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Don't let car damage leave you even further out of pocket

 Published 19th July 2019
Driver Guides 

You've done your supermarket shop, navigated your way through the checkouts, and forced the wonky wheels on your trolley to go in the only direction they seem determined to avoid. You finally make it back to the car only to see some inconsiderate clown has decided to use the side of your car as a doorstop and left a lovely little souvenir in your immaculate paintwork.

It's only a little dent, it's not too bad, it's probably not worth worrying about, you can always get it fixed another time.

Said nobody with any sense.

Yet that's exactly what most of us would do under those circumstances. If it was a significant dent we'd be straight on to the insurance company and getting it fixed asap, but it's only small so it ends up still being there six months later; 12 months later; two years later...

It's human nature to put off those small jobs that don't seem urgent. But that could be exactly the wrong thing to do, and for some very good reasons.


When it comes to car maintenance safety is always the top priority. Even small dents can hide underlying structural damage that isn't obvious on the surface. Maybe the small car park ding in the door isn't the best example but damage can occur beneath the surface from even seemingly minor bumps at low speed. For example, today's flexible bumpers are designed to minimise damage in low-speed collisions, yet the fact they can spring back and often look almost undamaged could hide underlying issues that may be much worse than it looks on the surface.

Nobody wants to compromise on safety so it's always worth checking even the most minor bumps just in case they are hiding something more serious. If you happen to have your car on a four-year lease you could even find yourself driving an MOT failure by the time it enters its fourth year.


None of us would deliberately choose a car that was covered in dents, it just doesn't look good. Even small dents that may not be too noticeable may be causing problems beneath the surface. When you ignore the damage that occurs with a dent, the paintwork isn't going to get better on its own.

Cracks caused by even a very small impact can allow water to seep underneath the paint where it will reach the unprotected metal part of the car. This can lead to flaking and peeling allowing more water to get underneath the surface until the metal beneath begins to oxidise, causing rust. All of a sudden that little dent that wasn't worth worrying about is now an unsightly mess of bubbled paint and rusty streaks.

Reduced value

No matter how well your car runs, the exterior appearance is a vital factor when it comes to resale values. Unrepaired damage, even if it appears minor can drive down the price. More importantly unrepaired dents are often a sign of a neglectful owner. Potential buyers may wonder what else is wrong with the car and what else you didn't take care of properly. It's particularly important if you're trying to sell your car to use the proceeds towards the initial rental against a new car lease.

If you've already moved to a car lease, unrepaired damage could make a big difference to whether you walk away from the lease with a smile and a handshake or an enormous repair bill.


Repairing car dents right away will always cost less than waiting. If there's an exception to this rule we are certainly not aware of it. It doesn't take long for rust spots to appear or paint to start flaking away from dents and scratches. In times of bad weather, or if there's a lot of salt in the air, the damage will spread even faster.

It's possible to pull out minor dents without having to mess around with the paintwork as long it's done quickly. Leave that same dent for a few months and it could mean a costly respray instead. Who in their right mind deliberately ignores the option of a small repair bill in favour of a massive one?

No, didn't see any hands going up in the air for that one.


Forget about the rust and the cost and the safety for a moment. If you care about your car's appearance even a little bit it just doesn't make sense to leave a dent unrepaired. So, the next time someone opens their car door into yours or you bump into someone else when parking, don't wait. Get the damage assessed and repaired by experts.

Keeping on top of minor damage to your lease car is the same as making sure you keep up with the servicing. Returning a lease car at the end of the term with dents and scrapes all over it will not only land you with an expensive bill for end of lease charges but it will also ensure your face takes pride of place on the office dartboard.

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