Why I’ll Never Fix That Dent in My Car

Lanny and I have talked extensively about our disdain for owning a car, forking over a monthly payment for a depreciating asset, and dealing with all the random costs and annoyances that come with owning a car.   Well, a half a year ago, I caused some self inflicted damage to my car and have a massive dent to show for it.   This time, I drew a line in the sand and determined I am not spending my hard earned money for the repair!

How Did It Happen?

When I moved into our current duplex, I noticed that a portion of the dining room was wider from the rest of the house.  This extra portion occupies some valuable space on our already narrow one-car driveway that my wife and I share with the other tenant.   To protect his house, our landlord installed two metal poles on each side of the dining room to protect his investment.  For the longest time, I thought it was ridiculous.  Surely this was overkill, right?  Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that those metal poles play a very critical role in protecting his investment from tenants like me.

I’m not a morning person and I usually struggle to put a coherent sentence together before I drink my morning cup of coffee.  One day, I was backing out of a driveway and I became distracted.  No, it wasn’t my phone.  I am usually pretty good about not using my phone while driving.  This morning, I was fixated on the new car my neighbor purchased and was trying to figure out what type of car he bought.  Yes, I was laughing to myself about how expensive cars are and how I hate the fact that I spent so much money on mind.   After driving for over ten years, I aligned myself while backing out and began focusing on my neighbors car instead of my own and made the assumption that I could remain aligned while solving this un-important mystery.

CRASH!  Yep, that was the next sound I heard.  It turns out that my car started veering off course and I was not paying close enough attention to realize I was slowly heading towards those worthless metal poles.  Oh the irony.  Now, I fully understand why my landlord installed them and I respectfully agree with his decision to install them.   Luckily for me, I was going very, very slow.  So the damage was not that terrible.  However, I now have this really ugly dent close to my tail light and bumper.  The bumper was still attached and my tail light was still intact….I was very very luck and I know the damage could have been much worse.

Why am I not fixing it?

I’m not a car person nor am I very handy.  But are there really that many Jewish people that are?? (Kidding, kidding)  Fortunately for me, my mom’s boyfriend loves cars and knows a lot about them.  So the first thing I did was call him and shamefully admit what I had done.  He re-assured me that I was lucky that the damage was not worse because if I broke my tail light I would have been legally mandated to repair the damage and I obviously couldn’t drive if the bumper was detached. And neither of those repairs are cheap.   My next line of question focused on potential long term damage to my car and the ramifications of not paying for the repairs.  After an in-person inspection, he once again told me how lucky I was and that the risk of the boneheaded accident  causing serious damage or accelerating rusting was very low.  His final advice was if I can live with the damage and the eyesore, I didn’t need the expensive, multi-thousand dollar cosmetic repair.

My decision…OF COURSE I’M NOT GOING TO FIX IT.  If the repair is cosmetic, will not impact the life of my asset, and will be expensive, why on earth would I spend the money?  It hit me a while ago and my feelings about it have accelerated a lot recently…but who really cares about the appearance of your car?  Who cars if there is a dent?  I have driven it plenty of times for work and I have not had one co-worker or client complain to me.  In my opinion, this repair is a sunk cost.  It is funny, I feel like I would be angrier looking at my repaired bumper that cost thousands of dollars to fix versus a dented bumper that I never had to repair.

When I was making my decision, I realized what was most important to me.  To me, I would rather save as much as possible and keep on growing my dividend income or paying down our student loans.  Focus on building assets that appreciate in value or focus on relieving yourself of expensive debt.   That’s the name of the game and we say it every time here…EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS.   Every thousand dollars I spent repairing my car was about $30-$50 less in annual dividend income going forward.  This repair could have cost me triple digit dividend income if the repair were as expensive as my mom’s boyfriend was describing it to be and I would be that much farther away from achieving my dividend income goals for the year.   That is a trade-off I was not willing to take.  Not for a cosmetic flaw in an asset that I barely want to own.   That my friends, is why I am never going to repair that ugly, eyesore of a dent in my car!

