2012 Toyota Camry SE Repair backing into pole

Hi guys,

I was hoping to get some DIY help for my 2012 Toyota Camry. I accidentally ran the rear passenger light into a pole was wondering what I could do to fix it. I got a price for $1300 to fix it without getting a new bumper and $1700 with a new bumper included. This is definitely out of my price range so I want to try to fix it myself. I have a good idea of how to replace the taillight panel, but it seems there is some quarter panel as well? Is it impossible to fix and I just have to take it into the store? If so, does anyone have cheap suggestions in Houston? Thank you for the help in advance!

More pics would be helpful. Seems like the quarter panel is damaged. The bumper might be able to pulled back in position, buffed and then touch up pain to look decent. You need the light (junk yard?), but if the quarter panel is ugly, then on a 2012, you might be better off to pay someone to fix it properly.

I would call around to your local “auto recycler/junk yard” and see if they have one. Or there are on-line used parts sites too. AQS (Smart parts is) one and they may even have one local to you.

$400 should cover the light and bumper, but this is just a guess.

You could have anyone install these and then see if you are willing to put up with the little damage left or take it in to repair that.

If there is any exposed metal that may rust, just coat it with a little clear nail polish until it gets fixed.


I would expect a 2012 to have full coverage insurance. Your comp and collision should cover this minus your deductible.

Just googled 2012 taillight cover, 5 sites pop at the top rangeing from 35 to 50 dollars. Check out paintless dent repair place, for body work and buffing out the bumper, I have had good luck with them and I would be surprised if their price was over $200!

If he had insurance and wanted to make a claim he would. Maybe he lives in LA and is trying to be inconspicuous.

Your biggest issue is straightening the fender. Other than that, everything is bolted on. See if you can get quotes to just fix the fender. Then you can replace the tail light lens and bumper facia yourself. Get under the rear end if you haven’t already and check out the condition of the bumper and the pistons that hold it onto the rear end. You might need to replace the right rear piston. There might also be damage to the frame where the right side piston attaches to it. You can inspect that while you are under there too.

I mentioned the insurance because a lot of people just pay the premiums and never read the policy . My neighbor found out the hard way that he did not have as much coverage as he thought.

Start by installing and aftermarket light unit, and if you can get a prepainted bumper skin (these are often readily available, perhaps even from a boneyard) change that too. Properly painting the skin will cost a few hundred minimum anyway. Then take it to get an estimate to repair the quarter panel. That’s going to be the tough one to fix.

Just a tip: I once ordered a replacement lighting unit through AutoZone and the thing was an absolute piece of junk. It didn’t even fit right or look right. I recommend going elsewhere.

Body work is expensive, no doubt about it

To me, the bumper looks beyond just a little touch up paint. It appears that it may actually be creased and dented, also

And the quarter panel definitely needs to be straightened. In my opinion, this may be more than the paintless dent guys are willing or able to do

In my opinion, a used bumper skin from a junkyard is not going to be cheap, because we’re talking about a 3 year old car

I imagine if you’re talking a bumper skin for a 1989 Cavalier, that would be cheap, because it’s probably been taking up space, and they’ll be happy to let it go cheap

The only way I can think of getting a cheap used bumper skin is a pick a part type of operation, and then only if it’s 1/2 price weekend

I’ll go against the grain here . . . I think that bumper is worth fixing. What I mean is, I think it can be efficiently repaired

By the way, the thought of NOT having any kind of insurance on this car . . . or any car being driven, for that matter . . . is very disturbing. To me. It’s not fair to the insured driver that gets involved in an accident with such a person, regardless of who’s to blame. It’s complicated in so many ways, I won’t get into it


Friend has a leased 2012 Camry SE which is at lease end. He messed up the rear/side bumper skirt. Too bad the “aero” kit skirt is not add on trim like they do on the corollas. He needs a new bumper skin now.


I happen to think those factory skirts on the Corolla S models of years past are HIDEOUS

In fact, I think the regular Corollas looked better. A regular Corolla minus the skirt, but with the S rims, tires and fog lamps would look pretty tasteful, in my opinion

Those factory S models looked like something a high school kid smoking too much reefer would concoct in his spare time

I’m with Volvo, JT and Mountainbike and maybe others. The really only thing you can do yourself is replace the tail light and maybe clean up the bumper. If the bumper is dented (hard to tell from the picture), you can heat it up good with a trouble light or something, then push it out again and a lot of times it will return to mostly its original shape. That 1/4 panel though will be a bear to work on. It is pushed in and it can’t be hammered back in place. It needs to either be pulled or pushed back in place and then straightened and refinished. This requires equipment and skill. So just get a good light from the junk yard and save your money or talk to your agent.

Looking at the rear quarter the taillamp may not bolt back in. The housing bolts to the sheet metal in that area.


That’s not a hammer and dolly job.

The rear quarter is going to need some major attention!


Thank you guys so much for the help! I am just a poor college student so I am trying to save some money on the car repairs. I talked to my some people about potentially claiming it with my insurance, but they say that in the long run, the premium hikes would not be worth it so they told me to just pay out of pocket.

I feel like the best course of action would just be to replace the taillight panel by ordering one online and taking it into the shop for the quarter panel and bumper damage? The bumper isn’t really too bad, its just the quarter panel that worries me. I don’t plan on replacing the bumper so do you think it would be unreasonable to try to paint the bumper by myself? Or should I just get the body repair guys to do it?

For Pete’s sake talk to your insurance agent instead of listening to people who are only guessing about your premium increase. Your plan will cost you about or more than your deductible and the car will look like crap and will be a negative at trade in time. Just painting the bumper cover could cost $500.00.

File the claim, if your rates go up drop the carrier. My insurance tried to raise my rates after my tailgate and cats were stolen in a 6 month period. A quick call to my agent with quotes from other companies ended up with me getting a better rate. To be fair I have been with the same agent for 25 years.

Because of the quarter panel damage this is a $2,000 to 3,000 repair. Supplying the body shop with a tail lamp will not save any money.

You could replace the tail light assembly and buff most of the white marks away with rubbing compound.

There seems to be a new definition of “poor”, how does a poor person obtain a $15,000 car? I have been driving cars of less than $2,500 for 30 years while waiting for “my ship to come in”. Am I poor?

Just call the insurance company and get the ball rolling, already

For pity’s sake . . . you have insurance.

Use it!

When I was a poor boy, I wasn’t driving a 3-year old Camry

I’m no longer a poor boy . . . but I’m FAR from wealthy . . . and my Camry is 10 years old

Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?