Real bad scratches on a black '08 Toyota Yaris. Can this be self-fixed by somebody with no real skills, or are we out $700?
Back in July, my wife decided to see how the Yaris would stand up to a stress test against a concrete pillar in an underground parking lot: it should come to a surprise as nobody that the pillar won. The result is scratches that cover the top of the wheel well for about a palm's width up, some damage to the plastic protector around the base of the door (vertical part, shin-height) and a couple of minor scratches on the door.
I was hoping it was cosmetic damage, but the aesthetics people referred me to a body shop, and I have two estimates, $650 and $800, to repair the damage. Which is kind of stunning, but I'm not a "car guy." A $500 deductible makes it barely worth it to go through insurance, especially since we have a "get out of jail free" card (one accident that won't affect our rates) and I don't want to blow it on a $150 difference.
I'm tempted to try to self-repair, with instructions like these
, but I don't want to screw things up even worse. Also complicating things is the fact that it's already November, and very cold outside, making for uncomfortable and possibly unsuccessful work if paint requires the car to be over a certain temperature.
The scratches definitely go through the paint. There's some urgency here, as once winter hits, road slush (mostly salt) will probably start rusting away the body of the car.
Honestly, with a $700-after-tax estimate as the good
one, I'm not sure if I could
screw things up to the point that it'd be more expensive to fix. But spending a weekend outside in 40-degree weather working on something that will prove ultimately futile doesn't appeal either.
So: gouged paint on a relatively new car. Fixable by a shmuck? Or worth $700 to repair?