How to Estimate Car Damage Repair Costs
Even if you don't know anything about cars, you can estimate the car damage repair costs before taking it to a mechanic. Here's a simple guide to help you know what to expect before you take the car to a shop.
Where Is the Damage?
Damage to the body can be something as simple as a paint pen which would run less than $20, to something as big as a complete roof or hood which can run in to the thousands. You can generally determine how a big of a job the repair will be by simply inspecting the damage closely. Is it on a part of the car that is easily removed? Will the small dent require removing an entire door? Check to see where the pieces seam together, and you can get an idea of what parts will be needed.
For damage internally you can usually do a simple Internet search with the symptoms to come up with a few ideas of what could be wrong with the car. With that much in mind, you can start to call around to get an idea of the price of the parts needed.
What Kind of Car?
The make and model of the car can make a huge difference in the price. Parts for a 1998 Toyota Camry will be much easier and cheaper to find than parts for a Maserati GranTurismo. Often times, you can find junk yards that have the parts you need for the repair if you have a common vehicle. Owning a specialty or luxury model can make repairs much pricier as the parts are harder to come by.
The type of car will also play a part in the cost of labor. Specialty cars will usually require you to have them repaired at a shop that works only with that make and model. Because of this the costs are dramatically higher.
Original Part or After Market?
A car with a lot of customization will cost more to repair than a standard, stock car. If the repair you need is to one of the aftermarket parts, you can expect to pay a premium for both the new part and the repair. Aftermarket parts may also require you to take the repair job to a specialist, and the labor will usually end up costing more.
Many times, if the repair is simple, you can save a ton of money if you can repair it yourself. Purchasing the parts yourself and having a friend do the labor will shave quite a bit off your overall bill as well. If you have any friends or family that are back yard mechanics, you may even be able to get a simple job done for the cost of parts alone.
Keep in mind that, in some cases, a backyard fix might not be sufficient, and you may ultimately need a certified mechanic. You can save a lot of hassle and money later by knowing your limits. Some things need to be done at a shop.