Cosmetic repair, especially on older vehicles, can sometimes run owners a fair amount of money. In some cases, it may cost more than the vehicle is worth (see our blog on What To Do If Your Vehicle is Declared a Total Loss). Although not all cosmetic repairs are necessary, there are certain ones that must be made in order for vehicles to remain street-legal, to pass inspection in certain states, and to avoid a police-issued repair order.
Below are some of the most essential cosmetic repairs that need to be done should the situation arise.
Cracked or Chipped Windshields – Despite the fact that you may be able to see out of a cracked or chipped windshield, it is still very dangerous to drive with this damage. Even a small crack or chip can easily become something much worse and more dangerous just by exposure to the elements. In cold, wet weather, water can get trapped in cracks and chips. When the temperature drops, that trapped water will freeze and expand, causing the crack or chip to widen or lengthen. Over time, small areas of damage can grow to become large and dangerous obstacles that impede your vision while driving. In addition, dirt and oil from the road can get in those large cracks and cause even more vision hazards for driving. In some states, it is mandatory that the entire windshield be replaced if a crack or even a chip is in the driver’s line of vision. In those states, if the windshield is not replaced, the vehicle will not pass inspection.
Head and Tail Lights – Head and tail lights are essential to the safe operation of your vehicle. When driving, almost all of your decisions depend upon what you can see outside of your vehicle. Therefore, your headlights are essential when driving in inclement weather or at night. Sunlight, gravel, sand, ice, and even calcium deposits from rock salt can damage headlights and impede your ability to drive safely. Tail lights are equally important because they notify other drivers of when you are braking, turning or changing lanes, and backing up.
Side-View Mirrors – As we mentioned above, your ability to see what’s happening outside of your vehicle is essential to driving safely. The ability to see on either side of your vehicle is necessary for turning, changing lanes, judging distance when parking, and safely backing up. Damaged or missing side-view mirrors make your vehicle a hazard to others on the road and can result in disastrous consequences.
Bumpers and Fenders – Repair to damaged bumpers and fenders must be a priority because they can obstruct your vehicle’s ability to make sharp turns, causing tire blowout. In addition, cracked or torn bumpers can be made worse by the friction of the wind while driving at high speed. This situation could result in an accident if the bumper is torn off or falls off and becomes an obstacle to others on the road.
Some cosmetic repairs are just that – they make your vehicle aesthetically pleasing and help maintain the vehicle’s resale value. But others are essential to your safety and the safety of others, as well as your ability to keep your vehicle legally on the road. We highly recommend making the repairs listed above as soon as possible. In addition, it is advised that you research what other repairs are necessary in your state for your vehicle to remain on the road legally.
Let us know in the comments section if you think there are any essential repairs we may have missed or share any past experiences in having to get these repairs done. We always appreciate your input!
*image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org