The Anatomy Of A Fender Bender

If you've ever been involved in a fender bender, then you know that it can be an emotional roller coaster. Most people are relieved to discover that the damage to their vehicle is relatively minor after a low-speed accident, only to be shocked as the repair bills climb skyward. While older cars with chrome bumpers could often withstand a minor collision with barely a scratch, modern vehicles tend to require significantly more work after even small amounts of damage. This increased cost is primarily due to improved safety standards and high-tech equipment, but that's often cold comfort when you are faced with a major bill.

If you are curious why the damage to your bumper costs so much to repair, keep reading to learn a bit more about the components likely to suffer in low-speed collisions.

It Starts With the Bumper

The bumper on your car is most likely plastic, with material underneath that helps to absorb energy during a collision. The bumper is attached to your vehicle with much stronger bumper brackets which should generally not suffer damage in a low-speed accident. Since your bumper is made from plastic, serious dents can rarely be removed and cracks cannot be repaired. A bumper that has been compromised in these ways must always be replaced, and this is often the bulk of the cost of the parts for any fender bender. Bumper replacement costs can range from a few hundred dollars up to several thousand, depending on make and model.

Accessories Add to the Cost

The bumper is designed to protect sensitive parts of your car, but a damaged bumper can often mean destroyed headlights or taillights. If your car is equipped with LED or HID lights, then the cost to replace a single unit may be several hundred dollars. Self-leveling lights can even cost over a thousand dollars to replace. Options such as reverse cameras, corner cameras, or park distance sensors can rapidly add up, as well.

Painting Isn't Cheap

Finally, replacing your bumper and its associated components isn't the last step to getting your car back on the road. New bumpers are shipped to body shops in unpainted form, and they must be prepared and then properly painted to match the rest of your car. Fresh paint always looks noticeably newer than old paint, even if your car is only a few years old. To match the paint, body shops will generally blend between panels to reduce or eliminate the appearance of mismatched colors. This painting and blending process is highly skilled work, and it can often make up a large portion of any repair bill.

Even if there is no mechanical damage, a minor accident can quickly lead to a major repair bill. Because the cost of getting the job done is so high, contact an auto body repair shop to ensure that the work is done quickly and correctly.