This year, one of my New Year's resolutions was to become more of a DIYer. I was in a fender bender a few weeks back (not my fault) and insurance just cut me a check for the repairs. This car is a junker/winter "beater" (2002 Toyota Corolla), and so, rather than bring it into a collision center I'd like to see if I can do the repairs myself. The worst that happens: I blow all the insurance money and wind up not being able to repair it at all. I can accept that.
Since I'm (clearly) not a gearhead, I'm not sure what to call the different components here. So before I get to the damage that needs to be fixed, here's what I'm calling everything:
- In the pictures above, there is what I am calling the "main headlight"; this is the primary light that turns on/off and has highbeam/lowbeam capabilities
- To the side of the main headlight is what I call this the "side light"; it is yellow and seems to be a foglight of some kind
- You can see damage to the metal body around the side light
- You can see damage done to the edge of my hood
So the punchline:
- The plastic covering over my passenger side light was smashed, but the electrical (and even the bulb) are perfectly fine and still work
- The whole side light unit around the bulb (see pic above showing the side light unit hanging by cables) is completely loose and is held in place by duct tape
- Even the main headlight unit (plastic covering, housing around the main headlight) is loose
- Damage to the metal body around the side light, as already mentioned
- Damage to the edge of my hood, as already mentioned
My game plan:
To fix the body damage, from the research I've done, I need to:
- Sand down any crumpled slivers of metal that have protruded up; probably using an angle grinder
- Use Bondo to fill in all the cracks, dents and depressions in the metal, and to shape it (probably using some kind of molding material) just like it should look
- Try to find a matching paint and spray it on
We have a good used car parts shop in town; I'm hoping I can find replacements to the side light covering, and hopefully they just snap back on to the housing unit somehow. As for fastening the side light housing/unit back into front of my car (so that I can remove the hideous duct tape currently holding it on!), and as for securing the main headlight unit (again, its a little loose), I would think that metal screw applied at the correct/appropriate locations should do the trick.
- Body damage
- Is my approach right (sand, Bondo, paint) or am I missing any crucial key steps?
- What type of angle grinder (I should be able to buy a decent one with the insurance money)? What kind of pad/head (I assume there are different kinds)?
- Any special surface preparation for the Bondo?
- What kind of paint? What kind of sprayer?
- Is my approach right (used plastic parts)?
- Recommended approach to snapping these used plastic parts back on to the light unit, and how to fasten/secure the units back in place?
Remember, this is not a Ferrari, this is a junker, and I have no real desire to get any real trade in value out of it in a few years, whenever it dies. It's value to me is that it drives me from
A -> B. That said, I don't want my car held together by duct tape, and anything I can do to prevent rust and other down-the-road problems is of concern to me.
Thanks in advance for any help/insight whatsoever.