can dealership fix paint chips

Can Dealership Fix Paint Chips

Paint chips and small scratches on a car’s exterior can significantly detract from its appearance. While they may seem like minor imperfections, fixing paint chips is important to maintain your vehicle’s value and prevent further damage.

Many car owners wonder if going to the dealership is the best option for repairing paint chips and scratches. This comprehensive guide will examine if dealerships can fix paint chips,

the pros and cons of using a dealership, what the repair process entails, alternative repair options, and tips for preventing paint chips in the first place

Can Dealerships Fix Paint Chips?

The short answer is yes, most dealership service departments can repair paint chips and minor scratches on your car’s exterior paintwork. Dealerships have trained technicians and the necessary tools, paint colors, and materials to fix chipped paint properly.

Most dealer auto body shops offer paint less dent repair, spot paint repair, and full body repainting services. They can match the original factory paint color and application techniques to make paint chip repairs virtually invisible.

Can Dealerships Fix Paint Chips?
Can Dealerships Fix Paint Chips?

Benefits of Using a Dealership for Paint Chip Repair

There are several advantages to having paint chips and scratches fixed at the dealership:

Factory Color Matching – Dealerships have access to your automaker’s original paint formulas and can precisely match colors, metallic flakes, and pearlescent pigments. This ensures a seamless repair that blends with the surrounding paint.

Manufacturer Training – Dealership technicians are trained in factory repair procedures and methods. They know how to prep and apply the paint properly based on your car model.

Specialized Tools – Dealers have specialized tools, materials, and paint booths designed for your vehicle make and model. This allows them to blend, buff, and polish the repair smoothly.

Warranties – Most dealer paint repairs come with a warranty. This guarantees their workmanship if the paint chip reappears prematurely.

Convenience – You can schedule the paint repair when bringing your car in for regular servicing. This is more convenient than driving to a separate collision shop.

Service Records – The paint chip repair will be logged in your vehicle service records and CARFAX report, helping retain resale value.

Benefits Of Using A Dealership For Paint Chip Repair
Benefits of Using a Dealership for Paint Chip Repair

Potential Downsides of Dealership Repairs

  • Cost – Paint repairs at a dealership frequently cost more than independent body shops. Labor rates are usually higher at the dealer.
  • Inconvenience – You may need to leave your car at the dealership for several days based on their schedule and workloads.
  • Variability – The quality and expertise of technicians can vary between dealerships, even within the same automaker. Ask to see examples of their work.
  • Pushy Upsells – Some dealers may try and upsell you on additional unnecessary services when you just want a simple paint repair.
  • Limited Services – Dealerships typically focus on smaller paint repairs. For repairs over a few panels, you may want a dedicated collision repair center.
Potential Downsides of Dealership Repairs

How Much Will It Cost to Fix a Car’s Chipped Paint?

Minor harm: $70-$150

Small paint chips, minor scratches less than 2 inches long, or light scuffs can typically be repaired by dealerships for $70 to $150. This assumes easy color matching and minimal blending into surrounding paint.

Moderate damages: $150-$400

Moderately sized chips up to 1-2 inches, longer scratches, paint transfers, or repairs needed across multiple adjacent panels often range from $150 to $400 at dealers. More extensive blending and color matching is required.

Damages Are Serious: $450+

For extensive paint damage spanning most panels from collisions, vandalism, or major scratches, repairs at dealerships usually start at $450+ and often reach $1000 or more. This may qualify for insurance coverage depending on your policy.

The exact cost of paint chip repairs varies based on the location, type of paint, number of panels needing work, technicians’ time, and whether premium colors or effects are involved. But these price ranges give a general idea of what to expect.

How Much Will It Cost To Fix A Car’s Chipped Paint?
How Much Will It Cost to Fix a Car’s Chipped Paint?

What Does the Paint Chip Repair Process Entail?

Assessing the Damage

The first step in repairing paint chips is assessing the extent of the damage. This initial examination will determine the scope of repairs required. Take a close look at the affected area to understand the severity of the paint chips.

