If you own a car, or regularly drive one, you’ll know that keeping your car in good shape is not particularly affordable. From regular service checks, yearly MOTs, and costly monthly insurance, as well as any regular cleaning you may invest in, it often seems like there’s a never-ending list of things you have to pay for.
Finding a scratch or damaged paintwork on your car is the last thing you want to see. However, the good news is that repairing scratched or damaged paintwork may not be as expensive as you think.
Plus, if you get it taken care of sooner rather than later, it’s likely to be a simple job, and will cost substantially less than if you leave the damage and give it the opportunity to rust or grow bigger.
In this guide we look at:
- How much it costs to get your car paint work and scratches repaired
- What is likely to affect the cost
- How you can save money
- How you can ensure that the professional you hire to help you is the right fit for you, plus more
Let’s start with how much it costs to repair car paint or scratches.
How Much Does it Cost to Repair Car Paint or Scratches?
How much you’ll pay for a car paint or scratch repair depends on a few factors, such as the type of repair that’s needed, and how long the repair will take to complete. To give you an average overview of pricing, the costs for repair can be as low as £50 to as high as £250.
|Type of Repair||Estimated Cost||Time Required|
|Alloy Wheel Scratch||£50 to £120||1 to 2 hours|
|Light Surface Scratch||£60 to £100||4 to 5 days|
|Paintwork Damage||£120 to £180||4 to 5 days|
|Stone Chip||£120 to £180||4 to 5 days|
|Deep Paintwork Damage||£180 to £250||4 days to 1 week|
|Type of Service||Estimated Cost|
|Car Repair Centre or Garage||£50 to £200|
|Mobile Scratch Repair||£80 to £210|
|SMART (Small to Medium Area Repair Technology)||£50+|
As we mentioned above, if you notice a scratch in your paintwork the quicker you get it taken care of, the lower your cost of repair will typically be. This is because when a scratch is left it can start to deepen and can become affected by rust.
Once the scratch is damaged to this extent it will take longer to repair, and need a different method of treatment, so this will hike the cost up a lot higher.
For example, if you have an alloy wheel scratch, this is usually considered to be a relatively quick and easy repair. This should cost around £50 to £120, and will take about one to two hours to complete.
A light surface scratch on your car will usually cost between £60 to £100, and will take between four to five days to repair.
If you have any paintwork damage, you’ll be looking at costs between £120 to £180, and this will also take between four to five days to complete.
If you need a stone chip repair, this will also cost between £120 to £180, and take four to five days to complete.
For deep paintwork damage that needs to be repaired, the costs will be anywhere between £180 to £250, and will take between four days to one week to finish.
Other factors that will cause your costs for repair to vary are the type of service you require, which you can see from the second table.
For example, taking your car to a garage or car repair centre to have it repaired is an option, and depending on how deep the scratch is, then this is something you should probably choose. This will usually cost between £50 to £200.
However, since garages and car repair centres can be quite busy, and can only deal with a certain amount of customers at once, a garage may take longer to repair your vehicle if they are really busy – similarly, you could find your wait time much shorter if the level of their workload is low.
If time is an issue, and the damage isn’t too bad, then it could be worth considering another type of service, such as a mobile scratch repair. This option is great if you need the repair done quickly, and don’t have the time to bring your car to a garage or repair centre as the repair professional will usually come to you to carry out the work.
Depending on how much work is needed to repair your paint work, this can cost anywhere from £80 to £210.
Another repair option that’s becoming more popular is a SMART repair. SMART stands for Small to Medium Are Repair Technology, and is a perfect solution for when scratches or paint damage are localised to a smaller or medium-sized area.
This is done by using colour matching technology that perfectly blends in with the paintwork of your car, and is much quicker than other types of repairs. Typically prices for this start at £50.
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What Affects the Cost of Car Paint and Scratch Repairs?
As you see from the tables above, some of the factors that affect the cost of how much you’ll pay for your car paint and scratch repairs include the type of repair needed, as well as the repair service you choose.
However, these are not the the only factors to have an affect on the cost, so we’ve listed more factors for you to take into consideration below in more detail.
The Size and Extent of the Damage
How much damage your paintwork has, and if this damage has affected other areas of your car, will affect the cost.
For example, in some cases, if a car needs paintwork repair, it’s possible that there may be other damage, such as dents or, in more severe cases, serious damage to the car (from crashes, accidents, etc).
If these need to be repaired, or parts need to be replaced, then the costs be much higher for you in the end.
The Location of the Paintwork Needed
The location where the paintwork needs to be repaired will have an affect on the price you pay. If the paintwork is damaged in an area that is difficult to access then you should expect your costs to increase as the amount of labour time needed to fix the damage will also increase.
The Type and Quality of Paint Used
Just as with other types of paint, there’s a large choice available when it comes to car paint, and depending on the type needed for your car, as well as the quality of the pain used, you may find that this has an affect on the price you pay.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that car painting is done using three layers of paint to get the end finish.
The first layer to be applied is a primer. The primer is designed to ensure that the finishing coats have an even, uniform finish, but just as you’d notice when adding a primer to walls or furniture before painting, it also enhances the end colour and holds it better, so using a good quality primer for this is important, as it can really have an affect on the end result.
Once the primer is dry, the the base colour coat, usually a semi-gloss finish, is applied and this is what forms the main colour of the car bodywork.
Again, choosing a quality paint for this not only enhances the the colour, and gives a better end result, but if the paint is a higher quality, then it’s less likely to scratch, and some paints even use a scratch-resistant technology.
Finally, the clear coat. Just like you’d apply a layer of clear varnish to furniture when painting it, this clear coat aims to protect your car in the same way, and is what gives cars that well-known shine.
Choosing higher quality paints will improve the overall appearance of your vehicle, but it will also increase your final cost.
Another factor that commonly affects how much you pay for certain professional services is where you’re based in the country. People living in cities like London and Edinburgh are used to paying more for things like mechanics and garages because the living costs are much higher in these areas than in smaller towns, or rural areas of the country.
These higher living costs directly affect the costs associated with running a business, and things like parking, transport, and even materials, will be impacted.
On the plus side, if you live in a bigger city, you likely have more choice in service providers since the competition is always higher. If you lived in a smaller town or village, then you might be limited in your options of professionals to work with unless you’re willing to travel a bit further afield.
How Can I Save Money on Car Paint Repair Costs?
Comparing quotes is a great way to potentially reduce the cost of car paint repairs. HouseholdQuotes can help you get quotes from multiple tradespeople near you, so that you can find someone that suits your budget.
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Although repairing the paintwork or scratches on your car is a job you can potentially do yourself, you’ll need to know what you’re doing and you would need the right equipment in place to remove any potential scratches before the paintwork is applied.
We only recommended attempting this as a DIY job if you’re confident that you could achieve the same results as paying for a professional service. If not, and this is your first time attempting it without any knowledge whatsoever, then it’s probably best to leave it to a professional since you could end up having to pay again to get it done correctly.
If you feel confident that you can do this yourself without much trouble, then you’ll be able to find scratch remover kits available online, or in local home improvement stores. These typically range from about £10 to £20, and are generally quite effective at repairing smaller scratches and minor damage to your paintwork.
If you’re dealing with more serious scratches or damage, then you can still take care of these yourself, but you would need to make sure you have all the right tools and materials, including the paint, the buffing tool, and clear coat.
This can cost between £35 to £50, depending on where you source the materials, and also the quality of them.
In some cases, the damage might be bad enough that you can actually see the metal of the car, if this happens, it’s best to take it to a bodyshop, or call a tradesperson to have it repaired, as this fix will require an expert.
Another way to save money is by trying to keep your car in as good condition as possible, and taking preventative measures to avoid scratches to the paintwork. You can achieve this by ensuring you drive carefully, and avoiding car washes if you can, since the brushes used in these can be quite harsh and result in scratches.
Unfortunately, accidents do happen, but trying to be a careful driver and taking your time with complicated manoeuvres can help to prevent scratches.
What’s Involved in Repairing Car Paint or Scratches?
Depending on the extent of the damage, the repair you get for your car, and how it’s carried out will vary. However, overall, no matter what repair is needed, the process for actually repairing scratches to your car, and fixing the paintwork, are likely going to be relatively similar.
Before anything can be applied to the car, it’s important that the area is fully cleaned, and free from dirt and grease since this will affect the end look of the paint. Just as you’d prepare a wall before paining it, the idea is much the same when it comes to a car.
Once the area is completely clean, de-greased, and dry, a sanding block is then used on the car to remove the scratches.
If you look at scratches to paintwork – even smaller ones – you’ll often see uneven edges around them, which needs to be removed so that the area to be repainted is perfectly smooth.
If sanding is missed for this, even for smaller scratches, it can really affect how the end result looks, and highlight where the scratches would be. Now that the scratches have been removed with the sanding block and should be smooth, the primer is now ready to apply.
Priming the area ensures that you get a good, even finish, but also that the colour you apply for your base coat in the next stage of the process will come through better, and last longer.
Using heat lamps, the primer should take about ten minutes to dry. From here, once the primer is dry, the base coat paint can be applied to the affected area.
This should have been previously matched up using a special colour technology that ensures the colour you’re getting is exactly the same as the one already on your car, as even a shade or two in either direction will make a big difference to the overall finish.
Once the base coat has been applied using a spray gun, it will be left to dry, which typically takes about 15 minutes. If a second coat is needed, it will be applied at this stage.
Finally, a clear coat is applied to the area. This acts like a varnish would when painting something like furniture to protect it, and add a shine.
How Do I Find a Professional or Garage?
Finding the right professional or garage can be challenging. At HouseholdQuotes, we can connect you to experts in your area.
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One of the best ways to find a professional car repair professional or garage in your area is to ask around with friends, family, and even work colleagues to see if they can recommend someone.
The chances are, even if they’ve never actually needed to have their paintwork repaired or scratches fixed on their car, if they’re drivers, then they might be able to recommend a good garage or professional who can help you with this, and provide a reliable service.
Ensuring the Professional Is the Right Fit
When working with someone, especially for something like keeping your car in good shape, it’s always important to make sure that the person you hire for the job is the right fit for what you need. So, here are some of our top tips and recommendations for how you can do just that.
Get A Written Quote
When looking around for professionals who can help repair any scratches on your car, it’s always a good idea to get your quotes in writing.
Firstly, because it helps to avoid any misunderstandings around price, and you can get a full breakdown of everything that’s included.
Secondly, it’s better to be able to go over all the quotes you get in your own time without having to worry about feeling under pressure to work with one particular professional.
Check Their Experience
If you’re thinking of hiring someone to carry out any kind of repair work on your car, then it’s important that they have the right amount of experience.
You can get a good idea of someone’s experience simply by chatting to them about the process, or even when they provide you with a quote, but if you need more than that, then their website and social media pages are also a good place to look and find out more information.
Ask for References
References and testimonials from past customers are a great way to get an idea of what someone is able to do for you, and nowadays these are relatively easy to find on websites, social media pages, and even independent review sites.
Look at Photos
For services like car paint and scratch repairs, photos are the perfect way to show off work that’s been done for past customers.
If you look on social media pages, many customers will have taken these photos themselves and mentioned the garage in the photo, so it’s not only a great way to see what they can do, but it’s free promotion for them, too.
It’s also worth keeping in mind, that in some cases, the professional or company might also request photos from you, so that they can see the damage to give you an accurate quote. This is certainly a good thing and shows that they take what they do seriously.
Verify They Have Insurance
Any tradesperson who takes their job seriously should have insurance, but for a car repair professional, it’s a must-have. In addition to providing you with safety, it protects you from liability.
Because of this, you should verify whether your chosen car repair professional is covered before hiring them to carry out any kind of work on your car – even if it’s just fixing a small scratch.
Hopefully this guide has been useful in helping you understand more about what’s involved in the costs of car paint and scratch repairs, so that if your car is needing this done, then you know what to expect.
To keep you on the right track, here’s a brief reminder of the main points we’ve covered:
- The cost of a car paint repair will depend on the type of repair you need, as well as the type of service you need
- There are various things that affect the cost, from the quality of paint used, the size of the repair needed, as well as where you’re based in the country
- If looking to save money with car paint repairs, you can DIY this, but should only do so for smaller repairs, and if you feel confident in your ability to do it correctly.
- Asking friends, family, and even colleagues is one of the best ways to find a car repair professional to help you with this.
- To make sure the professional you hire is the right fit, always do your due diligence by asking for things like references, making sure they have insurance, and asking more about their experience.
Use HouseholdQuotes to find local experts and potentially save money on your car scratch repairs.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can a Deep Car Scratch Be Repaired?
Yes. Deep scratches to your car can be repaired. However, depending on how deep the scratch is, it can take longer to fix than smaller scratches, and this will ultimately affect the price you pay.
Can a Scratch Be Buffed Out?
If the scratch is very small and surface level, then it’s possible to apply a buffing solution to buff this out. However, this isn’t always possible, and will really depend on how deep the scratch itself is.
Does the Car Body Rust If It Is Scratched?
Your car’s body will start to rust within a few days if scratches are left, and this is something that will be more expensive to fix.
What Should I Do If Someone Scratches My Car?
If you see someone scratch your car, either accidentally, or on purpose, then you have two options. The first is to ask them to pay, and sometimes, depending on their insurance policy, they might be covered for this (if it’s an accident).
If they don’t offer to pay or accept any responsibility, then you can file a police report. However, it’s worth noting that, unless you actually saw them scratching it, and preferably have another witness, it can be hard to prove.
Can I Use Spray Paint to Repair My Car?
Yes, if you only have a very small scratch, and take your time to follow the instructions, then you can use a spray paint that’s designed for cars.
When considering this option, always use a quality product, and ensure that you use the proper PPE, such as a face mask, and gloves.
Do I Need a Paint Booth If I Want to DIY Car Paint Repairs?
Although it’s certainly possible to carry out paint repairs on your car without a paint booth, it’s not recommended since you won’t get the same results you’d get by having one.
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