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Front fender repair 08 Mazda CX7, or should I fix myself?

I got this dent and paint damage on the front passenger side quarter panel (EDIT: fender) of my 2008 Mazda CX7. I was just wondering if you all thought it would be better to just take care of it myself with some touch-up paint or whether it warranted going to the shop to get the whole panel replaced? The dent is a pretty good size but definitely still just cosmetic. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

That’s not the front quarter panel. That’s the front fender.

It depends if you’re picky on how the repair looks.

If you don’t care, just prime and paint it so the metal doesn’t rust.

If you care, take it to a body shop.


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Huh, if ya gotta ask . . . It’s probably something I’d do myself but then I think I was 13 when I did my first body repair so have a little experience. Plus I’ve got the compressor, spray guns, hammer, dolly, books, chemicals, time, buffer, etc. Yeah maybe pay the $500 or so and have it done.

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Or find a good one at an auto recycler and install it.

Looks like you’re due for new or polished headlights. It’ll look like new!


It’s hard to see the damage. At first I thought the trees were rust spots until I enlarged the photo. If there is no rust, you might just cover it with primer and let it go. If you plan to sell the car (like, ever sell the car), then get it repaired. No one will want to buy your damaged Mazda unless you give them a huge discount.

Bumper cover looks like it’s broken with a chunk missing. They can be inexpensive used, but if you have it painted that’s a few hundred more. A plain plastic black one might look good enough.

Nope no rust at all. Got this car used and cheap anyways, so I’m not totally concerned with the re-sale value at this point in time. Taking everything into account I figure I’ll just sand down the edges, prime it, black touch-up paint, and clear coat.

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Check sites like

They do sell the exact paint color based on your car year and color code.
It is possible to make not a perfect, but very decent repair with a rattle-cans they sell, 10-years old car will probably not need more than that.
First site also used to have a set of decent education videos, so you can get an idea if you are up to this challenge or not.
My guess that the total of all materials needed will be under $100.

I see at least 2 points of damage on that fender, one of which hasn’t yet been mentioned

The dent at the wheel well area . . . and a fairly significant crease right above the headlamp

assuming the car otherwise looks great, I think it deserves a professional repair

The thing with spray cans is that the paint is quite a bit thinner than what would be used in a shop, and therefore is not going to last. The paint is only part of it though. The dent has to be pounded out and filled and smoothed and blended in to the rest of the fender. Right on top like that will show. The other thing is where that dent is located will probably mean the fender needs to come off in order to get at it. So yeah, not as easy as it might seem at first.

To spend $500 to $800 for a body shop to repair this is a matter of personal pride. The vehicle is 11 years old, trade in value is $2,300 for a base model with average miles, the trade in value is not reduced by $800 for each dent.

Some people really care about their car’s looks - if you’re one of them, fix it right.
If you’re planning on keeping it for a long time (> 5 years), consider fixing it right.
If you think a car is a tool and says little about you personally, a minimal repair is all that’s needed.
My guess is that any cosmetic repairs on 10 year old cars will never pay off in terms of resale value, so you use different criteria in your decision. I’m guessing you had already decided when you wrote, but just wanted to get a couple of different perspectives. That’s what this board is for.