Cleaning the Area

Before any repairs can begin, it’s crucial to thoroughly clean the damaged area. Remove dirt, debris, wax, grease, and other contaminants to ensure that the new paint adheres properly. Solvents may be used to remove any lingering oils.

Prepping the Surface

Prepare the surface by sanding the exposed metal or primer where the paint is missing. Additionally, feather and sand the edges of the existing paint around the chip to create a smooth transition, ensuring the repair blends seamlessly.

Applying Primer

Apply a primer to the sanded area, providing a base layer that promotes paint adhesion. Whenever possible, match the primer color to the original factory primer. It’s better to apply multiple thin coats rather than one thick coat for a more professional finish.

Applying Touch-up Paint

Once the primer has dried, it’s time to apply color-matched touch-up paint. Apply the paint in thin, multiple layers, allowing each coat to dry before adding the next. Blend the layers into the surrounding paint using feathering techniques for a uniform look.

Applying Clearcoat

To achieve an even, glossy finish that matches the factory look, apply 1-2 thin coats of clearcoat over the repainted area once the color coat is dry. Clearcoat not only enhances the appearance but also protects the paint.


After curing, gently buff and polish the area to blend the paint repair into the surrounding surface and restore an even gloss. Be cautious not to over-buff, as it can damage the newly applied paint.

Checking Work

Examine the repaired area from different angles and in various lighting conditions to ensure a seamless color, texture, and gloss match with the surrounding paint. Any necessary touch-ups can be addressed at this stage.

Pros And Cons

1. Convenient work location1. Potentially higher labor costs
2. May be covered under warranty2. Longer wait times for repairs
3. Use correct OEM paint for color match3. Less schedule flexibility
4. May experience upselling of other services
Pros And Cons

Other Paint Chip Repair Options

Independent Auto Body Shops – Local collision repair shops can often match the original paint at a lower hourly rate than the dealer. Quality can vary greatly, so read reviews and ask to see examples of their work.

Mobile Paint Repair – Some companies will come to your home or office to repair paint chips, saving you a trip to the shop. Convenience comes at a price premium.

Paint Chip Repair Kits – You can buy DIY paint chip repair kits at auto parts stores for very minor touch-ups. But it’s extremely difficult to match the paint color and properly blend repairs.

Touch-Up Pens – Dealerships sell touch-up paint pens in your car’s color for small chips. But the paint often doesn’t match well or last. Better for temporary spot concealment.

Other Paint Chip Repair Options
Other Paint Chip Repair Options

Tips for Preventing Paint Chips

Use touch-up paint on chips as soon as they form to prevent rust and lifting. Install paint protection film or clear bras on common chip-prone areas like hoods, fenders, and mirrors. Park away from other cars that could open doors into yours. Be aware of Tight squeeze areas.

Wash your car frequently using the two-bucket method to remove debris that could scratch the paint. Apply a ceramic coating, which forms a clear protective layer over the paint.

Avoid driving behind trucks or vehicles that could kick up gravel and stones onto your car. Get regular wax treatments to help protect the paint’s clearcoat from the elements.

Other Paint Chip Repair Options
Tips for Preventing Paint Chips

additional details I can provide about dealerships fixing paint chips and scratches:

The Costs

Minor paint chip and scratch repairs at a dealership typically range from $100 to $400+. The cost depends on factors like the repair’s size, location, color matching complexity, and how much blending into surrounding paint is required.

Larger repairs spanning multiple panels or the entire car generally start at $1000+ at dealers. Extensive collision damage repairs will cost many thousands.

Independent body shops often charge $40-60 per hour for labor compared to $60-100 per hour at dealers. But shop quality varies greatly.

DIY Challenges

Matching today’s complex metallic, pearlescent and tri-coat paints using low-cost DIY paint chip kits is extremely difficult for non-professionals. The paint often differs in color, finish or texture.

