GTI Cosmetic Surgery Report

I hit a length of semi truck tire on the highway going 70 mph. It did some damage. I asked for opinions on whether to use insurance. Here is what happened next . . .

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The above picture shows what it looked like initially. I actually didn’t think it was too bad. If the car didn’t have 1200 miles on it when this happened . . . because I only bought it two weeks earlier. Grrr.

You can see above that I pushed parts around and got it looking better, such that most people glancing at the car didn’t notice that anything had happened.

I took it to a dealer who thought it might cost US$800-$1,000 to replace the parts. So I was borderline on whether to use insurance, since even though I have only a $250 deductible, I didn’t want my rates to go up. However, I was anxious about the possibility of costs increasing, so I made a claim.

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Two local body shops gave estimates ranging from about US$600 (questionable shop) to $1,300. Then I got a recommendation from someone in the know. I went to the recommended shop and it looked like this:

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The shop only works by recommendation and is filled with customized cars, hot rods, and classics. My people. Check out the Facebook page, which shows some of the cool work I saw: Reflections Paint and Body Works in Belmont, NC.

When I first got there my contact pulled out paint chips for my color but in different levels of texture, which neither of the other shops did with me. We agreed on the right match together. I knew I wasn’t going to have someone overspray my quarter panels to “blend” them! They also estimated the cost at US$1,300.

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It turned out that once the bumper cover was off, they found a cracked radiator mount and also that the air conditioning compressor was dented. These guys looked out for me and put on all new parts, even when the insurance resisted the OEM compressor and wanted an aftermarket one.

All told, the bill was $2,900 (including my deductible), so I am glad I went with insurance. I fear how my insurance rate will change, though.

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It did take three weeks to get done, when we all hoped it could happen in a day. While this may have been due to being a smaller and busy shop, parts supply was slow on the first shipment, there were the additional discoveries, and there was a delay while the shop pushed my insurance for all OEM. I wasn’t worried about the time, though, just the results.

I am happy with the results (first picture and below) and very, very happy to have my fun car back! Nothing like a blah rental to make me appreciate the GTI.

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P.S. When I was picking it up on Friday afternoon, they had just finished touching up this car (below), owned by racer Denny Hamlin’s father, who is apparently a very regular customer. I could post other cool photos from the shop, but that might be a separate post, Cars and Coffee style.

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