Going forward, I am going to start evaluating decisions with a similar mindset.  Is the cost really worth it?  Would I make that decision to spend again a few months from now?  Do I really need what I am going to buy?  Well, that’s the plan anyway.  Seeing a situation like this will always help me focus on saving and serve as a great example when I’m questioning myself about whether I need to spend or can forgo something expensive!

What are your thoughts on m situation?  Would you have spent the money and repaired your car?  Would you even own a car if you didn’t have to?  Has a situation like this happened to you before?



22 thoughts on “Why I’ll Never Fix That Dent in My Car

  1. I had a similar situation a few years ago when an 18 wheeler decided he wanted to be in my lane more than I did. When he merged over he pushed the rear drivers side corner portion of my car until it rotated directly in front of his truck and he was pushing me down the highway as I was sideways. Anyway, other than the drivers side mirror getting torn off the rest the car was merely cosmetic damage. They ended up ‘totaling’ the car since it’s not worth repairing and I took their check for $5000 and bought stocks with it. I’m still driving it today and the damage isn’t even nearly as bad as yours. I’m kinda hoping someone hits me again. LOL

    • Holy smokes Captain. Glad to hear you are okay after that battle with the 18 wheeler. I am still laughing at the fact that you turned that situation into passive income. That’s how you unlock the true value in your car, right?? haha


  2. Ciao Bert,
    I am a “car hater” too. Not so much for the actual use of a car, which is almost essential in a standard family nowadays, but because I see it as a huge waste of money, and most importantly, time. My car has a lot of exterior damage too and I am never going to repair it, really I do not care if it looks bad, as long as it does its job of taking me from point A to B.
    Ciao ciao

    • Stal,

      I see we are in the same mentality about the car. All that matters is it drives you somewhere and you can take care of what you need to. It is essential nowadays, which sucks. So it is all about making a smart decision, right? LEt’s see what my wife and I choose here when her lease expires and we decide to buy a car.


  3. I actually like my car but it’s because I drive a subaru in a land filled with snow so it keeps me safe on the roads. My girlfriend also recently got into a car accident in her and came away largely unscathed due to all the modern safety features(her car was a 2006 so not super super modern) which gave me a new appreciation for how important now having a POS is when it comes to driving. We’re all saving for retirement and it makes no sense to drive a dangerous junker if we can avoid it.

    I do agree however that cosmetic stuff is unimportant to me. If I had a small dent that didn’t cause any structural damage and the car was still safe to drive then I totally wouldn’t fix it either.

    • TITM,

      In that case, yes, you need a nice car like a Subaru. Perfect for that kind of weather and terrain. Glad your GF is okay! I agree with what you said. There is a fine line between being frugal and being reckless. And I definitely am not selling my car for a beater anytime soon. To me, that would be too much of a drastic change. Rather, I’m more focused on buying a modest car that will last forever and age like a fine wine. Hence why I bought a toyota with my last purchase.


  4. Ooops…..
    I can see your decision not to fix it, but if you ever have to sell (for whatever reason), it might actually hurt you. keep that in the back of your mind.
    We actually had a car scare too the last few months. Something to do with a windshield……posted the story on Monday, have a read if you’d like.

    • Team CF,

      Very fair point about the resell value. However, my plan is to hold on to this sucker until she cannot drive anymore. But someone else mentioned that I should try to suction the dent out to make it look better, so that is always an option. I’ll definitely be swinging by when I have a moment to check out your windshield story. Hopefully everything is okay.


  5. Did I miss something in the post? What about insurance covering this? Less deductible, of course. Isn’t this why we have costly insurance? While I agree that a car is a big expense and often a major drain on finances for many, there are ways to “drive right.” You can get a very good car for under $15k or less even. It can be two or three years old and a Honda or NIssan. Who says you need an $80K look at me car? Also, despite the costs, hassles, etc. of owning a car you have to admit it offer a huge convenience. Everything has a cost. Whether it’s at the gas pump or maintenance. Waiting for a bus, in the cold or rain, also has a cost. Driving on your schedule is a benefit. Driving on City Hall’s schedule is a cost.

