How much to fix the bullet hole in my car?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jul 01, 2003

Dear Tom and Ray:

I live in Los Angeles. I have a '93 Honda Civic Del Sol with 127,000 miles. Last week when I was driving home from work at 75 mph on the southbound 405 freeway, someone in a passing car on my left or someone in an oncoming car fired a shotgun. The bullet, a .40-caliber, went through the door and hit me in the chest, then ricocheted and fell onto my seat. I suffered no injuries. The Special Investigative Unit is now handling the incident. My question is, what is the cost of fixing the bullet hole in the door of this car? How easy is it to do, and is it worth it? What kind of financial impact does it pose to the value of my car if I want to sell it or trade it in? -- Ellen

RAY: Good thing you decided to get those Kevlar implants, Ellen!

TOM: Fix it?? Are you nuts, Ellen?? A bullet pierces the car, hits you on the chest and bounces off! You walk away, completely unharmed! That car gave its own sheet metal to save your life. How could you even think of fixing it?

RAY: Plus, on a more practical level, you'll be a guy magnet with this story, Ellen. Imagine what happens when some guy asks about the bullet hole. You tell him about being shot at, and how the car saved your life. You'll be a celebrity down at the local tavern in no time.

TOM: Most of all, it's a reminder of what could have happened. Every time you get in your car, you'll be forced to remember that you almost didn't make it home that day. It's a reminder that every day is precious and you have to live life to the fullest. So I wouldn't even dream of fixing it, Ellen.

RAY: And since the value of the car is a concern, I'd guess the car is worth about four grand if you fix the hole, Ellen. And $4,100 if you don't.

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