Whatever happened to body filler?



Girlfriend made a 3ft crease on bottom front door and back door near the bottom trim. Deep but nothing out of the ordinary. Shop nearby with high reviews said they have to get a whole new door because of how the metal is in newer cars.

Sounded like the biggest load of B.S I’ve ever heard in my life. He proceeded to give me a quote with the new door and bottom trim that is not even damaged.

I can’t believe shops nowadays and their rip offs.

My question is, is this how things get done or do people not work with metal anymore? Whatever happened to auto body filler? Do they see a new 2018 model and expect people to be idiots with money? From the start I told him there’s no full coverage insurance on it since we own the car. Didn’t stop him from fraud I guess.


You actually have a 2018 vehicle without full coverage insurance. That is insane . Your estimate is probably correct but your next step is another estimate . The shop told you what they want to do and you can go some where else so there is no fraud.

Is your picture really of you pointing a rifle at us ? Not cool by any means.


If you want a fill and squirt, TELL him to break out the Bondo. Don’t expect a showroom quality job. A door skin isn’t hard to install, the trim likely will break during removal but the panel will be wrinkle-free when the paint is applied. You get what you pay for.


I’d second the door skin. Can’t see extent of damage but often all that is needed is the outer skin replaced. Done plenty of body repairs I wouldn’t want bondo on a new car when it’s not much more work to replace the skin…


I can show you MANY showroom quality cars with Bondo. Many older restored cars get a skim coat of bondo to make extremely smooth surfaces for the exact purpose of showroom quality.


No argument with that. But we haven’t seen a picture of the dent and don’t know the extent of the damage.


I agree with Mustangman as we have not seen pics of the damage. It could be that the cost of labor/materials of working out the crease will cost more than replacement parts.

Fraud? Not in a million years.

You chose not to fully insure a near new car and are simply upset because any repair costs which you never figured would occur now have to come out of YOUR pocket.
If you had full coverage and the repair cost was paid by the insurance company you would be perfectly happy (and then some…) with a brand new door. As a matter of fact, you would probably be demanding a brand new door…


I agree. The shop sees a new car come in and doesn’t expect in a million years that someone would want it fixed with Bondo… If I was the shop owner I would have done the same thing.

I had this happen once. I hit a deer in the neck area and the butt/body portion was swung around into the side of my door. It didn’t look like a bad dent to me but the body shop indicated that the structural integrity of the door had been compromised. They made mention that had the same dent been in a different place, the door would have been repairable. They replaced the entire door with one from a junkyard and had it refinished. They seemed to think that using a factory door was better than using an aftermarket or door shell from the factory.

In my business which has nothing to do with cars, customers who want things fixed on the cheap are typically the problematic ones. They want the best job but want to pay the lowest price. If you tell them it is a band-aid and they agree, you fix it and then they are hopping mad when it doesn’t work. After a few “situations” I either refuse to do these types of jobs or make them sign a form acknowledging they are requesting a “band-aid” repair and that there are no guarantees if it fails which may happen in 2 minutes or 2 years. You would be amazed at how many back out of the job or change their minds and decide to do it right when I tell them this. Their intention was going to be to pull something once the repair failed. It is a lot harder for them to pull nonsense when you have it in writing.

The shop in question has probably had to deal with these types as well and doesn’t even offer a low-end repair. I have eliminated services where 9/10 customers are problematic myself. It just isn’t worth it.


I don’t carry full coverage, but instead carry $1000 deductible on the collision insurance. That practice has saved me money over the years. I do set aside money for my part of the deductible.
I agree with the others to skip the bondo repair and have the job done properly. I have done body repair with bondo, fiberglass, and spray can touch up paint. The repair always looked like the job was done with bondo, fiberglass and spray can touch up paint. I did this to patch up rust holes on old cars that we owned that weren’t worth taking to a real body shop. I only did the repair at the insistence of Mrs. Triedaq. I maintained that the rust holes didn’t affect the gas mileage, so why bother. Leave the body filler to do-it-yourselfers with old cars.


A 3 foot dent/crease on a door is out of the ordinary.

It’s true that modern cars use lighter/higher strength materials/metals than they used to, but on a door skin? probably not.

It very well may be cheaper to replace the door in terms of labor.

Body/paint shop labor has always been expensive. It’s a labor intensive line of work.

When it’s practical to do so.

It’s still used, but using it to fill a 3 foot dent/crease might not be a great idea.

They probably expect the owner to want to be to repaired to as close to as-new condition as possible. Which is reasonable. I bought a new car back in April of 2016. In August of 2016, I was stopped at a red light and was hit from behind by a guy who thought that the light was green. Fortunately it wasn’t bad (impact speed was probably less than 5 MPH). I thought for sure that the rear bumper cover was going to be split, but it wasn’t, though it was chipped. The guy who hit me said he would pay for repairs out of pocket. A police officer showed up, didn’t cite him with anything and just made sure we exchanged information. I got three estimates, all were within $40. To fix the chipped paint it was $700. They had to remove the bumper cover, smooth out any indentations, paint the whole thing, and put it back together again and back on the car. As I said before it’s a labor intensive business.

You have a new car, and don’t carry comprehensive coverage? That’s staggering.

I don’t think you have a firm grasp of what constitutes fraud. Nothing you described suggests that any fraud has taken place. I also get the feeling that you aren’t aware of how much body work costs these days. On a 2018 VW Atlas, if they are planning on replacing the door with an OEM part, labor + paint, I could see that costing at least $2k- closer to $3k if not more if you live in an area with a higher cost of living.


“I made the incredibly stupid decision to skip out on insurance coverage and now I’m mad that a professional won’t do a hack job for me so that I can hold him responsible when the hack job doesn’t look right, and then I’m gonna get mad if he does agree to do it because he’ll, like, charge me money for it and that’s fraud because everything should be free.”


Depending on paint loss you might want to check out a paintless dent repair shop.


Triedaq left the computer logged in, so I am going to respond. Don’t cheap out like Triedaq. Go to a good body shop and have the job done properly. I have spent my married life with Triedaq to try to break him of doing cheap patchwork repairs. Here are some examples:
The old car Triedaq was driving got bumped in the left door. The door still worked and they window rolled down. Triedaq saw a similar car being parted out and wanted to buy a replacement door. The color didn’t match the car at all. I knew he would never paint the replacement door, so I stopped the deal. I would sooner look at the dent than have one door that didn’t match the car.
We had an Oldsmobile that didn’t have a rear window defroster. The Triedaq solution:. Buy two little fans at Walmart in the automotive section. Mount fans (which didn’t even match) on package shelf and connect to switch mounted on dashboard. It did the job, but looked awful.
Heater was not getting warm. Triedaq put a piece of cardboard in front of griil. I did convince Triedaq to replace the thermostat.
One of our previous vans developed a rust spot. Triedaq came home with a fiber glass kit from Walmart. The van was new enough that I insisted it go to a body shop for the proper repair. Amazingly, Triedaq was pleased about how good it looked.
I won’t even go into some of the “fixes” Triedaq has made around the house. One thing I do appreciate though, is that Triedaq can make quick emergency repairs to keep something going. It’s my job to get the proper repairs made so that Triedaq’s “repairs” don’t become permanent.
Mrs. Triedaq


Fun Times, fix it pretty good can get us by. What is pretty good anyway? Nisswa, MN


Triedaq needs to leave the computer logged in more often. It’s always grin-worthy when Mrs. Triedaq shares stories.

This one reminds me of my dad. He was always looking to save money. When I was a little kid we got sideswiped by a guy who somehow managed to lose control of his Bug. Dad got the insurance settlement and immediately put it into a savings account. He got a hammer out and beat the stuffing out of the dent from the inside, which meant his car no longer had a dent, but it did have a big lumpy bump where the dent used to be because Dad didn’t know when to stop. Then he gave up, and the car looked like it had the mumps for the rest of the time we had it.


OP stated the crease was in front and back door. I could have got minimum liability insurance on my new paid for Kia over 8 years ago. I still have full coverage.


Agree with that.


@shadowfax and @Renegade
Let me tell you more about the great deal I was able to make with the person that put the dent in the door of the Oldsmobile I owned that was over 20 years old at the time. The person that ran into the door was a college student who was working a construction job about a mile from our house. He was driving an old pickup truck and was working so he could afford to go to college. He was from a single parent home. His truck slid on wet pavement. He wanted to pay me directly because he was afraid his insurance rates might go up. I had s better idea. Mrs. Triedaq and I were cleaning out Mrs. Triedaq’s parents’ house as we had moved them to assisted living. We had sold the house and what was left inside was not wanted by either us or Mrs. Triedaq’s brother. I was going to rent a truck or trailer from U-HAUL to haul the unwanted furniture to a place that collects useable furniture for those in need. I didn’t relish the idea of Mrs. Triedaq and I moving these items. I then got an idea: the college student that hit me had a pickup and looked like a hard worker. I made a deal: If he would use his truck and help us clear out the house, that would take care of the damage to my car. This student really was strong and I didn’t have to do much lifting, so it saved my back. He also said his family could use some of the items we were going to donate, so we gave them to him. It was one of the best deals I ever made. I saved my back and gained a friend. You can’t do better than that.


I assume that the high reviews come from high standards and quality of workmanship. Slathering bondo over 3 feet of damaged door is simply not compatible with quality of work and high standards. Anything more than a skim coat to fill in surface imperfections is unacceptable in any car, much less a current model year of a high end Euro SUV.

I don’t know what you do for a living, but I hope that you take pride in your craft and do the best and most professional work you possibly can. The body shop was doing just that.


Take a straight edge of some kind and measure the depth of the crease.

If the depth is more than a 1/4", body filler can’t be used.