The first car dent is the hardest. A new car, a shopping cart and a strong breeze or an inconsiderate shopper, and suddenly there’s a divot where before there was once a smooth line. Then come the questions, first and foremost “Why me?”

After the shock fades, there are decisions to be made. Repair? Ignore? We all know there will be more down the line, so maybe this is just the first battle scar our beautiful machine will bear. Maybe we get it fixed, but in the back of our minds we know there will be another. What’s to be done?

Can we live with it?

As it turns out, there are many factors when deciding what to do. Number one is cosmetics. Can we live with the dent? Does it take away from our enjoyment? Does it add character? If we are going to sell the car at some point, a dent will possibly lower the value of the car. How much depends on the potential buyer. Some people see dents and dings as an indicator on how well the car was taken care of. Some people would never take those things into consideration. So, the possible repair is a personal choice.

Car dent with paint damage?

Number two is a bit more serious. Depending on how deep the dent goes, there could be some damage to the paint. If there’s a crack in the paint then it’s possible the metal is going to be exposed. That little amount of exposure can be the start of a rust problem. Once rust takes hold, it can spread. Most newer cars have some under-paint protection as well, but if it’s exposed long enough, it’s just a matter of time. If there’s a chance that the metal is exposed, then there’s really no choice but to have it repaired professionally. When it comes to rust, there really is no compromise.

Even though a ding can be a little inconvenient, it doesn’t have to be permanent.