Vehicle accidents are common occurrences on the road, but when one happens to you, it can feel like an unprecedented event.
If your vehicle is damaged, you’ll likely have questions about auto body repair costs and the process of getting your car fixed. This guide is intended to be your go-to resource for all things related to auto body repair costs. Read on for more specifics:
- What Factors Affect Auto Body Repair Costs?
- Estimated Costs for Common Auto Body Repairs
- How to Tell If It’s Safe to Drive Your Car After a Collision
- Are Auto Repair Costs Worth It?
- How to Pay for Vehicle Repairs
- 5 Tips to Find a Trustworthy Auto Body Repair Shop
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Factors Affect Auto Body Repair Costs?
- Auto body repair costs vary widely, and are determined by several factors:
- The Type of Vehicle: The make, model and year of the vehicle will affect repair costs. For example, a brand-new luxury foreign vehicle can have higher costs than an older domestic sedan.
- Type of Damage: Small doors scratches and dents will cost significantly less to repair than bumper or windshield replacements.
- Technology Features: The more advanced the technology in the vehicle, the more you can expect to pay for repairs.
- The Repair Shop: Dealerships tend to have higher costs than auto body shops. Labor rates also vary by location. AAA says that labor costs can range between $47 and $215 an hour.
Estimated Costs for Common Auto Body Repairs
To give you a rough idea of collision repair costs, LendingTree estimates the following costs. It’s important to note that exact costs will depend on many factors, so it’s important to get a professional estimate for your vehicle. The estimates below are intended to be a baseline of what you may be able to expect:
- Door Damage: $50 – $1,000
- Repairs for small dents and scratches can start at around $50, depending on the severity of the damage. More extensive damage could potentially cause issues with the technology behind the door, such as the wiring for the locks and windows. These repairs will be more expensive, with a full door replacement costing upwards of $800.
- Bumper Damage: $300 – $1,500+
- Similar to door damage, minor bumper dents and scratches can typically be repaired for a small price. Extensive damage — deep cracks, holes or if the bumper is falling off the vehicle — will likely require a full replacement. The more extensive the damage, the higher the repair costs.
Related Reading: How Much Does it Cost to Repair or Replace a Bumper?
- Windshield Damage: $250 – $1,000
- Small windshield or window cracks can be repaired for a fraction of the cost that it would take to replace the glass.
- Suspension Damage: $100 – $5,000+
- A vehicle’s suspension system is comprised of different parts and components, such as wheel alignment, ball joints and shock absorbers. Individually, repairs and replacements for these components can cost between $100 and $600. Insurance.com reports that full suspension replacement could cost up to $5,000.
- Paint Damage: $500 – $7,500
- Vehicle repairs are almost always finished with a paint job. The extent of the vehicle’s damage will determine how much repainting is required. For example, small scratches may just need a quick touchup, but a bumper replacement will need a full coat.
Other Cost Considerations
Auto insurance policies vary in terms of coverage and deductibles. Most insurance deductibles are around $500–$1,000, meaning the policy will cover repair costs after you pay that amount.
For minor repairs that are less than the deductible, it’s common for drivers to pay for repairs out-of-pocket without going through insurance. For example, if you accidentally hit a pole and your bumper just needed a small replacement part, this might only cost $200. Paying the repair shop directly avoids having to file a claim and eliminates the risk of your insurance premium increasing.
If your vehicle will be at the repair shop for a few days or weeks, you’ll probably need a rental vehicle. The daily rental fees will depend on your location and the type of vehicle you rent, but daily costs can range anywhere from $15–$150.
Not all insurance policies will cover the cost of a rental, which many drivers only realize once they are in a collision.
How to Tell If It’s Safe to Drive Your Car After a Collision
After a collision, whether minor or severe, the safety of all passengers involved is the most important concern. Call 911 if you or any others involved have signs of injury. Some injuries, like whiplash, aren’t immediately noticeable because of the body’s adrenaline response to the accident.
If the collision was minor and you want to continue driving your vehicle, there are a few precautions to take first:
- Make sure the mirrors are in place. You could be pulled over and ticketed if your mirrors are missing or severely damaged.
- Make sure the hood can lock. As you’re driving, the hood could pop up and impair your visibility.
- Check your headlights and tail lights. If they are damaged, you could have difficulty seeing the road in front of you, which could cause another accident.
- If your vehicle is leaking fluids, like coolant, antifreeze, oil or gas, this could be a sign of extensive internal damage. Your brakes might not work properly, or the engine could overheat, making it unsafe to continue driving the vehicle.
