Car Scratch Repair Cost [& Average Removal Cost In 2023] (2023)

Owning a car means you are faced with a number of expenses that you may not have prepared for. Since you probably care about the appearance of your vehicle, it is important to repair car scratches as quickly as possible. In addition, a quick repair can prevent the damage from getting worse. But, how much does it cost to repair car scratches?

In this guide, we’ll discuss what affects the cost and show you some ways you might be able to repair small scratches on your own for less. We also talk about whether car insurance providers cover the cost of repairs and reveal ways to prevent scratches from happening in the first place.

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How Much Does A Car Scratch Repair Cost?

With so many different types of scratches that occur, it’s difficult to estimate a cost. For a small scuff or scratch, you may only spend $150 to get it repaired, while deep paint car scratches can easily tally up to $1,000 or more, especially if body parts need to be replaced or repainted.

Now that we know the quick answer to car scratch repair, let’s take a look at the factors that affect car scratch repair costs.

Factors Affecting Car Scratch Repair Cost

1. Type of Scratch

One of the largest factors affecting the repair cost is the type of scratch that has occurred. If you are looking at a simple scuff or scratch in the clear coat, you probably won’t have a hefty bill. These are the most simple to repair and typically happen from either debris or rocks that are stirred up while driving.

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If the scratch reaches the primer of the vehicle, you are going to spend more. Thankfully, most of these don’t make it all the way to the metal, which is a blessing. Tree branches and car accidents can cause these types of scratches, requiring some sanding and painting to be repaired.

The worst issues are the deep paint scratches. Because metal shines through these scratches, every paint layer needs to be repaired. You only deal with these types of scratches if you have been part of a massive collision or vandalism, so it’s not a common issue.

2. Make/Model of Car

While the type of scratch is going to have the most profound effect on the cost, the type of car you drive also matters. Not all technicians are trained to work with every car make. This is especially the case if you are working with a German luxury brand or a high-end sports car. In these cases, you will need to pay more for a specialized auto body shop.

Additionally, the parts needed for the vehicle could cost more on some models. It’s also difficult to match paint on a few rare models. If you drive a common vehicle, your chances of keeping the cost down are much higher.

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3. DIY vs. Professional

It’s possible to fix a lot of minor scratches on your own with some simple products. We will discuss these options in-depth in just a minute. If you can go this route, there’s a lot of money that can be saved. However, if you don’t know what you are doing, you could do more damage, so that’s something to consider.

On the other hand, there’s always the option to visit a professional repair shop. If you find a local auto body shop, you should be able to spend a little less than at most dealerships. Still, you want to choose a reputable establishment to work on your vehicle, so you might consider spending a little extra.

4. Location

If you go the professional route, you must also consider where you live. Auto body repair labor rates vary based on the region you live in.

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For example, getting work done in a busy metropolitan area could cost double the amount as it would in rural America. It might pay for you to travel a little bit to a remote location if you want to save a few dollars.

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Do It Yourself Car Scratch Repair Solutions

If there’s just a small scratch on your paint, not deep enough to go to the metal, you can actually sometimes remove it yourself with a few basic tips. Here are some methods on how to remove car scratches yourself.

1. Toothpaste

Toothpaste is one of the top home remedies for car scratch repair. You want to choose whitening toothpaste that’s slightly abrasive. It should operate similarly to fine sandpaper.

With a small dollop on your microfiber cloth, you work the toothpaste into the scratch, moving in a circular motion. With a minor scratch in the clear coat, you should be able to smooth out the surface until it looks like new again.

2. Wax

Wax isn’t just for preventative measures. You can also use high-quality car wax to remove surface scratches.

A good wax is going to fill the scratch with a protective layer that helps it disappear. It also prevents any future damage from occurring.


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3. Polish

If you are dealing with scuffs, swirl marks or oxidation, car polish can help. Make sure you invest in a high-quality polish for the best protection.

Follow the instructions on the product you choose. When used right, you can remove minor blemishes and help the paint look perfectly sheened for a like-new appearance.

4. Paint Repair Kits

You can also find high-quality scratch repair kits on the market or through your auto parts store. These kits range in complexity, depending on what type of scratch you are dealing with.

Some include some wax and polish, while others have sanders and fillers for you to use. There is also the option to get a corrective paint pen if you need to fill in a larger scratch. If all else fails, visit your local dealership for an exact match.

READ MORE: 10 Best Car Scratch Removers

Does Car Insurance Cover Scratches?

If your car has been scratched, you may want to see if your insurance will cover the repairs, so you can avoid paying more than necessary. Depending on your policy and the reason for the scratches, you may be in luck.

If the scratch happened because of an accident or vandalism and your plan covers those incidents, you can have it paid for. However, you will still be responsible for the deductible, which could end up being more than the repairs if you are simply looking at a scuff.

How To Prevent Car Paint Scratches

1. Carefully Choose a Parking Spot

The place you park has a profound impact on the integrity of your car’s paint. If you park somewhere that sees a lot of pedestrians or sits close to other vehicles, you are putting the vehicle at risk for damage.

