TTAC contributor David Holzman writes:
My brother Tom’s Prius has been suffering neglect: a scraped door here, a tear in the bumper there, and my heavens, enough dirt to coat all the government buildings in the Washington DC metro area, where Tom lives and works, and pretty soon a two year old Prius is looking like a common beater. He has no plans to fix all this ugliness, but if there’s a logical, cost-benefit case to be made, he will definitely be swayed, as will his wife.
Will this cosmetic disrepair affect this fine car’s longevity? Is there any other cost-benefit equation at work that might way on the side of some bodywork? Not to mention a trip to the car wash every now and then? Please give me your thoughts, and then let the multitudes on TTAC provide theirs!
All the best, –David
Cosmetic imperfections are important when you sell a car…or look for a soul mate. If you are doing neither, looks aren’t important to many folks. And that’s cool. I wouldn’t be heartbroken if someone gave my 2011 Ranger a good smack in the front, so I can replace the quasi-tough guy front fascia with that of a 2000-ish Mercury Mountaineer. Then I’d have a Mercury Ranger, or Manger.
Well then! Back on topic: if you don’t care, and don’t care about resale/public perception, a dented door is no biggie. Neither is a plastic bumper in disrepair. Your brother’s current problems are too minor to really worry about. At least for now.
Yes, the door will get worse, rust and eventually get rust holes in multiple places in the door. But the rot stays inside the door and thanks to the beauty of online junkyard databases, it’s no biggie. A new (used) door is in order, 10+ years from now, and all the labor involved in switching window parts, etc. And since white is an easy color to find and easy to match, getting a replacement that needs zero body/paint work is very likely.
If the damage was in another place (quarter panels, floorboards, etc), my tune shall change. But, when you consider the opportunity cost of fixing up a Toyota Prius instead of tackling a home improvement project, college education, hot stock tip, etc instead of the dent repair…well, I’m not gonna judge your brother for caring about other things than his ride.
It’s a Prius, bought (presumably) with his money. Cosmetic issues are just that: cosmetic!
Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:
To some extent, pouring money into a heavily depreciating asset is kinda stupid. If he’s neglecting an antique (loosely defined) vehicle, oh my damn son, he’d deserve a right thrashing from you. But it’s hard to justify the drama for not adoring a late model Prius.
Send your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.