What's the price of road rage?

Updated 26 Jan 2018 – By Contributor - Faye Kwan


Just within the past couple of weeks, there were three incidents of unprovoked aggression, rude gestures and most recently, violent assaults involving vehicles. These have been circulating on Facebook, with over 4 million views combined. Although fellow Malaysians are outraged over the discourtesy of the bullies, their comments left on both videos wouldn’t bring much help to lessen the trauma experienced by the victims.

These footages may serve as evidence in a police report, but justice is rarely served by officials in incidents like these. Most times, citizens have to take matters into their own hands—and that involves paying for their own car damages. In the case where this ill-fated incident may happen to you, here’s what you should know and financially prepare yourself for.

What factors contribute to car repair costs?

1. Brand of car

The brand of your vehicle plays the biggest role in determining the total damage expenses. Foreign cars may have better reputations as well-built vehicles, but some come with parts that are costly to replace, difficult to source and need to be ordered in advance. Certain automobile manufacturers also require special skills to repair, which may not be available at your average workshop.

2. Quality of workmanship

This refers to the the fixing process and the finishing touches added to your car. A workshop’s rates per hour may seem pricey, but bear in mind that not all that labour money goes into their pockets! Good mechanics invest money in maintaining the workshop’s equipment as well as purchasing new tools, and experienced mechanics charge higher prices for their qualified services.

3. Currency exchange rates

Repairs for foreign cars aren’t always at a fixed price, due to the ever-fluctuating exchange rates. For example, the prices of Honda car parts change slightly once every few months to reflect the exchange rates of Ringgit Malaysia against the Japanese Yen.

Road rage repairs*: No laughing matter

1. A fallen/dented bumper = RM1,400

Repairs for bumpers don’t come cheap, due to the amount of work that goes into it. Mechanics have to detach a series of other car components such as the lights and warning systems. If your bumper is beyond fixing and needs to be replaced, a raw bumper typically costs RM700. The subsequent installations, clips, screws and paint jobs that come with it would cost an additional RM700.

2. Scratched doors = RM500

A simple way for road bullies to satisfy their anger is to ‘key’ your car. It may seem like a minor attack, but car keys are capable of scraping the paint and leaving deep gashes. There’s no need to replace the entire door, but preparation as well as the quality of paint and clear coats will bring different prices and results.

If cheaper paint is used, it could begin flaking off after a few months. Similarly, poor-quality clear coats would cause the paint to fade faster. Auto paint is expensive and depending on the colour of your car, could be hard to find and match, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.

3. Damaged bonnet = RM700

Many road rage cases result in a dented bonnet, due to the kicks and punches that come from fits of fury. If it’s a slight dent, it could be knocked back into place. Otherwise, you’d have to pay for an entire replacement plus a paint job.

Some workshops might try to lessen the expenses by not painting the inside of the hood, but others would insist on doing a proper job to maintain their reputation.

4. Dented door = RM700

Similar to a damaged bonnet, slightly dented doors can be knocked back into shape after removing the inner lining. The rest of the price you pay goes to the patching, spray painting and clear coats to make your car look good as new.

5. Broken side mirror = RM680 per piece

The shattered glass might only cost RM100-200, but should you find yourself driving with the entire piece hanging off the side of your car after encountering a violent individual, be prepared to pay RM600+ to replace the entire part. The fixing process shouldn’t take too long, but some vehicles might require mechanics to take apart the door to install the mirror.

6. Cracked windshield = RM900

While some aggressive motorists may throw soft slippers your way, others could endanger you by hurling heavier items — such as rocks — that’ll shatter the glass of your windshield. The price depends on your car’s model and the size of the crack: smaller cracks could be repaired for a cheaper price, but you’ll have to replace the entire thing if there’s been extensive damage. This’ll set you back RM800, with an additional RM100 for a sealant.

7. Broken headlamp = RM650

Fixing headlamps is generally the same process for all cars, regardless of the brand and model. Compared to other parts of the car, the headlamp is easier to replace and could even be done at home. However, functional headlamps are an essential component in driving, especially when it’s dark. As such, it’s always best to send it to the professionals to ensure your safety as well as the best performance from your vehicle.

8. Damaged tail light = RM400

Working tail lights are extremely important when it comes to driving, because broken ones could endanger other lives on the road. Car lights are sold as an entire unit, which is comprised of the lens and bulb. The price to replace a broken tail light varies according to the model and brand of your car.

It’s recommended to allow the workshop to pre-order the original parts instead of purchasing them online yourself, as a good lens will help reduce the glare of your car’s tail lights, making it safer for other motorists driving behind you.

*All prices listed above are based off the average repairs for a standard Honda City, using original parts from an authorised dealer and not including the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

To conclude

Hostility is toxic behaviour and brings no benefits whatsoever. Unfortunately, it takes many different kinds of people to make up the world, and where there’s good, there will always be bad. Let these incidents be a reminder to stay aware of your surroundings and lock your doors when on the road.

With that said, let’s try not to pick fights and be kind to one another during this Bulan Ramadhan. If you happen to make your way to a bazaar some time this month, remember: always drive safe!

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