How Much Should Auto Body Repair Cost?

How Much Should Auto Body Repair Cost?

It’s a very bad feeling when your car is damaged. Whether it’s a frightening collision, a fender bender or a windshield ding, it can make you a little queasy to see your ride less beautiful. And then there’s the oh-my-God moment of panic when you think, “How much is this going to cost?” Body repair can be expensive. Sometimes it can be surprisingly cheap. Sometimes it makes sense to file an insurance claim, while other times you may come out ahead by paying out of pocket to keep your monthly insurance payments down. While you’re biting your nails waiting for an estimate, here’s an overview of the types of damage you may have, and what to expect for an auto body repair cost.

Windshield damage

Windshield repair vs. replacement costs

Windshield damage comes in two varieties: very inexpensive and moderately expensive. Small windshield cracks and chips may cost as little as $50. More widespread damage requires windshield replacement, which averages $150 – $200 for most common vehicle models, but the price can go up to several hundred dollars for rare and expensive models.

Only small, minor windshield damage can be repaired, while anything else has to be replaced. Here’s a breakdown of the types that can be repaired, as long as the damage isn’t in the driver’s direct line of sight:

  • Small diameter chips, dings and pits
  • Bulls eyes
  • Star cracks
  • Rock chips an inch in diameter or less
  • Cracks up to 12″ long
Photos of various types of minor windshield cracks

Anything worse than these types of damage—or even small damage near the edge of the glass, and you may need a replacement windshield. But when windshield repair is an option, it’s the way to go.

Alloy wheel damage cost

Alloy wheels add style and distinction to your vehicle’s appearance. They look beautiful until you brush up against a curb; then they really show the damage. But are alloy wheels worth repairing? Yes. An average allow wheel cost is $50 to $150, so it’s well worth it, compared to the average price tag for a wheel replacement.

There are different ways to go about wheel repair, including do-it-yourself options. It’s usually best to steer clear of do-it-yourself wheel repair kits. They are nothing like the equipment and techniques used by professionals. If you want it to look new again, it’s worth the extra money to take it to an alloy wheel repair shop. The craft of wheel repair requires training and practice, and a good technician also understands paints, coatings and finish textures—essential skills for a like-new result. A good alloy wheel repair shop uses precision tools and quality control systems that can’t be matched with a DIY kit.

Not all shops are created equal, for that matter, in terms of both equipment and expertise. Check reviews for alloy wheel repair shops in Wichita before you commit to a shop. Visit a couple and see how their equipment compares. Ask to look at some of their current work. Can they answer all your questions? Do they seem customer-service driven? If they’re not friendly and responsive now, there is no reason to expect that they will be if you have a problem with the work later.

Bumper and panel damage

If your auto body damage is limited to a bumper or single panel, you may get off pretty light. Average cost is $250, not a drop in the bucket, but still in a cost range that may justify paying out of pocket when compared to a monthly insurance premium increase.

Minor dings and dents

The key word here is “minor,” which means your damage includes no creased metal or significant paint damage. In these cases, paintless dent repair and paint touch-ups offer excellent low-cost options.

Paintless dent repair (PDR)

PDR is a great, low-cost option for minor damage in which there are no breaks in the paint and no creased metal. PDR technicians don’t need the expensive equipment used for more serious collision repair. They have a sort of car “sculpture kit,” filled with tools that gently remove minor dents without damaging paint. On the average, PDR work costs $50 to $120 per dent, depending on size. This technique is often effective for hail damage, but can be prohibitively expensive with too many dents.

Paintless dent repair is almost always preferable to other repair methods when it’s an option. Because PDR doesn’t damage paint, your original finish is left intact, which means you won’t run the risk of uneven paint fades over time.

Auto paint shop prices

Large-scale paint jobs can be expensive, but small areas that just need “touching up” can be very affordable, ranging from $65 to $200 – $300.

The big paint jobs can get more expensive, depending on the extent of the damage. A single stage paint job to freshen your vehicle’s look can cost between $600 and $2,000 for full vehicle coverage, depending on paint color and vehicle type. For more severe paint damage, the same job may range from $800 to $4,000. A total, multi-stage re-paint for an average vehicle may run as high as $5,000. Any body work needed will add to these costs.

Minor collision repair

If you have damage to the vehicle’s engine or frame, move on to the next section Engine and frame damage. This section covers minor collision repair, which is far more affordable. Here’s what you should expect to pay:

  • Fenders – $75
  • Mirrors – $100
  • Hood – $150
  • Bumper – $325

Many people choose to pay minor collision repairs out of pocket. As mentioned before, if your insurance premiums go up as a result of a claim, you may end up spending more than the repair cost over the next year or two.

Engine and frame damage

These are the bad accidents, when the vehicle looks mangled, fluids are leaking out onto the ground, and hopefully everyone is okay. They are not cheap, and it usually makes sense to file an insurance claim, as the repairs may run into the thousands of dollars. If the repair cost plus the salvage value of the car exceeds 75 percent (in Kansas; 60 percent in Oklahoma) of the vehicle’s actual cash value, your insurance adjustor will declare the car totaled. You’ll receive a cash payout, but the vehicle will be sent to salvage.

How Much Should Auto Body Repair Cost?

Insurance will usually pay for the majority of your repair costs, but it doesn’t always make sense to go through the insurance company. Minor dings, dents and paint chips can be repaired for as little as $65. If you have a $100 or $200 deductible, there’s no point in running it through insurance; it will only drive up your rates. The same is true of moderate repair costs. As a theoretical example: if your insurance company pays $300 for a repair, but increases your rates over the next three years, you may end up paying more than $300 in the long run. It depends on the circumstances that caused the damage, your driving record, and your particular coverage.

Some shops specialize in out-of-pocket repairs, working efficiently to keep costs very low. To learn more, call APR at (316) 262-8888.

13 thoughts on “How Much Should Auto Body Repair Cost?

  1. Thanks for pointing out that a minor damage in the windshield can still be repaired. This is great since we do not have the budget for the replacement yet. The windshield just got a small crack because of a branch that fell on it yesterday.

  2. I appreciate that you explained that minor windshield damages can still be repaired. This means that we won’t have to worry about replacement costs. Our windshield just got slightly scratched when my son accidentally threw his metal toy car on our windshield while playing with his dad this afternoon.

  3. My dad badly scraped his car while he was driving to the supermarket last night. It was explained here that he should consider the cost that will be needed for the repairs. Furthermore, it’s best to go to trusted shops for quality auto body repair.

  4. That’s good to know that a bumper or panel repair should cost around $250. My son backed up into a tree, so I’m looking to see if I should get the bumper fixed. I’ll have to find an auto body repair shop since it shouldn’t cost too much to get fixed.

  5. Depending on the severity of the damage, the cost of dent repair varies dramatically. The repair cost will be less, when the damage is less. And when the damage is severe, the repair cost might break your bank. I don’t think it is your task to figure out the cost. I think it is the task of a car technician to figure out the cost and do the repair keeping the overall cost as minimum as possible. You just do one thing- prior to handing over your car to the technician, make sure that technician is certified and having a good reputation in your locality.

  6. I like how you mentioned that a good repair shop uses precision tools and quality control systems that cant be matched with a DIY kit. I will have to tell my husband this! He just got in a fender bender and wants to fix the damage himself. In the long run, I could see how bringing it to an automotive shop would be a lot better because he can ensure that nothing is wrong internally and they will be able to professionally clean up the outside of his vehicle!

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