much about scratches, dents, dings, or other damage so long as it’s not severe. My Volkswagen Phaeton has a little dent near the right rear wheel well (above). I can live with that or have it fixed.

What I can’t deal with is when body parts are entirely wrong colors, when there are giant rust holes, colossal dents, or just general carnage. Yes, those of you who have read my work long enough will point out that I bought the multi-colored Volkswagen Passat W8. Yeah, I thought making it all one color again was going to be easy. It was not.



I won’t even buy a vehicle for the Gambler 500 if it’s been beaten too far for my liking, which some might call insane. I’ll make exceptions for rust for Gambler vehicles, but I’m not going to park a car at my apartment that has three different colors of doors or whatever.

Yet, Sheryl will happily drive around a car that has body damage so long as she didn’t cause it. Her HHR had a messed-up maw and her Oldsmobile LSS shed paint in giant sheets. Yet, she loved those vehicles.

So, what about you? How much do you care about that dent on your car’s door? Did you get good sleep last night?

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Pappa P
Pappa P
16 days ago

2013 I had my nice 1 year old WRX, bought new.
All turbo Subaru front bumpers meet the same fate, smashed into a tree an a snowy day.
Unlike all other turbo Subaru owners, I am no rally star, and I also realize that public roads are not a rally stage, even when blanketed with fresh snow.
I had the potential to own the only Subaru WRX to ever retain its original front bumper for the life of the vehicle.
Well, the highway 401 had something to say about that. I merged onto the highway behind a comercial scrap metal hauler, the type whose owner swears the truck is not ever driven on the highway. It spat out a half pound chunk of rusty jagged steel right into my front bumper, cutting deeply through the paint and into the plastic and coming to rest in my front air dam.
I hate scrap metal trucks to this day.

18 days ago

I’ve not only learned to accept scrapes, small dings, rock chips, etc., as not just tolerable, but badges of honor. I used to hate blemishes till I saw a Le Mans racer up close. The front-end was chewed up, dead bugs, all imperfect. I then realized it was beautiful because it was fulfilling its purpose. Just like humans, if we don’t get some scrapes and scars, did we even really live?

20 days ago

I’m fairly OCD about dings on the car. There’s some road rash on the hood and my lucky dent that happened two weeks after I bought the car ten years ago, But I’ve spent a small fortune on cosmetic repairs over the decade. I love it way too much to leave it looking sad.


That Guy with the Sunbird
That Guy with the Sunbird
20 days ago

When I first got my car, it was brand new with 6 miles. Every shred of imperfection made my heart sink. Every door ding, every rock chip, every scuff, etc. They all caused me angst.

It doesn’t help that I have diagnosed obsessive compulsive disorder (not the OCD that people claim to have when they don’t really). Finally, after eight (almost nine) years and two kids, minor dents and dings and scratches are thoroughly “meh” to me since the car is a daily driver and a kid hauler. It still looks good and shiny overall since I take good care of it, keep it in a garage, and have it detailed regularly. Bigger things, like a hit-and-run accident that damaged it to the tune of $1,200 last summer, are taken care of, however.

And no, I will never buy a brand new car again. It is too stressful. I need at least a CPO one with a couple of dings already under its belt.

Pappa P
Pappa P
16 days ago

I know exactly how you feel. My 9 year old van has at least 10 dings and scratches on each side. At 6 months old, someone solideswiped it while parked and the insurance company refused to restore it to like new condition. After fighting a while I just had to live with it. Then a few years ago my drunk neighbor backed into the same door. He took it to the GM dealer he manages and they did another shit repair.
I’m relieved that it’s old enough now that I don’t care about the damage as much.
Meanwhile, my old beater Rav4 is absolutely ding proof. I can park it anywhere and no one will damage it. I watched a woman slam her door into the side of it, and there was not even a scuff.

20 days ago

After about 2 months of ownership and 3,000 miles on my new ZR2, I took it for some proper off-roading. Proceeded to lean it against a small-ish tree on the passenger side.. sounded like I was crunching a pop can getting out of it. Figured I’d have some good dents there, but other than some light scrapes there’s only a slight pushed in section in front of the rear fender flare. Since then I’ve added a few more dents and dings from general use and a few more off-road trips.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x