    • Divhut,

      I don’t want my insurance costs to increase as a result of this. I know it is the point of insurance, but this was my fault and will not be covered under my accidental clause. Now when my car’s hood was damaged because a huge chunk of snow flew off of a truck and landed on my car…absolutely I went through insurance. Or when the guy hit my car while I ran into the grocery store and he didn’t have insurance…of course. But this one wouldn’t quite fall under the same clause and I don’t want to lie about it.

      Agree 100% with your Drive Right philosophy. I never considered buying used when I bought this car. I wanted new but reasonable. However, I could have saved several thousand dollars if I sacrificed the first few years of my cars life.

      Time is a huge factor with public transportation as you mentioned. I could make it work like other bloggers have. But it just isn’t convenient or time conducive in Cleveland to take public transportation 100% of the time. That’s a price I am definitely not willing to pay.


  6. Good call! We got a bunch of hail damage on my car a couple of years ago. It was really just a lot of tiny dents on the roof and hood, but there were 30-40 of them. After some research we learned that hail damage was covered by our insurance but was not a claim that would raise your rates! We got ~$4,500 back in insurance, invested it, and our auto policy actually went down the next year. Win all around. A car is a tool, not an investment.

    • Chelsea,

      That’s awesome! Glad it worked out. I had a similar situation with snow and was pumped when my insurance told me the same story. That’s how you turn a rotten situation into a gem! Thanks for sharing your story. I’m loving these.


  7. I agreed that you didn’t have to take it to the shop. However, I think you can make your car looks a little better with $6 suction cup.

    I had some dent on my door, and I bought a suction cup and I fixed the dent to almost un-noticeable. I just went to Lowes and get the 6 inch tile suction cup, for a smaller dent, they recommended a smaller one, but I couldn’t find a small one that could do the job. There are some youtube videos though.

  8. It has to do a lot with your personal situation. We had some damages to our former car, but knew a local guy that could repair it for not too much. Also insurance could be a solution, like DivHut mentioned. My mother clashed with a lamppost a few months ago. And after calling the insurance company, it turned out the cost would be covered.

    If you have to pay that much money as you describe… well, it might be a wise decision to leave the dent as it is.

    • I wish I knew someone or had an in with a car dealer/repairman haha You and Divhut have inspired me to give my insurance company a call and at least see what they say after I press them on it. What’s the worst that happens, they say no? Thanks for the comment.


  9. Bert,

    Great story, I feel much the same way!

    I’m currently driving a 2003 Dodge Ram pickup that is literally falling apart as rust takes over from all of the salt used to de-ice roads in the winter. My oldest son like to pick pieces of rusted metal off the wheel-wells. When he talks to people he says his dad’s truck is old and rusty, but still “has a good frame”.

    I bought it new shortly after I got my engineering job after college (before my DGI days), and now nearly 14 years, a marriage, and 3 kids later it still keeps chugging along. 11 years now without a car payment!

    Best wishes,


  10. Fair enough Bert. I’m not sure if we would have fixed it either. We only have 1 car between us – I take public transport to my work everyday so we don’t need 2 cars. Works for us 🙂 We bought second hand and would buy second hand every time.


  11. HALLELUJA. I hate owning a car, and before I moved to a state with shoddy public transportation, I was proud to NOT own one. They’re an enormous pain in the butt and a huge money suck. Even if you’re running it into the ground (I plan to drive my current car for 12 years at least) it’s still hard to be a frugal car owner.

  12. No one wish to spend its hard earned cash haphazardly. So, when you ever meet an accident, you have to first find the depth of the damage. If you want to retain the credit by avoiding the repair, finally you have to perish for that. It comes in handy, when you have a car mechanic friend or someone who knows about the vehicle more. He can suggest you, the damage should be repaired or not. If yes, how and where. If no, the proper reasons are comprehended to you. At last, you will be the winner of the game.

  13. A dent might be a cosmetic problem. But if it stays for a longer period of time, then it will reduce your vehicle’s worth. Also, leaving a minor scratch will allow rust to form. Sometimes, it can be more than cosmetic. Thus, an operative can never take this dent repair commotion for granted. Rather he should fix the dents timely, as getting the scratches repaired ensures that you are not leaving a greater problem unnoticed. Thanks for this handy message:)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *