Can Dealership Fix Scratches?

Can Dealership Fix Scratches?

Getting scratches and scuffs on your car is inevitable. No matter how careful you are, minor cosmetic damage will occur over time from things like shopping carts, car doors, debris on the road, automatic car washes, etc.

While small scratches and scuffs may seem harmless, they can add up and make your car look worn if left untreated. So can your dealership help fix these unsightly blemishes? Let’s take a closer look.

What Causes Scratches and Scuffs on a Car’s Paint?

There are many culprits when it comes to scratches and scuffs on your car’s exterior. Some of the most common causes include:

Shopping Carts – The metal edges and sides of shopping carts can rub up against your car’s paint in parking lots, causing light scratches and swirl marks.

Car Doors – Opening doors on other vehicles next to yours in parking lots can result in paint damage if they swing open too wide and make contact.

Road Debris – Gravel, rocks, sand, and other debris kicked up from the road can get flung at high speeds onto your car’s paint. Over time, these particles scratch the clear coat.

Automatic Car Washes – Although designed to safely clean your car, the brushes and materials at automated wash stations can still inflict light surface scratches.

Keys and Belt Buckles – Accidentally brushing up against your car’s exterior with your keys or belt buckle when entering or exiting your vehicle will leave fine scratches.

Bird Droppings – Believe it or not, the highly acidic nature of bird droppings can eat away at paint and clear coat when left for any length of time.

Normal Wear and Tear – Even frequent washing and waxing can’t prevent the inevitable minor scratches and swirls from daily driving. The sun’s UV rays also degrade paint over time.

What Causes Scratches And Scuffs On A Car's Paint?
What Causes Scratches and Scuffs on a Car’s Paint?

Can the Dealership Repair Scratches and Scuffs?

The good news is that dealership service departments offer paint and body repairs, including scratch and scuff removal. Trained auto body technicians have the expertise to assess the severity of the damage and recommend the appropriate repairs.

For very minor scratches, dealerships can often simply buff them out gently with polishing and compounding. This involves using specialized buffing tools and abrasives to smooth the clear coat surface while carefully removing only the topmost paint layers.

However, if the scratches are deeper and penetrate down through multiple clear coat and paint layers, more extensive refinishing is required. The technicians will use touch-up paint pens and airbrushes to fill the scratches before sanding and re-spraying the area with new clear coat.

Dealers also have the specific factory colors and paint codes to perfectly match the existing exterior color of your car when they repaint scratches. You won’t have to worry about any color mismatch. Any body work is then blended seamlessly into the surrounding paint for a uniform finish.

Can The Dealership Repair Scratches And Scuffs?
Can the Dealership Repair Scratches and Scuffs?

What is Paint less Dent Repair?

Along with scratches and scuffs, dealerships can also repair minor door dings and hail damage using Paintless Dent Repair techniques. This revolutionary method pushes dented metal back to its original form from behind the panel using specialized tools.

The paint is left completely intact. PDR allows body shops to remove dents and dings without sanding, filling, or repainting, saving time and money. The results are often

so flawless that you’d never know a dent was there in the first place. Many dealership service departments now offer Paint less Dent Repair for minor cosmetic repairs.

What Is Paint Less Dent Repair?
What is Paint less Dent Repair?

How Much Does It Cost for Dealerships to Fix Scratches?

The costs associated with scratch repairs at dealerships will vary based on the severity of the damage, vehicle make and model, and labor rates at your local dealer. However, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to over $1000 for common scratch fixes:

  • Light Buffing: $50 – $200
  • Touch-up Paint: $75 – $300
  • Paintless Dent Repair: $100 – $500
  • Spot Repainting: $200 – $800
  • Full Panel Repaint: $500 – $1000+

The more extensive the repainting required, the higher your labor and materials charges will be. Luxury vehicle paintwork also tends to cost more.

To give you a better estimate for your specific situation, always request a free inspection and quote from the dealership body shop before authorizing repairs. Some even offer free buffing or touch ups if you have your car serviced with them regularly.

You can also ask if using aftermarket or recycled OEM parts would lower the costs, though this may affect any factory paintwork warranties. Checking your car insurance policy can determine if filing a claim helps offset dealership scratch repair bills.

How Much Does It Cost For Dealerships To Fix Scratches?
How Much Does It Cost for Dealerships to Fix Scratches?

Benefits of Using the Dealer for Scratch and Scuff Repairs

While you can also use mobile paint repair services to fix minor scratches and scuffs, there are some advantages to having the dealership perform the repairs instead:

  • Factory Color Matching – Dealerships have your exact automaker paint code for a flawless color match. Other shops may have to guess or approximate the right shade.
  • OEM Parts – Dealers use original manufacturer’s (OEM) paints and materials designed specifically for your vehicle. Aftermarket or non-OEM parts may not provide the same level of quality or durability.
  • Manufacturer Standards – Technicians are trained to meet factory standards and procedures to ensure repairs look original and last. Independent shops have varying standards and methods.
  • Warranty – Most dealers will back their body shop repairs with a limited warranty against any defects in materials or workmanship. This provides peace of mind that the job was done right.
  • One-Stop Service – You can get cosmetic repairs done when you take your vehicle in for scheduled maintenance without making multiple trips to different shops.
  • Brand Perks – Some automakers provide free minor scratch and dent repairs as part of their ownership perks. It never hurts to ask!
Benefits Of Using The Dealer For Scratch And Scuff Repairs
Benefits of Using the Dealer for Scratch and Scuff Repairs

Consult Your Owner’s Manual

Your owner’s manual will have paint care instructions specific to your vehicle. Following the proper washing, waxing, polishing and cleaning processes can help

minimize swirls and prevent further scratching. The manual also advises against using any abrasive or harsh chemicals that could damage the finish.

Schedule Scratch Repairs Sooner Than Later

While you can drive around with minor scratches and scuffs without issue, it’s wise to get them repaired sooner than later by your dealership. Light scratches not treated

promptly can allow moisture, dirt and debris underneath the clear coat. This can lead to oxidation and rust if left for prolonged periods. Addressing scratches quickly prevents further deterioration.

Ask About Paint Protection Options

To help prevent future scratches and scrapes, ask your dealer about clear bra paint protection film. This durable, nearly invisible urethane film is professionally installed across the front of the car and vulnerable painted surfaces.

The clear bra acts sacrificially, protecting the underlying paint from bug splatter, road debris, automatic car wash brushes, and more. Keeping the car wrapped in this protective skin reduces the need for scratch repairs.

Ask About Paint Protection Options
Ask About Paint Protection Options

Maintain Your New Paint Job

Once you have the dealership repair any scratches, dents or scuffs, be sure to care for your car’s refreshed exterior properly:

Wash weekly using the two-bucket method with a soft microfiber mitt to avoid new swirl marks. Wax every 1-2 months with a premium carnauba or polymer wax for added protection. Remove bird droppings quickly before acid etches the paint.

Inspect for new chips and touch up immediately to prevent rusting. Avoid parking under trees to prevent sap drippings from damaging the paint. Place padding on sharp points that may contact the paint, like buckles. Never use dish soap to wash the car, only car shampoo

By taking preventative steps and addressing scratches promptly, you can keep your car looking its best for years to come. Don’t ignore minor cosmetic damage – schedule professional scratch and scuff repairs as soon as you notice an issue.

Pros And Cons

Pros of Dealership Scratch RepairCons of Dealership Scratch Repair
OEM paint matchingHigher labor rates
Technician expertise on makes/modelsAdditional facility fees
Direct manufacturer relationshipsPush for complete repainting
Convenience of one-stop servicePotential service delays
Better warranties than independentsLimited access to affordable parts
Peace of mind on qualityInsurance rate hikes from claims
pros and cons

about paintless dent repair and scratch/scuff repairs at dealerships:

Paintless dent repair, also called PDR, is a process where technicians are able to repair dents and creases in a vehicle’s body without needing to repaint the damaged area. Using specialized tools like slide hammers, dent pullers, and probes,

highly skilled PDR technicians are able to carefully push the metal body panels from the backside to pop dents back out into their original shapes. By manipulating the metal near the edge of the dent, they can work the dent out bit by bit until it is nearly invisible.

Paintless dent repair aims to restore the vehicle’s body to its precise original contours without harming the existing factory paint finish. This allows for quick dent fixes without the extra cost and downtime of repainting sections of the vehicle.

About Paintless Dent Repair And Scratch/Scuff Repairs At Dealerships:
about paintless dent repair and scratch/scuff repairs at dealerships:

Benefits of using the dealership for scratch/scuff repairs:

Expertise – Dealership body technicians are factory trained and certified to work on your specific make and model of vehicle. They know the ins and outs of repairing and matching paint to OEM specifications.

Original Equipment Matching – Dealerships have access to the original paint codes and can mix exact color matches to the factory paint on your car. This ensures optimal blending without any discoloration.

Warranty – Any body work or paint repairs done at the dealership are more likely to be covered under your new vehicle warranty. If issues arise later, the dealership stands behind their work.

Convenience – You don’t have to go searching around for an independent shop. The dealership offers one-stop repair and maintenance shopping without hassle.

Trust – Many people feel more secure having their vehicle serviced by the brand’s certified dealership, trusting them to fix problems properly and use genuine parts.

How often should I schedule scratch repairs at the dealership?

In general, it’s best to address minor scratches and scuffs as soon as possible to prevent further damage or rusting over time. Most experts recommend evaluating your car’s paint condition every 3-6 months to catch small blemishes early.

However, there is no set schedule – it depends on your driving habits and conditions. urban drivers may need more frequent touch-ups than rural drivers. Use your best

judgment and don’t hesitate to get scratches addressed at the dealership before they worsen or spread. Prompt repair helps maintain your vehicle’s appearance, value and protection from the elements.


Do dealerships cover up scratches?

Dealerships may try to cover up or mask minor scratches on used cars before selling them. Some techniques used include rubbing compound, wax, or paint touch up pens. However, deeper scratches that penetrate the clear coat may not be completely hidden. It’s best for buyers to do an inspection in person or request photos of any damage before purchasing.

Does insurance cover scratches on car?

Most regular auto insurance policies do not cover minor cosmetic damage like scratches unless it occurred due to a covered incident like a collision. Surface scratches may not be viewed as affecting the mechanical operation of the vehicle. Deeper scratches that expose bare metal could potentially be covered as part of a comprehensive or collision claim if it can be proven to impact resale value. It depends on the insurer and individual policy details.

What to do if you find scratches on your car?

For minor surface scratches, car owners can try using scratch removal compounds or touch up paint available at auto parts stores. Deeper cuts may require sanding and repainting of panels by a body shop. Owners should also check to see if the damage amounts to a claim under their car insurance policy or warranties. Major defects could affect resale value and should be disclosed if the vehicle is being sold.

Is it better to fix scratches on car before selling?

It is generally better to repair scratches and other minor cosmetic damage on a vehicle before attempting to sell it. Left unfixed, scratches could undermine the perceived value and condition of the car to potential buyers. By taking the time to have scratches professionally removed, filled, or touched up, sellers can get a higher sale price and make their vehicle more appealing visually when showing to customers. However, very deep scratches that require body work may not be worth fixing if the cost outweighs any increased sale value.


In summary, while dealerships can technically fix minor scratches on your car’s paint, it may not always be the best option. Dealerships often charge higher labor rates compared to auto body shops, so the cost to fix scratches may be more expensive.

Additionally, dealership technicians may not have the specialized tools, materials, and expertise that a dedicated auto body shop has for paintwork repairs. For minor scratches, DIY touch up kits can provide a more affordable fix. However, for deeper

scratches that expose the primer or metal underneath, professional repair at an auto body shop is recommended to match the paint color and properly prep the damaged area. When deciding where to get scratches fixed, consider the severity of

the damage, cost, and the experience and capabilities of the technicians doing the work. For anything beyond very minor surface scratches, an auto body specialist is likely the best option for an invisible, high-quality repair.

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