- Your wheel alignment could be off after a collision, and could cause your vehicle to swerve when driving. If even just one wheel is misaligned, you should not drive the vehicle.
Are Auto Repair Costs Worth It?
In certain situations, the cost to continue repairing an older vehicle can be more expensive than investing in a new one.
NerdWallet recommends exploring new vehicle options if:
- The repair costs for your current vehicle start to exceed its value; or
- The repair costs are higher than one year’s worth of monthly payments for a new vehicle
Keep in mind that a new vehicle will be more expensive to insure and register. Newer vehicles also tend to have higher initial repair costs than older models. However, newer vehicles tend to offer better fuel efficiency and come with warranties that can help you save on costs during the first few years of ownership.
How to Pay for Vehicle Repairs
If you don’t have auto insurance and the estimate for your vehicle repairs is higher than a quick out-of-pocket expense, you can explore other funding options:
- 0% Interest Credit Cards
- There are credit cards that offer 0% interest rates for a certain period of time, usually 12-24 months. However, after this period you will have to pay an annual percentage rate (APR).
- Payday Loans
- Also known as cash-advance loans, payday loans allow you to borrow money against your future paychecks. The APRs can be very high, even for a small loan, and there may be additional fees.
- Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)
- If you own a home, a HELOC loan can provide money for non-home related costs, such as college tuition, credit card payments and auto body repairs.
5 Tips to Find a Trustworthy Auto Body Repair Shop
1. Get Recommendations
There’s nothing more valuable than a word-of-mouth referral. For honest feedback, ask family, friends and coworkers where they take their vehicles for repairs.
2. Check if They Have Experience with Your Vehicle
Contact auto body repair shops to see if they have experience servicing your make and model of vehicle. Not every auto body repair shop may be able to service certain foreign or luxury vehicles.
3. Read Online Reviews
Online reviews will give you insights into what it’s like to work with the shop. Specifically, look at reviews for services that you expect you may need.
4. Check Their Work Guarantees
Does the shop stand behind their work? If not, it could be a red flag. The best repair shops will guarantee their work for the lifetime of the vehicle.
5. Check Their Certifications
Reputable certifications — like I-CAR Gold Class, Safety and Pollution Prevention (S/P2), BASF and Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) — are signs that the shop invests in the latest tools and equipment to provide the highest quality repairs. Certifications also show that the shop employees are up to date with the latest training.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Should I pay for auto repairs out of pocket or submit a claim?
A: If your vehicle damage is minor and the cost of repairs is less than your deductible, you may want to consider paying out of pocket instead of filing a claim that could raise your insurance premium. However, if you don’t report damage to your insurance or if internal damage is overlooked, your insurance provider could refuse to cover further repairs.
Q: How do auto body repair shops estimate the cost of repairs?
A: Most shops offer free estimates, which is a chance for a professional estimator to assess the damage to your vehicle. They will ask you about the collision, look at cosmetic damage and determine if there could be unseen internal damage. Then they will put together an initial estimate that includes the cost of labor, materials and parts, and send it to your insurance company for approval.
Q: What will my insurance cover?
A: There are a few different types of coverage. Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle, regardless of who was at fault. Liability insurance covers damage to the other driver’s vehicle. Comprehensive insurance covers damage from non-collision related incidents such as vandalism, theft, natural disasters and weather conditions.
While the cost of auto body repair varies drastically. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $75-$2,500 for a quality repair job on a range of minor paint or body damage. That price is dependent upon several factors. Labor costs vary between auto body shops, so keep this in mind also.How much do most body shops charge per hour? ›
- Paint Labor – $50.
- Body Labor – $50.
- Paint Materials – $32.
- Electrical – $98.
- Mechanical – $98.
- Frame / Structural – $60.
- Fabrication – $60.
- Fiberglass – $60.
To repair a minor surface layer car scratch the cost will be £90 on average. If it's a deeper scratch that's gone down to the base layer so you can see exposed metal of the car, you're probably looking at a cost of around £300 to repair the scratch.Who is the largest collision repair company? ›
Find a Caliber Collision location
We are the nation's largest collision repair provider, with 1,500 convenient locations in 40 states - and growing.
1. The engine. The most expensive part to repair is the car engine. Replacement of a car engine can cost upwards of $10,000 in a small car and even more in a truck or SUV.What is the hardest part to replace on a car? ›
People who have experienced the agony of replacing the engine, whether it's your average Joe or a certified auto technician, will say that this is the biggest challenge in any car. Cars are expensive, and you can change your engine instead of buying a whole new vehicle.
