What You Should and Shouldn't Fix Before Selling Your Car

After raising seven children through their teenage years, I've had my fair share of experiences with selling used cars that have body damage. As a child saved up to buy a newer car, I was relied on to find a way to sell their old one for the most money possible. I have learned that fixing small dents and other aesthetic issues with your vehicle is a great way to significantly increase the sales price you ask when you put it on the market. But not all dents are worth paying to have fixed because it won't affect the value much. Whether you are just trying to make the money back that you've put into your vehicle or you're trying to make a profit, hopefully the pages on this website will give you some insight into what's worth putting your time and effort into fixing and what's best left untouched.

When Does A Vehicle Need Auto Body Repairs?


Presuming you're not dealing with the aftermath of an accident, deciding when to have auto body repair work done is oftentimes a personal choice. There are, however, some practical reasons why you may need to visit a car body repair shop. In these 5 situations, it's probably worth the expense.

Rust Is Appearing

Generally, if you're seeing a few outward patches of rust, there's a lot more going on than you suspect. Rust is a bit like a cavity in a tooth: the compromise usually runs deeper than what you're seeing. Small spots of rust, smaller than an eraser head, may just be from road chips, especially if they appear in areas like the hood. If you're a competent DIYer, you may be able to treat these patches and buff them out. Most folks, though, will want to have the job dealt with by a professional.

Once you see outright holes, it's time for serious work to be done. It's likely a portion of the body will have to be cut out and replaced with mesh materials.

Damage Is Near Critical Components

The classic case is when a dent is close to the wheel well. You don't want to take the chance that a piece of the body will rub against the tire. Similarly, damage near the lights and the sensor packages on a car can be problematic.

Paint Looks Very Cloudy

It's worth trying to polish the paint job before assuming this is an auto body repair issue. Once you've given it a try and the cloudiness hasn't cleared up, the problem likely requires professional attention.

If the paint job looks completely flat, there may also be other issues. For example, heat from under the hood can cause paint to react. Likewise, fluids spraying from the engine may escape the compartment and cause paint damage.

Body Parts Are Moving

Light damage to a car's body doesn't always show up as dents and scratches, especially with the advent of more durable and flexible materials. Consequently, you might not notice an issue until you see something like a fender fluttering a bit when you're driving. This is caused when underlying mount points have been damaged.

Legal Issues

The legality of a vehicle's body style can vary from state to state, and annual changes occur too. For example, how much body has to overhang the tires is a common legal problem. Fortunately, most car body repair places can address this problem with ease.


20 January 2020