Car repairs can be a tedious, annoying aspect of owning a vehicle. Whether they come from wear and tear or a serious accident, at some point, your car will see the inside of an auto repair shop. This is inevitable but can still be a real surprise when it actually happens. No one truly plans for an accident -it’s virtually impossible.
You can actually be somewhat prepared for what you will have to pay to have your car fixed. Outlined below is a look at some common repairs and their estimated average costs. This piece will also give you some insight into how much your auto insurance policy will cover auto repair bills and offer some guidance to start hunting for a body repair shop. Repairs are a natural part of your car’s life, and you want to be prepared for them as best as you can.
When to Start Considering Car Repairs
As hinted at above, you do not have to find yourself in the aftermath of a serious accident to start considering auto repairs. Your car may need some work done after a minor incident, such as a rock hitting your windshield. Repairs may even be called for just because your car is getting older. Natural wear and tear happen to any vehicle, and at unexpected times, it may need to spend a little time in the shop. But no matter how common the need for repairs may be, it is always a good idea to get an idea of their cost and whether or not they are worth taking your car in.
Average Car Repair Costs
It is hard to get a general average for how much you will be handing over to the auto body shop. There are a lot of factors that go into costs, such as your car’s make and model, the extent of damage, how old your vehicle is, and the car repair shop itself. In general, you could be paying a bill somewhere from as low as $50 to upwards of $2,000 and beyond. A lot of the cost can also depend on how much your car insurance will cover, assuming it can cover any of it. If you are considered underinsured, you may be paying much of the cost out of your own pocket. For these reasons and many others, it is a great idea to prepare for the unfortunate and get an idea of average prices.
Common Types of Car Repairs
There are a few different types of common car features that may be damaged after an accident or have naturally broken down over time. While those explored are the most commonly seen by auto repair shops, they are by no means the only car features that can be affected. If you believe your car has more damage beyond the features that have been explored, try getting more insight from your mechanic. If you can pinpoint what is wrong, it may be worth exploring average estimated prices. Outlined below are the five most common areas that could call for repair after an accident:
- Car door
- Windshield (including windows)
- Suspension system
This post will look into each of the car features listed above by discussing their average repair costs, along with giving insight into how your car insurance may be able to help.
Car Door Repair
Car door damage can happen pretty quickly. In a parking lot, you may encounter a driver that accidentally hits your car door with their own. Or perhaps you are not aware of how close you have parked to a wall or post and swing open your car door really fast. These scenarios, along with countless others, can cause some pretty harmful damage to your car door, and getting it fixed may get a bit pricey.
How Much Does it Cost to Repair Your Car Door?
The cost to repair a car door depends on the severity of the damage. If it is just a minor dent that requires only the exterior of your car to be fixed, it may cost you somewhere around $350. Some small paintless dents may even cost you as little as $50 to fix. However, if the dent is major and has resulted in damage to your lock system, that may cost you more as the work has intensified. Replacement for an entire car door may have a price tag of around $800 plus the added labor. What kind of car you have also directly affects the price of car door repairs. Some cars have parts that are harder to obtain than others. Car door repairs can potentially even get up to thousands of dollars depending on a variety of issues associated with it.
Will Your Insurance Cover Car Door Repairs?
Depending on the circumstances around the repair, if you have collision coverage, your insurance company may pick up a portion of the repair fees. After you pay your deductible, the insurance company will then pay for the rest. Collision coverage insurance typically will cover accidents along with damage done to your car by objects you have hit. Comprehensive coverage may also come in handy, but make sure you double-check with your policy before filing a claim.
Paint Scratches Repair
Paint scratches can be a common occurrence for cars. Being the literal first layer of defense on your vehicle, it may take a beating as part of the car’s exterior natural wear and tear. A branch brushing your car or anything scraping the side can cause your car’s paint to chip away. Sometimes it may be so small you do not even recognize it, but other times, repairing the car’s paint can be part of other damage it has sustained. For these reasons, it is best to get an idea of what paint scratch repairs could cost you.
How Much Does it Cost to Repair Paint Scratches?
The cost to repair chipped paint on your car varies based on the damage and your car. The type of car you have can determine what kind of paint you need. If you have a cheaper car, a single-stage enamel paint will be good for touching up the exterior. The price for such work ranges from $300 to $1,000 and largely depends on the vehicle. If the scratch is significant and may include the need for more detailed work, that can cost you up to an estimated $3,500. Deep scratches requiring more labor may even cost you closer to $7,000. This is also the case if you are looking to paint a luxury car or want the finest car paint on the market.
Will Your Insurance Cover Paint Scratches?
It is unlikely your insurance will cover your car’s paint repair unless it is the result of vandalism or a falling object. If that is the case, then your comprehensive coverage should be able to cover it. In this situation, after you file a claim, you would pay the deductible then let your car insurance pick up the rest of the bill. If the damage is caused by a collision, you may have to pay for the paintwork yourself.