Labor costs typically account for the most significant expense related to operating a auto body shop. Labor Costs are roughly 36 to 44 percent of the price of a repair job. Such jobs can generate gross profit margins of 50 to 65 percent per job.
A well-run auto body and paint shop has full and part-time employees to pay for and they need to have insurance to cover the cars on their property while they are being repaired. There are utilities, supplies, disposal costs, and marketing expenses.Do Body Shop consultants get paid? ›
How much you earn depends on how much time you choose to work. As an Independent Consultant you will earn 25-30%* commission of your sales, and further rewards and bonuses can be earned by growing and expanding your business. Find out more about joining our empowered community of supportive Independent Consultants.Can you buff out bumper scratches? ›
Wet your 3,000-grit sandpaper and gently sand the scratch out. Do this until the scratch is no longer visible. Alternatively, you can use toothpaste to buff out this type of scratch. It works just like a 3,000-grit sandpaper, but polishes the affected surface as well.
Unless the dent or scrape is very minor (and therefore very cheap to fix), older and less-valuable vehicles probably won't gain much value from a repair. You're often better off just keeping your money and living with the scrape and the knowledge that your car is a little less perfect than it was yesterday.What is the best product to remove scratches from cars? ›
- Best Overall. Meguiar's Scratch Eraser Kit. ...
- Best Results. Turtle Wax Premium Scratch Repair Kit. ...
- Best One-Step Product. Formula 1 Scratch Out. ...
- Honorable Mention. Meguiar's Scratch X. ...
- Honorable Mention. Turtle Wax Scratch Repair & Renew. ...
- Nu Finish Scratch Doctor. $8 AT AMAZON. ...
- Quixx Paint Scratch Remover. $11 AT AMAZON.
The Big Three in the automotive industry is a reference to the three largest car manufacturers in the United States: General Motors Company (GM), Stellantis (STLA), formerly known as Fiat Chrysler, and Ford Motor Company (F).What is the highest rated car warranty company? ›
- Best for High-Mileage Vehicles: Endurance.
- Best for Customer Support: Concord Auto Protect.
- Best for Warranty Plan Options: Carchex.
- Best for Complete Vehicle Coverage on All Plans: ProtectMyCar.com.
- Best Online Warranty Marketplace: Platinum Auto Warranty.
Does The Repair Shop exist? According to Rob Butterfield, the head of factual at production company Ricochet which films the programme, it isn't a real service. He explains of those who help resorts the products: "Many of our huge pool of experts run their own businesses.At what point is repairing a car not worth it? ›
If the cost of repairs exceeds the car's value, it's probably best to get a new car instead. Sometimes, when a car with high mileage needs a significant repair or if your car is totaled, you might consider replacing it with a new or used vehicle.Can you negotiate car repair costs? ›
“Yes, you can definitely negotiation the price of car repairs, but how you do it varies on where you take the car. Independent shops are far easier to negotiate with because they don't have prices set by a corporate office or a service manager.What is the most fragile part of a car? ›
A car's hood is heavy, but it is also thin compared to other parts of the vehicle, making it of the most easily damaged part of a car. When the bumper or the car's front takes damage, the hood crumples.What make of car breaks down the most? ›
1. Chrysler. Chrysler vehicles are some of the most unreliable on the market. They've been ranked as the least reliable car brand for three years in a row by Consumer Reports.What part breaks the most in a car? ›
- Windshield & Wiper Blades. Windshield wipers are likely to wear out faster than any other car part. ...
- Battery. The battery is what gives the engine a jolt of electricity to start up when you turn the ignition. ...
- Spark Plugs. ...
- Light Bulbs. ...
- Fuel Pump. ...
- Take a Disciplined Approach to Your Finances. ...
- Schedule Appointments. ...
- Inspect Every Vehicle. ...
- Reduce Fees on Card Transactions. ...
- Invest in Current Customers (and Employees) ...
- Generate New Customers with Local Coupon Advertising.
Many bodyshop owners started off as mechanics before starting their own business, but there is room for investors too. Generally, larger auto repair shops can earn up to $100,000 per annum, and your mechanics may earn between $30,000 and $50,000.How much should a mechanic markup parts? ›
Many automotive business consultants suggest an overall 100% markup on parts in order to achieve an overall 50-55% profit margin. This markup is important to achieve a 30 to 35% net operating profit. Shops that fail to succeed often have net operating profits of less than 15%.How do you negotiate with a body shop? ›
- Understand the issue. There's a difference between feeling like the mechanic's estimate is too high, and knowing so. ...