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You may consider parking in a nearby garage and walking instead. You can also scout out some quieter parking lots or park further back from a store where there isn’t as much traffic.

It’s not just people and cars that can lead to damage. UV damage, bird droppings and tree debris also face threats to the paint. If you can’t park in a garage at home, consider investing in a soft-touch car cover.

2. Clean Car Properly

By taking the time to clean your car, you can keep the paint in its best condition. While cleaning the car is important, it’s also critical that you know how to keep it looking its best. During an at-home car wash, you could actually create more damage than good.

If there is dirt and debris sitting on the car surface and you wipe it with a cloth, you can create scratches. To prevent this, you want to rinse down the entire surface before getting started. This is another reason why it’s important to avoid automated car washes because the sponges can transfer dirt and cause damage.

3. Drive Safely

By remaining accident-free, you also prevent scratches from occurring. It’s often beneficial to take a defensive driving course and these don’t generally cost a lot of money.

Obviously, you should also follow all traffic rules, such as abiding by speed limits. On top of that, stay alert to your surroundings to predict any mistakes that other drivers might be making while distracted.

4. Apply Protectant

There are multiple protectant solutions that can be used after you wash your car. With a ceramic coating product, nano-coating is applied to protect the paint from corrosion, scratches and UV rays. While it does cost a little bit of money, the savings you receive from not having to repair the paint is priceless.

You can have these products put on with your professional car wash. Otherwise, do some research and apply a high-quality protectant right at home.

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Learn more:

  • How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car?
  • How to Get Paint off a Car (5 Ways)

Categories:Estimator, Paint


How much does it cost to remove all scratches from car? ›

At a dealer, the cost to remove a car scratch can range from $150 to $1000—double the amount for repairs to the hood or doors. Auto body shop: Most independent auto body shops should fix all scratch levels, offering various repair options for different damage degrees.

Is it expensive to fix scratches on a car? ›

Once a scratch reaches the paint layer, the entire area will need to be sanded, buffed, and repainted, which means even a small paint scratch can be expensive to fix. Scratch Wizard estimates that these types of scratches can cost anywhere from $400 to $1,000 or more to repair.

What is the cheapest way to fix a scratch on a car? ›

Most light scratches can be fixed by polishing the clear coat with a rubbing compound. It will remove the damaged layer and leave your paint looking good as new. If the scratch is deep, you may need to sand the area before polishing it. It will remove any rough edges and make it easier to apply the compound evenly.

Does car detailing remove scratches? ›

Car detailing can hide minor scratches through polishing, waxing, and sealing, but it cannot help with deep scratches. For repairing such a car scratch, you need to get professional services for your car's paint.

Do dealerships buff out scratches? ›

How do dealerships fix scratches? they will either buff them out or touch them up. Cars with deeper scratches go to the body shop for repair and repainting as needed..

How long does it take to fix a scratch on a car? ›

Small cosmetic damage usually does not require much time to repair. A simple scratch in the paint, or a golf ball-sized dent in a panel, will take about 4-5 days (for the first panel, and 1-2 days extra per additional damaged panel), from dropping your car off to picking it back up, to fix.

Are scratches covered by car insurance? ›

Yes, you can claim insurance for car scratches and dents in India. However, it is advisable not to do so as it may become an expensive deal for your future motor insurance premiums.

Does WD 40 get rid of scratches on cars? ›

One common use for WD40 is to remove car scratches. Given that it is designed to dissolve water, WD40 can help break down the pathways that scratch create on clear coat finishes. This makes it easier to buff out the scratch with a polishing compound.

Is it better to fix scratches on a car before selling it? ›

On the other hand, there are some minor repairs you can make to increase the selling value of your vehicle. Small dents and scratches may be worth popping and buffing out. If you have worn tires, it would also be worthwhile to put new ones on. People won't want to buy a car with tires in bad shape.

Why does toothpaste remove scratches? ›

Paste-based toothpaste acts as a mild abrasive that levels out the scratch, removing it or making it less noticeable. It's important, however, to proceed with caution: Use the wrong technique, and you could dull the finish or create more scratches, worsening the problem.

How do you get a big scratch out of a car? ›

Buff It Out

The simplest way to execute this step is by purchasing a car scratch repair kit. These typically come with a polishing compound and buffing pads. Simply pour the compound onto a microfiber towel or buffing pad and rub the scratch with the polish, working in small, tight circles.

How deep of a scratch can be buffed out? ›

In the automotive industry, there is a RULE of THUMB. If your thumb can't catch the scratch then it can be buffed out easily using Toothpaste as it's only on the clear coat of paint and if not then you need to go out with a car scratch repair kit or repainting because it's way too deep to buff out.

What is considered a deep scratch on car? ›

Deep scratches on a car, or primer scratches, extend down into the primer layer and often into the bare metal of your car. To fix a deep scratch on a car follow these three steps: Clean and fill the scratch. Apply a new layer of enamel paint and clear coat.

What kind of scratches can be buffed out? ›

Small scratches can usually be rubbed out with polishing compound. The rule of thumb is that if your fingernail doesn't catch on the scratch, it's just a superficial clear coat scratch that can be smoothed out and made invisible.

How do dealerships hide scratches? ›

If they are light scratches. they will either buff them out or touch them up. Cars with deeper scratches go to the body shop for repair and repainting as needed..

Why is it best to repair scratches on a car soon after they happen? ›

Scratches this serious should be looked at as soon as possible so as to avoid any further chipping of the base coat from happening. If scratches this deep are left for too long without being repaired it could also lead to rust damage.

How much does it cost to repair deep paint scratches? ›

Auto body shops will charge you anywhere from $400 to $1000, and it does not matter if the repair is a small one: once it hits the paint layer the entire part must be repainted. This deep scratch penetrates all 3 layers and reveals the exposed metal.

What happens if you leave a scratch on a car? ›

No matter how big or small the scratch, it has the potential to seriously damage your entire vehicle, costing you even more money over time. That's because your paintwork is there to protect your vehicle, and exposed metal can lead to rust.

Should I report scratch to insurance? ›

In short, yes, auto insurance will cover scratches. However, the scratches have to be caused by a covered peril in your policy, like a car accident or vandalism. And depending on your deductible, it may not be worth filing a claim. Kara McGinley.

How much does it cost to get a touch-up paint job on a car? ›

For minor paint chip, scratch, and scrape repair, you'll pay between $150 and $250 for all of the damage they can fix on your vehicle. Touch-up is great for small, shallow chips and scratches. Dent repairs will cost about $75 per panel.

Do I have to tell insurance about scratch? ›

Even if you don't file a claim for a dent or scratch, you should still notify your insurer of it. Many insurers require you to inform them of even minor damage to your vehicle. Failing to do so can invalidate your policy and lead to future claims being rejected.

Can I use magic eraser on my car? ›

While Magic Erasers can come in handy for removing dirt and grim from your car's cupholders and dashboard, don't use them to polish the outside of your car. The eraser's abrasiveness can do damage to your car's paint.

What home remedy is good for car scratches? ›

Make a paste out of baking soda and water and apply it to the affected area with a clean cloth. Rub the paste into the scratch circular motion and then rinse it off with clean water. You may need to repeat this process a few times to see results.

Does Turtle Wax rubbing compound remove scratches? ›

Use anytime on unsightly scratches & blemishes. Turtle Wax Scratch Repair and Renew contains powerful, ultra-fine polishing agents that quickly cut and remove scratches in the clear coat.

What should you not do when trading in a car? ›

Common mistake #1:
  1. Not having any idea of your car's trade-in value.
  2. Trying to make your car “showroom ready.”
  3. Overestimating your car's worth.
  4. Not mentioning your plans to trade-in up front.
  5. Not getting more than one offer for your trade-in.

Should you wax a car with scratches? ›

By using car wax on your car, the clear-coat layer of the paint will be masked by incorporating an even coat of wax, which in short can mask the scratch but will not eradicate the scratch entirely - only make it less noticeable.

Do car scratches affect trade in value? ›

Trade-in evaluators at the dealership expect your used car to have a few minor dings and scratches. Your trade-in value shouldn't be significantly affected by them. But, if some of those dings aren't minor or there are a lot of them, then they can affect the trade-in value. It's the same with scratches.

Can you remove car scratches permanently? ›

If the scratch is deep enough to catch your fingernail, it will likely need to be repaired by a professional. However, if the scratch is not as deep, you may be able to remove it yourself with some elbow grease and the right products.

Can a body shop fix scratches? ›

Even a small scratch will usually run no less than $150 – $200. A body shop can often perform the work cheaper than a dealership. There are three different types of paintwork repairs to scratches used by body shops.

Is it worth fixing scratches on car before selling? ›

Body touchup: Does your vehicle have any minor dings or scratches in the bodywork? This can be an easy fix and is usually worth repairing. A car that has a flawless body will look more cared for and retain a higher value when being sold or traded in.

How long does it take to get scratches out of car? ›

Small cosmetic damage usually does not require much time to repair. A simple scratch in the paint, or a golf ball-sized dent in a panel, will take about 4-5 days (for the first panel, and 1-2 days extra per additional damaged panel), from dropping your car off to picking it back up, to fix.

Does rubbing polish remove scratches from car? ›

If the scratch on your car barely catches your fingernail, a polishing compound should do the job. There are specific polishing compounds made to remove scratches from cars, so that would be the best option. If the scratches are larger and deeper, a rubbing compound would be the better choice.

Is car scratch covered by insurance? ›

Yes, you can claim insurance for car scratches and dents in India. However, it is advisable not to do so as it may become an expensive deal for your future motor insurance premiums.

How do you tell how deep a scratch is on your car? ›

An easy way to tell is by running your fingernail across the scratch. If it catches, chances are it needs some extra attention. Deeper scratches, however, go past the clear coat into the paint and require more effort to fix, many times by a professional detailer.

How much does it cost to buff out scratches and dents? ›

The dent repair cost may range from $50 to $2,500. Although that's a broad range, most small dents that are roughly an inch in size may cost around $50 to $125. Small indentations may come from a flying rock or piece of hail. Dents stemming from a collision are typically larger and cost $150 or more.


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