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Fixing dings and scratches, or minimize getting them instead?

My repair question is about fixing dings/scratches, or if preventing them is the better option instead. Here are more details:

My new car is my daily driver and it gets parked at work for the full day, five or six days a week. The parking area is a large busy lot with plenty businesses and services. There is no where in the lot to park to get away from other vehicles. The lot gets packed by lunch time, but finding an open space isn’t a problem. Everyone in my office uses that parking lot because it’s free. But, lots of my co-workers’ vehicles have gotten dings/scratches in that lot.

No dings so far on my new car. However, starting July 1st, I am considering buying $55 monthly parking in a structure that’s next to my building. Most of the in-and-out parkers in the structure use the lower level or ground floor. I noticed that there were not very many vehicles parked on the upper levels. The few cars up there are vintage and newer cars. They look like they want to avoid dings and scratches too. They give each other plenty of space, rather than parking side-by-side.

So, it would cost me $660 a year for parking in the structure. Or I could continue to use the free lot and spend that $660 on repairing dings and scratches when they happen. For $660, could a body shop completely remove a ding or small scratch, match the paint and do a quality job?

I regret the first ding, but after a few months, when there are 10 more, It no longer bothers me. I’d have to spend thousands of dollars every year to fix them, not worth the effort.

Part of parking on the street, or (less so) in crowded parking lots.

The final answer is no, $660 won’t get many dings repaired at a professional body shop.
Honestly, I’d stop at the parts store, get a wide rubber stick-on side strip, carry a small bottle of touchup paint, watch the car for any dings or scratches that break through to the metal and touch them up immediately. and not lose any sleep over it. It’s impossible to keep a daily driver totally ding free in the real world. The only thing you can control is how you let it affect you.

TSM: I agree. The one “ding” that I had to fix (long story) I would up sanding it, applying rustoleum metal primer and some touch up paint left over from my previous car. A slightly different shade of silver.

I don’t think touch up paint without primer will last very long.

The person who can find a way to keep dings and scratches from cars will become very rich.

Even if you park at the very back of an empty lot some moron will pull in right next to you.

Actually, cars from 30 (?) years ago, when there were real bumpers, would be a lot better for street parking. Now you have a plastic bumper cover that costs thousands to replace.

Dings don’t only occur in parking lots.

You also get them from just driving down the road.

So save your money, and just stay on top of them.


While I still had my paper plates on my very first new car in '72 (I believe they were only good for 10 days in North Dakota in '72, but cannot remember for certain), somebody “keyed” the side of my car. I had a bottle of touchup paint, so it never began to rust, but that cured me of overly obsessing about dings & dents. I won’t kid you, it took a while to get over it, but I’ve never been as sensitive to these issues thereafter.

I guess that all depends on your need for perfection of the outside of your car ( as opposed to its function, ie; maintainence ).
For your old car . . just how many dings and scratches did you ever get ? That would be a great indicator for your calculatons.
Did you fix those too ? as the car aged , did you stop even trying ?
For the new car . . how often would you guess you would actually go over the exterior with scratch mantainence ?
Compare that to the annual fee for the parking garage.

Myself ? I don’t think I would pay all that for the garage. . . but that’s just me.
A few years ago my wife wondered who was vandalizing the sides of our cars. Work ? neighborhood ?
When I took a close look . . I told her to arrest our sons ! . . went and rolled one of their bicycles out and lined up the handle bar to the side of the car and . . . !

I once bought a 5 year old car from a new car dealer. When I was looking the car over after the test drive, the salesman told me that if I found any dings they would have their “dent guy” take them out.

I said “No you won’t, if I can’t find one I am not buying it.” I hate putting the first dent in a car.

I brought it home and promptly dropped a ladder on the hood. I just laughed.

LOL, oldtimer, I’ve gotten the same “we’ll take care of XXX if you buy the car” bologna. I simply tell them “fine. Call me when you’ve taken care of the issues. If I haven’t found something elsewhere by then, perhaps I’ll come back.” They never call.

If you simply cannot find a ding-free area in the free parking, me, even with a 20+ year old Corolla, I’d probably pay the $600 and park on the upper levels. I’m not a fan of dings. Plus you don’t have to drive around looking for parking places without big trucks or SUV’s hugging the line on either side, saves time.

Volvo above mentions that even if you park on the upper level somebody is likely to park right next to you. It’s true, they likely will. This is something I’ve never understood, why park right next to a car when there’s plenty of spaces just a few feet away with no cars to maneuver around. But someone here posited that you are still better off, b/c whoever parks next to you on the higher level is also out to avoid dings, so are less likely to inflict a ding on your own car if only b/c if they ding your car, they also ding their car. So the upper levels are used b/c that is a ding-free zone and only ding-free people park there.

Yes, spend the $600, save time, and have less dings. That’s the way to go in my opinion.

^^^ The thought of George, with his beaters, spending $600/yr for “ding protection” has me doubled over…



3 Words - Paintless Dent Repair

Find a good one in your area and they will take a door ding out for about $75-$100 without needing anymore paint than a touch up, sand and buff. Once he’s at your house, he can do more for incrementally less cost.

$650 can do a lot of parking lot dings in a year.

We had a doc at work with his new olds and tight stalls. He used to hang cardboard on the sides of his car. People got the hint.

Maybe install metal spikes over the car’s exterior! ha ha