- Leverage the facts. ...
- Get quotes from the competition. ...
- Offer to provide the parts yourself. ...
- Get car repair financing.
Can an auto body shop waive a deductible? The short answer is yes. After all, it is an agreement between a body shop and a private party.How do you tell if a body shop did a good job? ›
A good body shop will measure the damaged area of the car and then measure the frame again after it does the repair. The frame specs should be the same post-repair as they were before the accident. The frame spec printout is a good reference document to make sure the job has been done right.Do I have to declare Body Shop income? ›
When you register as a Body Shop Consultant, you'll need to follow the rules of HMRC self-assessment. You'll need to submit a tax return online declaring your income and expenses once a year by 31 January, as well as paying tax twice a year by 31 January and 31 July.How much discount do Body Shop reps get? ›
Benefits & perks
You'll earn up to 35% from personal product sales, and we'll throw in lots of pat-on-the-back benefits and perks as your business blooms.
- Marketing consultant. National average salary: $56,068 per year. ...
- Associate consultant. National average salary: $58,889 per year. ...
- HR consultant. ...
- Technology consultant. ...
- Investment consultant. ...
- Sales consultant. ...
- Environmental consultant. ...
- Software consultant.
Use anytime on unsightly scratches & blemishes. Turtle Wax Scratch Repair and Renew contains powerful, ultra-fine polishing agents that quickly cut and remove scratches in the clear coat.
Does WD 40 remove scratches from plastic? WD 40 is a water-displacing oil that is used to lubricate tools and remove water from metal surfaces. It does not remove scratches from plastic.Can toothpaste remove car scratches? ›
It acts as a light abrasive, polishing and smoothing the surface. On car paint scratches, toothpaste does the same thing, gently working to even out the clear coat on your car to erase the appearance of the scratch.How much does it cost to fix a 3 inch scratch on a car? ›
For minor paint chip, scratch, and scrape repair, you'll pay between $150 and $250 for all of the damage they can fix on your vehicle. Touch-up is great for small, shallow chips and scratches. Dent repairs will cost about $75 per panel.Does car detailing remove scratches? ›
Car detailing can hide minor scratches through polishing, waxing, and sealing, but it cannot help with deep scratches. For repairing such a car scratch, you need to get professional services for your car's paint.Does WD40 remove scratches from cars? ›
One common use for WD40 is to remove car scratches. Given that it is designed to dissolve water, WD40 can help break down the pathways that scratch create on clear coat finishes. This makes it easier to buff out the scratch with a polishing compound.Does Magic Eraser remove car scratches? ›
No, a magic eraser will not remove your cars scratches.How do car dealers remove scratches? ›
Professional denting/painting for deep scratches
The professional starts by washing the car thoroughly to remove any contaminants and debris. Using sandpaper, the professional removes excess paint from the area and until the core of the scratch is seen.
- Mercedes Benz G-Class. There have been only two generations of the “G-Wagon” and it's been the three-pointed star brand's pinnacle of toughness throughout its introduction in 1979. ...
- Isuzu D-Max. ...
- Toyota Hilux. ...
- Toyota Land Cruiser. ...
- Ariel Nomad. ...
- Subaru Forester. ...
- Ineos Grenadier. ...
- Suzuki Jimny.
- Porsche – 90.74% Key points: Classic Porsche strong points make a great showing here, with top ratings for exterior, ride and handling, reliability and infotainment. ...
- Tesla – 90.50% ...
- Kia – 90.40% ...
- Peugeot – 89.28% ...
- Honda – 88.94% ...
- Jaguar – 88.90% ...
- Mazda – 88.89% ...
