How much does car bodywork cost? We seek to answer this common question
One of the most common questions we get asked is how much do car bodywork and body repairs cost? Of course, there are a large number of variables that may impact the amount you pay to get your car back up to standards. First, prices vary from garage to garage. As with any industry, there are businesses offering similar services in a competitive market. Factors such as location, reputation and aftercare therefore account for a wide variation in pricing structures. In some cases, you will receive the service you pay for – some of the lower priced bodyshops will use low budget products in a less than suitable environment. For example, ‘Smart’ body repairers will come to your house and carry out body repairs outdoors, usually under some sort of tent. Whilst this may be a cheap alternative to garage-based services, the finish is hard to replicate and the repair is unlikely to last for a long period.
That being said, some garages charge higher rates for the same work you will receive elsewhere. Often this can be due to location, demand, reputation and their own overheads. The price you pay, however, is not always illustrative of the service you receive. There are many bodyshops, such as Allied Automotive, that offer the same level of service as some of the more ‘expensive’ bodyshops, for a greatly reduced price. Reduced overheads, fewer staff and a reluctance to suffer the demanding pricing structures of the insurance companies means these companies can offer a high level of service for a relatively low cost. On that basis, it is worth searching around for a body repairer that offers high levels of service for a reasonable price – a balance between quality and cost will be the best choice for any consumer.
Despite the disparity in pricing across a huge number of bosyshops, it is possible to give a ‘rough idea’ of how much you should be expecting to pay for body repairs. Here we provide three common examples (dents, bumper scuffs and scratches) that will help to guide you through the market, and make sense of fair pricing and quality.
Minor dents can often be repaired through ‘cold repair’. Cold dent repair involves the skilful use of bars, levers, punches and suction to remove small dents without damaging paintwork. Parking dents are the perfect example of dents that can be repaired ‘cold’. In most cases, you will not be able to see any signs of repair, dent technicians are often experienced professionals with years of practice to master their trade. Expect to pay anything from £60 upwards for a good quality cold repair, which will usually include more than one dent.
In the case of more extensive dents, full bodyshop services are likely required. Cold repairs are useful for small, accessible dents, but for larger, inaccessible dents filling and painting will be necessary. Of course, such additional work incurs additional time, materials and subsequently, cost. It is very difficult to suggest a figure for major dent repair – there are too many variables that may impact the cost involved. For example, the size of the repair, the requirement to blend adjacent panels and the use of pearlescent paint can all impact the price you pay. As a rough guide, however, you can expect to pay from £250 per panel for these types of repair.
As with dent repair, there are many variables that may impact the price you pay for bumper scuffs. Modern cars often have low, plastic bumpers, vulnerable to scuffing on kerbs, walls and other cars. The extent to which the bumper is damaged, however, will impact the price significantly. For example, light scuffs on one corner of a bumper may be relatively easy to repair – with prices starting from £150. More significant repairs, however, including cracks, major stone chips and removal/refitting will more towards £250 and up. In some cases, bumpers can be beyond repair, and the only option is to replace with new or second hard parts.
Scratches are one of the most annoying and eye-catching ailments to our vehicles today. They do, however, come in two distinct forms. First, light scratches, such as those caused by car washes are not deep enough to penetrate the paint. In many cases, these light scratches, which are no deeper than the protective lacquer, are able to be machine polished out. Using a ‘MOP’ (machine operated polisher), light scratches can be polished and removed from your paint work. Mopping also brings life to old paintwork, providing a deep shine and removal or tar and stains. To MOP a scratch can start from as little as £30, but expect to pay from £100 to MOP and polish an entire car (the results can be mind-blowing!).
Not all scratches can be polished out. Once a scratch has gone through the protective lacquer coat, it will penetrate the colour coat and permanently mark your car. In this case, painting and refinishing will be required. The repair of deep scratches, such as key scratches, will usually involve machine sanding, priming, flatting and re-painting of the surface affected. All of this work takes time, and subsequently costs money. Significantly more materials are used, and in many cases, due to the location of scratch marks, multiple panels may need painting and blending for colour match. You can expect repairs of this nature to start from £175, but the extent of the work required will heavily influence the price you pay.
Hopefully, this short guide has helped to guide you through some of the services you may require from a bodyshop. Remember that not all work is equal, and you should not always go for the cheapest price. Neither should you believe that the most expensive quite will produce the best results – it is often the businesses in the middle that will suit your needs best. Our bodyshop in Barwell, near Hinckley in Leicestershire is one such business. If you would like a free, no obligation quote, please visit our contact page for details.