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Minor dents and scratches add up

September 30, 2009
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Editor’s Note: The following is taken from a press release sent by Maaco, a chain of nearly 500 body shops across North America. Detailers can share this information with customers who might be concerned about the cost of repairing minor scratches or dents on their vehicles.

"How much is that going to cost to fix?" That's often the first thing you wonder when your car's had a minor scrape or a fender bender.

Automobile insurance provides coverage, but many drivers have a high deductible and potentially face higher premiums, so they tend to live with it. But that's not always a good idea. For one thing, a ding or scraped paint can cause rust that will get worse over time.

"Even minor defects can reduce the trade-in value of a car, or can become a big expense when a leased vehicle is turned in," said David Lapps, president of Maaco Collision Repair & Auto Painting.

"The expectation is that when a lease expires the car will be returned in good condition, without excessive wear and tear. Rather than just paying up at the dealership, you may get a better deal on repairs at an independent shop."

It's estimated that half of all vehicles with 15,000 miles suffer nuisance scratches or other cosmetic damage, Lapps said. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, most car bumpers, for example, do little to resist damage in even low-speed collisions.

"Modern-day bumpers improve aerodynamics, fuel economy and appearance, but they can easily get dented, scuffed or torn," Lapps commented.

With 35,000 auto body repair shops, there are lots to choose from. The best choice is often a shop recommended by family or friends.

“We specialize in repairs on newer cars that maintain their resale value, while at the same time saving on the repair costs. On older cars, Maaco services many times increase the value, Lapps said. “Much of our business comes from referrals and repeat business, as shown by a 97 percent referral rate.”