Rusting Scratches

Hi All,

I bought this car recently with the existing body damage. My plan was to take it to a body shop and have it repaired and I estimated $800-$1,000, but I was in for a surprise. The two places I took both quoted $1.5-$2k, which seems unreasonable - at least to me.

I was wondering what your opinion is on this damage and why the body shops are quoting such high prices? They explained that the quarter panel needs detailed fixing, both doors repainted, labour, materials, etc.

Some previous discussions here suggested touch-up paints to stop the rust. If I don’t go through the repairs, will touch-up paint stop the rust for the time being? I live in a rainy city, by the way.


The price sounds reasonable on today’s market. You probably should have asked for a repair estimate before agreeing to buy the car.

Touch up paint won’t stop it unless you first sand it to the metal, prime it, and then paint it. It looks like the rust has been allowed to get a good start, so an angle grinder used with care might be a good idea, then some plastic putty (“Bondo”), then shaping, smoothing, priming, and painting. And, even then, you’ll need to accept that you’ll never be able to do as good a job with rattlecans as a shop can do. Or just grind it down, prime it, and rattlecan it. That should stop the rust.

Really, that is significant body repair not just paint touch up. Painting the rust will do nothing to stop it unless you remove the rust first or somehow neutralize it.

If you have rust formation that goes Deep into the metal. . That means grinding out a lot of metal and brazing in new before you prime and paint. That s labor intensive. I hope you got the car cheap. Rust is not “on the surface”. It is the oxidation and degradation of the metal itself.the metal needs to be replaced. Filler compound can be used in minor cases but in very severe rusting, metal to maintain the integrity must be brazed in. Otherwise, the metal flexes too much, the filler cracks and the repair fails. It takes time…lots of it.

Body work and painting always seem to be more expensive than customers anticipate.
Let’s just say that this type of work doesn’t come cheap nowadays–if you expect to get good-quality workmanship.

All of that being said, I believe that the OP has underestimated just how much work is entailed in getting down to the bare metal, smoothing the metal, repairing the dent, priming, and repainting.
A bill of at least $1,500 for this work doesn’t surprise me at all.

Besides the extensive paint scratches and rust, you have a large dent that’ll take quite a bit of work to fix. I’m thinking $2,000 is very reasonable.

I too, think the price is reasonable. I have done body work in the past and it’s no fun.

This reinforces the idea that a cars body is much more “valuable” then any other single component in a car. It is well worth it to do what ever you can to delay rust. It not only costs thousands to repair, it worth thousands as far as trade in value and sales of a used car. Btw, if you do incur damage where the metal is exposed, and you want to delay till you have the funds or wait till summer time till you can work on it yourself, just take a foam brush and “paint the surfaces” with red grease. Even if the metal has started to rust, it will delay it as long as you need till summer. Just don’t rub up agaisnt it with your dress up clothing. It will get quite dirty looking.

Thank you, everyone, for your helpful input. I will proceed with the auto body shop repair then, it seems to be the more sensible solution.

I think you’ve made a smart decision. Funny how that often is the end result of a smart decision-making process… Congratulations on a good choice.