DIY kits don’t include the additives needed to flex and adhere to today’s chip-resistant paints. The paint may flake or peel off repaired areas.

Proper blending to hide the transition between the repair and original paint requires specialized tools, materials and techniques.

Diy Challenges
DIY Challenges

Prevention Tips

Park in garages when possible to protect the paint from sun, sap, bird droppings and other environmental damage. Wash your car at least weekly, more often if driving on salted winter roads which can corrode paint. Use high-quality soap and mitt.

Don’t scrub or scour paint hard when washing. This can leave micro-scratches and swirls that dull the finish. Clay bar the paint 2-3 times per year to remove stuck-on contaminants that washing alone won’t get rid of.

Keep the paint protected with regular waxing or sealing every 3-6 months. This provides a sacrificial barrier against the elements.

Does Insurance Cover Paint Chips?

In most cases, minor paint chips and scratches will not be covered by your car insurance policy. Comprehensive and collision coverage apply to damage from events like vandalism, hail storms, car accidents, etc. Wear-and-tear maintenance issues like chipped paint are not covered.

Some key points:

Small paint chips and scratches from daily driving are considered normal wear and tear, so you’ll pay out-of-pocket. If the paint damage resulted directly from a covered comprehensive or collision claim, it may be covered under that claim’s repairs.

Even deductible waivers typically don’t apply to minor paint flaws since they are not sudden/accidental damage. Your rates normally won’t go up from paint chips since they are not considered at-fault accidents.

Does Insurance Cover Paint Chips?
Does Insurance Cover Paint Chips?


Is it expensive to fix chipped paint on a car?

Fixing chipped paint on a car can be expensive depending on the extent of the damage. Small chips may only require touch up paint that costs $15-30. Larger chips or scratches may require sanding, priming, and repainting a panel which could cost $200-500 at an auto body shop. The cost rises for multiple panels or if the color needs to be matched.

Does car warranty cover paint chips?

Most factory warranties do not cover paint chips or scratches that occur after purchase. These are considered normal wear and tear. Some extended warranties may offer paint chip coverage but usually only within the first 12 months and up to a small dollar amount. Check your warranty terms as coverage varies.

Can a detailing fix paint chips?

A professional auto detailing can improve the appearance of minor paint chips but not completely fix deep scratches or chips. The detailer can use touch up paint for small chips and then buff and polish to blend the paint. Severe scratches will still be visible and require body shop paint work.

Do dealerships cover up scratches?

Dealerships typically will not cover up scratches for free on used cars they are selling. They may offer paint less dent repair services for a fee. On new cars, the dealership service center can fix scratches under the factory warranty if caused by a defect. But they will not fix scratches for free that occurred after purchase.


Paint chips and minor scratches are common on used cars. When shopping for a used vehicle, it’s important to carefully inspect the paint for any flaws. Small paint imperfections like chips and scratches can potentially lead to bigger issues down the road if left untreated.

Most car dealerships have the capability to repair minor paint chips and scratches prior to selling a used vehicle. They often have an on-site auto body shop or at least a dedicated reconditioning team that can perform small paint repairs.

This is done both to improve the appearance of the vehicle and to prevent further deterioration of the paint. The process for fixing paint chips involves first cleaning and smoothing the chipped area, usually with sandpaper. Next, touch-up paint that

precisely matches the original factory color is applied in thin layers and blended into the surrounding paint. A clear coat finish is then applied over the repainted area. Done properly, the repair can be nearly invisible.

While dealerships can easily fix small chips, more extensive paint damage like cracks, peeling, or faded/oxidized paint may require a more involved paint job or new paint coat. This level of repair is often too costly for dealers to undertake.

In summary, most dealerships have the tools, materials, and skilled personnel to repair minor paint chips and scratches on used cars. This repair process allows them to improve the appearance of the vehicles they sell and prevent further paint degradation.

However, more major paint flaws may be beyond their capabilities to cost-effectively fix. Careful inspection of paint should still be part of any used car purchase.

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