Imagine you’re driving along and get stopped by a sudden red light. Someone behind you was distracted and didn’t see you’ve stopped. Next thing you know, you’re in a rear-end collision, and your bumper is paying for it. Or maybe you end up in an accident where you are at fault after you accidentally back up into a wall or other object. Either way, your bumper is not looking good, and you now need to know how much this is going to cost you to fix.
How Much Does it Cost to Repair Your Bumper?
Bumper repair costs depend on a couple of things. Naturally, the worse the dent is, the more it is going to cost. Regular repairs can cost anywhere from $100 to $600. If it is a deep dent, you may need an entire bumper replacement which can cost upwards of $2,500.
Some newer cars have proximity sensors in them to alert the driver when they are close to an object. If these are damaged in a rear-end accident, you will end up paying more to have them fixed on top of just the bumper dent. Even if they are not directly damaged, they may still need to be disconnected then reassembled following a bumper repair. This alone can add extra fees to your overall bill.
In a worst-case scenario, the accident may cause your car’s whole frame to be bent. If this happens, you could be facing a bill as high as $10,000. Paint touchups may also be needed depending on the damage, which adds to the repair cost as well.
Will Your Insurance Cover Bumper Repair?
If you have collision coverage included in your car insurance policy, then bumper repairs will typically be covered if it is the result of an accident. After you pay the deductible, your insurance company will cover the rest. Since collision coverage is not required, if you opt-out of adding it to your policy, you will be on the hook for the repair cost.
Windshield And Window Repair
As you are driving, you may encounter some debris or rocks flying at your windows and windshield. This can happen as the natural landscape is disturbed by the turning of wheels on the road. That can cause damage to the glass on your vehicle. Your windshield and windows may end up cracked as a result of rocks or other obstacles on the road. When you are faced with such a circumstance, you are going to want to have an idea of what you could be paying to have everything fixed.
How Much Does it Cost to Repair Your Windshield And Windows?
Small chips in your car’s glass can sometimes cost as little as $10 to have repaired. But if the damage is extensive, you may need a whole new windshield which can cost anywhere, on average, from $100 to $400. If you have a car that requires special parts, you may be facing a bill closer to around $500 or even $1,500. Windshields for luxury cars could cost even more.
As far as window repair costs go, a standard, regular-sized car door window can cost from $100 up to $350. For smaller windows, you may be paying more in the $500 range. While these prices may be alarming, it is always best to get your windows or windshield repaired as fast as you can. Cracks and chips can impair your vision, making driving dangerous, and your chances of getting into an accident increase greatly.
Will Your Insurance Cover Windshield or Window Repair?
Glass repairs will generally fall under your comprehensive coverage if it is not the result of an accident. After paying your deductible, the insurance company will pay to have it repaired. If you fail to carry comprehensive coverage, you will then have to pay it out of pocket. Collision coverage may also cover glass repair if the cracks are the result of an accident. There is a chance you may pay nothing to have your windshield replaced. Some insurers let you replace your windshield once a year for no cost or a very small deductible.
Suspension Damage Repair
We’ve all had those moments where we saw a pothole and thought to ourselves, “It doesn’t look too deep; my car will be fine.” But then, seconds after hitting it, you realize that your car is most certainly not fine. Damage to your car’s suspension system can be annoying but getting it fixed is very important. Some features of your suspension system include shock absorbers, wheel alignment, and ball joints. Repair of all of these vary in prices, and you’re going to want to know how much they cost before driving over that fateful pothole.
How Much Does it Cost to Repair Your Suspension System?
As previously mentioned, your car’s suspension system is made up of many parts, all of which come with their own repair price tags. Outlined below is a look at what you could be paying, on average, to repair parts of your suspension system. It is also worth noting that a full-suspension replacement could cost you up to $5,000.
- Shock absorber replacement - Replacing your shock absorbers may cost you anywhere from $500 to $600. But this varies. Some other sources report that strut or shock absorber replacement could cost more along the lines of $200 to $1,500.
- Wheel alignment - Fixing wheel alignment on your car may cost somewhere from $115 to $300.
- Ball joint replacement - On average, ball joint replacements could cost you somewhere from $225 to $300.
Keep in mind that all of what has been explained above is just a rough estimation. Your personal auto repair bills may vary based on the type of car you have, the year it was made, and the exact amount of damage there is.
Will Your Insurance Cover Suspension System Repairs?
If damage to your suspension is caused by colliding with a pothole or an accident of another kind, your collision coverage will cover it after you pay your deductible. However, if any suspension system issues are found to be the result of just natural wear and tear on your vehicle, insurance will not cover those repairs. Just be mindful of this before making a claim.
Should You File an Insurance Claim When You Need Body Repair?
