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2014 Toyota Corolla swiped, what should I expect at the body shop?

Dear car Talk community, so the car got a minor hit with a college kid making a three point turn and missed. he was a nice lad and being a nice guy myself we decided to resolve this without insurance getting wind of this so the lad doesn’t get his insurance spiked for the next 5 years. what should I expect the cost to be so he can pay in cash? Honest Answers please I am going to take it to the shop when I have free time.

To do it right…it’ll be close to a thousand or maybe 2 thousand.

The dent has to be taken care of…And the front fender and door will have to be repainted.

for the sake of additional infomation its the quarter panel and the driver seat front door lower end.

IMHO you are a very kind person, but a fool to go along with this.

To have this damage properly repaired and the door realigned to where the car is like brand new again could easily run upwards of $7K. The fender will have to be replaced, the door shell will have to be replaced, the door will have to be rehung, and you’ll need a good, professional paint job… which on a Corolla includes clear coat. The kid is paying insurance so that you can be made “whole” again. Let his insurance pay the cost.

Besides, you yourself could end up with your insurance cancelled by not reporting the accident, even if it wasn’t your fault. Depending your state, you could even get in trouble with the state for not reporting the accident.

I strongly urge you not to go along with this. But if you do so anyway, get a formal estimate from a good, reputable professional body shop. Don’t use our guesses.

I agree with Mountainbike. Tell your insurance about it and let them deal with it. Your new acquaintance might mean well but I wonder if he will be cooperative when he finds out how much It really costs.

I think it is a great candidate for paintless dent repair, since you are both nice guys. I have had work done I am very happy with for 20% of body shop price. they can buff out the scuffs. No bondo, no paint fading to a different color as years go on, I love those guys.

I see marks on the wheel. If the steering wheel still points straight ahead, you’re probably OK, but an alignment check soon would not be a bad idea.

My guess is $3,500. You should’ve called the police. Unfortunately, I’m sure you’ll realize this in a few weeks. There’s such a thing of being too nice. I’m a nice guy too, but never would have done what you did. Good luck

Paintless dent repair . . . ?

This looks to be a little past that point . . . ?

No I think it would be good, otherwise I would not have recommended it. The paint is in good shape as far as I can see with scuff marks from the bumper that can be buffed out. Could not tell for sure until someone sees it.

When my car was 5 months old, in 2005, I sustained almost exactly the same damage. I was hot in the side by a commercial van traveling in the lane next to me. The driver of the van, a worker that spoke broken English, came running up to me with his cell phone in his hand saying “my boss wants to talk to you, my boss wants to talk to you…”. I simply said “I’m not interested in talking to your boss. I’ve already called the police”. The cop came, did an accident report and wrote a citation which firmly established liability, and I took the car to the Toyota dealer’s body shop. I went home and contacted my insurance. The damage was over $7,000. But my car was been and has been since like brand new.

IMHO it is always always always the best approach to get a police report done immediately and work through proper channels. Even if you’re at fault, a police report can prevent the other owner from inaccurately claiming all sorts of damage and injury. It can save you thousands in legal fees and possible loss of a civil suit.

Here’s an idea. Take your car over to the local high school or junior college auto shop instructor & ask if they’d like to do this repair using a quick, low-cost method as a way to provide this type of instruction to the students. Any body shop could do it for $7,000 and get a close to perfect job. But it takes some extra skill to do it for $500. In this economy, where many folks just don’t have $7,000 to spend, there is a demand for this. So the students would learn a useful skill. Tell them up front you are willing to live with less-than-new-car-appearance results, and ask them for a repair estimate, that you fully expect to pay them for the work done.

“Tell them up front you are willing to live with less-than-new-car-appearance results”


Why would somebody who owns a brand-new car, and who was the victim of somebody’s negligence or carelessness, settle for anything less than a totally-professional repair job on his car?

I am an extremely compassionate individual, but if somebody does damage to me, my family, or my hard-earned possessions, I am not about to let him/her off lightly.

Think about it…If the OP lets the offender off the hook for major expenses, how likely is that person to learn that he has to be more careful in the future? Just as fines and other legal penalties are intended to modify somebody’s behavior, having to bear the full weight of his actions or inactions is the only way that the offender in this case is likely to learn that he has to exercise much more caution on the road!

I strongly suggest that the OP follow the excellent advice provided by The Same Mountainbike.

I know somebody who does paintless dent repair. And this looks like a repair that can be performed without painting.

I know the first they would do about about the dent in the fender is this.


George, you should also know that because schools accept federal and state dollars for the education of the students, which includes the lab work, they cannot by law also charge for their services. They can only charge for the cost of materials, discounted by the amount they’re discounted by the suppliers, typically 20%.

VDC’s other comments are, as usual, “spot on” too.

In regards to contacting the police . . .

My mom was rearended a little over a year ago

The police was called

The police showed up at the scene of the accident 6 or 7 hours later, LONG after all parties involved had exchanged information and moved on

Just wondering, but is that scrape marks on the wheel itself? If so, there may be some issues with the wheel and the suspension components attached to it.

Some years ago a young teen driver rear ended my almost new car. She too wanted to handle the cost of repair off the record. But I went straight to my insurance agent. Turns out, that was the 5th accident in less than 2 years the kid had had. You don’t know the driving history of the kid who backed into your car nor the full reason/s for his wishing to avoid his insurance company knowing.

As others have pointed out, you could very well end up with your own insurance cancelled out if you fail to report the accident to your insurance. Besides, all those expensive car insurance premiums you pay are so you are covered and for your insurance company to represent your interests!

Contact your insurance company ASAP and let them know what is happening. In my state is it illegal to not report damage over $1000 to police but no requirement with insurance.

Your insurance company can take of hassling the kid for money and if that does not work(give it 50/50) out of pocket they will collect from the other party insurance company. Also if uninsured typically you have a rider in policy to take care of this.

This comes from me once being burned (albeit $200 for tail light) and my wife going thru the “recommended” guy who was an absolute drunk but cheap body guy. The other party decided not to pay as they thought was too expensive so in 15 minutes a Progressive rep showed up and car was in shop with rental to us two days latter. We paid nothing out of pocket and no change in rates.

How many college kids have $1000 to their name let alone the potential of $2000+ to their name?

Hmmm. if only it was a hit and run. Your Uninsured motorist insurance would cover it with you only having to pay your deductible and wouldn’t raise your insurance rate.