There is nothing positive in finding one’s car has been dented, whether it is a minor dent or a major one. And while I often curse the man or woman with the terrible parking job that takes up two parking spaces, I guess deep down I actually understand. As a matter of fact, I secretly wish that I was the person taking up two parking spots.

When it comes down to it, you never know who is parking next to you and whether or not they are going to be as careful with their car door as you are with yours, or if they have kids that are going to slam their doors right into your car, or if the wind is going to pick up and that door is going to go flying into your car before anyone can catch it. Not to mention all of the environmental and unforeseen factors that can lead to car dents; rocks kicked up by other vehicles, hail, cats that like to jump on your hood to keep warm, kids on bikes that are not paying attention to where they are going, distracted motorists, etc.

So now you have a dent in your car. Not only is your day ruined but there are other adverse effects to consider, effects that may or may not have crossed your mind. Considering the average length of car ownership is 4-6 years (based on the article Average length of U.S. vehicle ownership hit an all-time high published online by Kelley Blue Book on 2/23/2012), you may be wondering how dents affect the resale value of a vehicle. The answer is not good. Dents negatively affect resale value. Period.

Why are dents such a big deal? Well, esthetically speaking, they do not look nice. I’ve never heard someone exclaim how a dent has added a better, more refined depth of beauty to the body of their vehicle. So dents will be the first thing a potential buyer or admirer will notice. First impressions are lasting impressions and, unfortunately, despite low mileage, impeccable interior and a sound engine, even minor dents can mean the difference between buying and/or selling. As for the loss you may take on the resale value, it is hard to say. It can depend on the color of your car, how inconspicuous the dent or how desperate the buyer.

Dents can also lead to salt deposits and eventually rust. Essentially an easy fix just got more complicated, not to mention that your repair costs just went up. Rust has many ill effects on the integrity of your vehicle including paint and structural damage. While a dent can be ignored, rust is something better addressed sooner than later.

Alas, dents are bound to happen to even the most careful of us. It’s what we choose to do about them that will set us apart. After the initial anger and pouting has passed, electing for minor dent repair may be the better, less costly option. Not only is it preventative care but it may save you (or earn you) a few dollars in resale down the road. Some dents you may even be able to remove yourself with household items such as a blow dryer or a plunger. However, if you want your car looking like new you may want to contact your local body shop for an estimate. Until then, perhaps we will cross paths in the back of the parking lot while giving each other the evil eye for taking up that extra spot.