- Volvo – 88.35%
- 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid (Reliability Score: 93)
- 2023 Lexus GX (Reliability Score:91)
- 2023 Mini Cooper (Reliability Score: 89)
- 2022 Toyota Prius (Reliability Score: 89)
- 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata (Reliability Score: 85)
- 2023 Lincoln Corsair (Reliability Score: 82)
The BBB website lists more than 1,500 complaints against Carshield and gives the company an 'F' rating. "The reason that they have an 'F' grade is because of advertising issues, and also because they failed to address the underlying pattern," said Chris Thetford, a spokesman with the Better Business Bureau.What company is better than CarShield? ›
Compared to CarShield, CARCHEX offers more differentiated coverage between tiers. The Titanium plan is available for new and pre-owned vehicles, and optional vehicle coverage for high-tech electronics and windshield repairs is also available.Which car has the longest bumper to bumper warranty? ›
Jaguar stands out as having the best bumper-to-bumper warranty for a luxury brand, which lasts for 5 years/60,000 miles. Tesla offers an 8-year warranty on its battery and drive unit system (mileage expires between 100,000 and 150,000 depending on the model).Are the staff on The Repair Shop paid? ›
The BBC has kept the salaries of each of the show's stars a closely guarded secret. However, it has been revealed that the Beeb and series production company Ricochet pay for everything so that applicants don't have to worry about anything.Do repair shop experts get paid? ›
To the surprise of many – who would naturally assume that having these experts repair their belongings would cost an arm and a leg – it's free. The show covers the cost of labour and materials for the items brought by the public.Who pays the bill on The Repair Shop? ›
The Repair Shop, which airs every weekday on BBC One, takes on the impressive task of fixing old, broken or damaged treasures. But the show has left many viewers asking the question: who pays for the repairs? Well, no-one does. The 'Repair Shop' is, in fact, a bit of a misnomer.Is it better to replace than to repair car body? ›
While you may be able to repair a car part once or even twice, any subsequent repairs could result in damage to the vehicle. For cars that are older, many people choose replacements simply to improve the vehicle overall. They find that repairs simply aren't worth it when they are dealing with so many more older parts.Is it cheaper to repair or replace a car? ›
Generally speaking, it is almost always less expensive to repair a car than buy a new one. Even something as severe as an engine or transmission rebuild will cost you roughly $1,200 to $5,000 — far less than buying a new car.Can you fix the body of a car? ›
Auto body repairs can range from fixing small scratches and dents to completely replacing parts. Collision repair costs can also vary widely: You may be handed a bill for as little as $50 or as much as $2,500 or more, depending on the damage, your car and who you hire.Is it cheaper to repair or replace? ›
HouseLogic.com provides a tip on how to decide to repair or replace. It's called the 50-percent rule, and it suggests that if an appliance is more than 50 percent through its life span, and if the cost of one repair is more than 50 percent of the cost of buying new, then you should replace rather than repair.
If you have an accident and the cost of repairing your car or another person's vehicle is cheaper if you claim on your insurance, it's probably the best idea.When should you give up on a car? ›
If the cost of some repairs and maintenance have been going over and above what you would be paying for a monthly car payment, and it is even adding up to more than what your current ride is worth, it might be time to trade-up.What to do with a car that is too expensive to repair? ›
- Sell it to the repair shop, as they can use it for parts.
- Sell the vehicle online.
- Get scrap money for it.
- Sell to an enthusiast who restores vehicles as a passion project or to a younger kid as a fixer-upper.
An old car is likely worth repairing so long as it's rust-free, has a good maintenance record, engine/transmission is strong, and all electrics are working. As a guide, repair costs shouldn't exceed one-third of the car's current value.What costs the most to repair on a car? ›
- Cylinder Repair or Replacement. Cylinders are some of the primary components of your engine. ...
- Hybrid Inverter Assembly Replacement. ...
- Transmission Replacement. ...
- New Engine Head. ...
- Hybrid Battery Replacement.
One to two days for minor auto bodywork. One to two weeks to replace internal elements of your car. Over a month to fix extensive damage to multiple parts.How much does it cost to replace a side panel on a car? ›
If the damage is extensive enough that the panel needs to be replaced, a new corner panel can cost anywhere between $500 and $1500, depending on if you use aftermarket parts or OEM. Plus, the quarter panel is welded on, so replacing it is a time-consuming process. That means hours of labor, which can get expensive.Is it worth fixing small dent on car? ›
Small dents may cost $100 or less to fix. At this price, it can be a good idea to get it fixed if you're bothered by the dent's appearance or want to sell your car. But, doing it yourself may cause paint damage. Plus, even a repaired dent can result in rust down the road.When should you stop repairing a car? ›
Avoid getting nickel-and-dimed.
Keep a log book of exactly how much you spend on maintenance and what the items are. How much have you spent on vehicle maintenance in the last 18 months? Does it exceed the market value of your vehicle? If so, it's time to think about a replacement.
Edmunds offers a simple rule to follow: “If the cost of repairs is greater than either the value of the vehicle or one year's worth of monthly payments, it's time for another vehicle.” Remember, though, that repairing an old car is almost always cheaper than buying a new one.
Experts recommend setting aside at least $100 per month for car maintenance and adjusting to reflect the actual condition of your car.