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So my neighbor just backed into the driver side front fender on my 2015 Outback :crying:. First new car I've ever owned. She is going to pay for the repair. I've gone to three different body shops for estimates, two want to pull out the, about a salad plate size, dent and then smooth any imperfections with body filler, one wants to replace the whole fender.

I'm not very happy about the thought of using body filler as I live in Tahoe and we get extreme temperature fluctuations and I'm worried that over time the filler may start to crack.

The body guys claim this is not a problem and that to get the fender off they have to pull the driver's door and trim pieces and that to get everything to line up again may be difficult.

Thought I would put it out the the FORUM and see what all of you had to say.

Any body shop guys out there that can chime in?

Thanks
 

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Without any pictures it is hard to give an opinion.
 
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The body guys claim ... that to get the fender off they have to pull the driver's door and trim pieces ...
Not according to the Factory Service Manual, pages EB-18/19. Do these guys have any Subaru-specific experience?
 

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DON'T do anything until you post some images from various angles.

I put two rather large but soft edged dents in the front fender of my 2003 Forester.......I would up getting them completely removed by a Paintless Dent Removal artist back in 2005......

Need to see images first......relax. That dent isn't going anywhere!

Steve
 

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The body guys claim this is not a problem and that to get the fender off they have to pull the driver's door and trim pieces and that to get everything to line up again may be difficult.
Speaking from experience with a repair on my OB, the fender comes off without removing the door. I had a bunch of work done and the fender had to be replaced, I dropped in one day to see the work in progress (which the shop manager was hesitant because some people don't understand the business and have a panic attack). I wanted to be sure it was being done as it should be (I'm not a body tech but do know enough and know how to spot shitty work). Anyways, fender was off, door still on and being prepped for paint at the time.

Bondo is good in winter climates if done right, I wouldn't worry about that.
 

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need pics

I have seen fenders push into the door a little and no one wants to open the door so as to not damage the door, and they want to pull the interior panels a little so they can unbolt the door to pull it right off the car.

don't know if this is the case here though.
 

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I would talk with another shop. I hit a deer when our 15 was 6 mos old. The shop replaced both the fender and the front door. The alignment was perfect. There is no evidence either in or out that the car has been repaired. If this guy only wants to do Bondo, I would question the quality of the shop.
 

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I would talk with another shop. I hit a deer when our 15 was 6 mos old. The shop replaced both the fender and the front door. The alignment was perfect. There is no evidence either in or out that the car has been repaired. If this guy only wants to do Bondo, I would question the quality of the shop.
OP said nothing about using ONLY bondo. When repairing dents it's fairly standard practice to get the metal REALLY close, then use body filler to fine-tune the contours since you're never going to be able to return the metal perfectly to the shape it's supposed to be. Even the best shop will still use some, but it's a VERY thin coat and the product and techniques they have these days are tons better than in the old days when Bondo got its bad rep.
 

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OP said nothing about using ONLY bondo. When repairing dents it's fairly standard practice to get the metal REALLY close, then use body filler to fine-tune the contours since you're never going to be able to return the metal perfectly to the shape it's supposed to be. Even the best shop will still use some, but it's a VERY thin coat and the product and techniques they have these days are tons better than in the old days when Bondo got its bad rep.
Yes, I know how bond works. If the customer wants anew fender, he should not allow a shop to talk him into bondo. The fact the guy thinks you need to remove the door to remove the fender makes me wonder about the quality of the work. Paint will only hid poor work for a short time.
 

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The real question is - what is the neighbor's expectation around cost of repair? Full fender replacement or a quick patch and paint job? And if fender replacement, OEM or aftermarket? If it were my vehicle, I'd want it restored to original condition and if it didn't have body filler, it wouldn't when repaired..... the neighbor is offering to pay for repair to avoid insurance issues and possible increased premiums. Body filler shouldnot even be a matter of consideration. Should the OP try to sell or trade the repair will show up and diminish the value.
 

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Unfortunately, just about any body work will diminish the value of the car. The last car I traded, the dealer trade in form asked it we had body shop work that exceeded $500. You will have more damage from a shopping cart than will be covered by $500.
 

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Exactly. Which is why the OP owes his neighbor no favors by going with body filler. The neighbor is stepping up, so far, but may be expecting an inexpensive solution while protecting their interests ATM the cost of the OP.

As an aside, I've seen more than a few contemporary body filler repairs separate from the metal surface.
 
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