The short answer is it depends. If filing an insurance claim is a good idea can be determined by what kind of car repair you need. If the damage was done as a result of a collision and you file a claim, your insurance rates will most likely increase. However, car insurance can still help cover a good portion of the damage done to your car. You pay your deductibles for a reason, and the assistance insurance provides can come in very handy. A general rule of thumb for making a claim is if it is serious damage you have trouble paying out of pocket or feel obligated to file with your insurance company, it is best to do so. Some repairs may be minor enough that filing a claim pays them fully. At the very least, you will be expected to pay your deductible, and then insurance will cover the rest. But before jumping in, it is still smart to review your policy and assess the damage in question. While claims may cause your insurance rates to rise, they may save you some trouble both now and down the line.
Fixing it Yourself vs. Going to an Auto Repair Shop
After analyzing the average costs of specific auto repairs, you may be a bit overwhelmed. But there is little need to fret. Some of the damages outlined above may be able to be fixed right in your own garage.
For a bumper repair, if you notice it is a small indent, you may be able to fix it with a hairdryer and a pry bar. After lifting your car via jack stands, you can heat the dent with the hairdryer, and once it is warm enough, you can try to use the pry bar to push it out while under your car. But if you are choosing this route, make sure you know what you are doing. Look into more detailed instructions as opposed to the description above, as that is just a brief idea of what you may be able to do to save some money. The dent may be too big or have caused other internal damage. Always proceed with caution when repairing your car.
If you are dealing with just a scratch on your car, that may be pretty easy to handle yourself. Many retailers sell touch-up paint pens for vehicles. They cost around $10-$20 and work to fill in minor scrapes on the exterior of your car. They are available pretty much anywhere and can be a great alternative to dealing with an auto repair shop. As long as the scratch isn’t overwhelmingly large, you may be able to save yourself a little time and hassle.
Is Your Car Worth Repairing?
Be ready to deal with car repairs is always best but there may come a point where you are paying more to upkeep your car than it is worth. If your car is new or only has a couple of years on it, then repairs are going to be worth it. Your car has a lot of life left in it, assuming all goes well. But if you have an older car, you may want to start doing some math before you shell out all this money for a repair. If you find yourself constantly sending your car to the body shop, it may be more financially smart to look into purchasing a new vehicle. But do not forget that new cars will be more expensive to repair as they can have more technological advancements. Shopping around for a used car may be a good compromise should you find yourself unable to afford a new car but can no longer rely on your older transportation.
Choosing an Auto Body Shop
After filing a claim with your insurance company for the auto repairs your vehicle needs, you may be given a list of approved auto body shops by your insurance company. While they cannot force you to go to one of their recommended body shops, they may still be worth looking into. Insurance companies sometimes have a network of auto repair shops they have partnered with, and they may offer a discount or warranty on your repairs. But do not just choose one of their in-network body shops for these perks. It is in your best interest to research the company further and make sure they actually can offer quality repairs. Some companies even offer an online calculator that can give you an idea of what your specific repair may cost, which will then allow you to understand what you should be paying when shopping around for quotes. It is always best to pull rates and reviews from a variety of body shops, including the ones suggested by your insurance company. While you do not want to break the bank repairing your car, you still want to make sure your valuable asset will be in the best of hands.
Paying For Your Car Repair
Once you receive your quotes, you may find yourself unsure of what to do next when it comes to actually pay for the auto repairs. Of course, as we have discussed previously, your insurance may be able to help a lot, but it only goes so far. Discussed below are some other roads you may be able to take should you find yourself in dire need of auto repairs but low on funds.
If you are worried about paying for your car repair costs, ask the body shop if they have any payment plan options available. Under a payment plan, you will be able to pay your bill over a set period of time. Just remember to keep up on the payments and be mindful of when the period ends. Falling behind on payments could lead to some financial issues.
Depending on your credit score, you may be able to secure some reasonable personal loans. Personal loans can be used for pretty much anything, include auto repair bills. You make payments to it like any other loan, so be mindful of interest rates and repayment terms. These can be a quick solution when it comes to paying monstrous car repair costs, but repaying that loan may pose its own issues. Make sure to take some time to analyze your financial situation if you find yourself in such a position.
Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)
A home equity line of credit (HELOC) allows you to use the equity on your home as collateral for borrowing money. If a HELOC is already something you have established with your home, you may be able to enact it to pay for miscellaneous things, like car repair bills. However, you probably want to avoid going through all this trouble with a HELOC if you do not already possess one. It can be a long process and has various risks associated with it. A HELOC may not be worth it just to pay for a car repair.
Many car owners find themselves in tight financial situations. For those reasons, it may be worth it to maintain an emergency credit card. Sometimes damage to your car is detrimental or requires immediate attention. Not everyone has time to file a claim or scrape up the money needed at that very moment. For this reason, keeping an emergency credit card can be useful. Just always make a note of what you are charging to the card and be sure you will be able to pay off said charges once the time comes.