There are few things more frustrating and concerning than spending thousands of dollars on vehicle maintenance only to have your car's look ruined with a scratch. Even a tiny scratch can ruin the look of an otherwise beautiful paint job, especially if it’s on a very noticeable spot or the rest of your vehicle is otherwise pristine. The good news is that no scratch is too hard to repair; the bad news is that scratch repair can be quite expensive depending on the location and size of the damage.Although there is no way to fully prevent scratches, there are ways to reduce your risks. Knowing the common causes of car scratches will allow you to take steps to prevent them in the future. There are also more aggressive preventative measures you can take, like installing a vinyl car wrap or premium paint protection film.
Common Causes of Car Scratches
Before learning how to prevent scratches, car owners should know how scratches tend to occur in the first place. Some culprits are obvious, while others might be more of a surprise. In any case, it’s a good idea to start our discussion with a look at the most common causes of car scratches.
Car accidents are one of the most common causes of scratches in your car's paint. Even a minor bump from another driver can be enough to scrape an unsightly mark into your vehicle.
Chips and rocks that fly loose from the road or from larger vehicles as you drive can also cause scratches. These scratches may be the hardest to prevent, as the rocks or chips are so small you may not notice you've been hit until you discover a new scratch in your car's paint.
Although it's important to keep your car clean, over washing or aggressively scrubbing the car's exterior can cause scratches and swirls in the paint as you grind excess dirt on the exterior. Also, make sure you use a microfiber cloth or chamois when drying your car to prevent scratches.
How Much to Repair Car Scratches?
No two scratches are alike, and determining what your car scratch repair cost will depend on a number of factors, most importantly is the type of paint scratch damage on your car.
Car manufacturers apply a clear coat over the paint to improve durability and gloss, and scratches that only very lightly damage the clear coat are the easiest and cheapest to fix. Scuffs may be harder to spot than deeper scratches because there is no change in color from the scratch. This depth of scratch can usually be repaired by hand buffing or polishing. Scratch Wizard estimates auto body shops charge less than $100 on average to repair scuffs.
A mark that has more deeply scratched clear coat is a little more difficult to repair, but not by much. If there is no change in color when you look at the scratch, the primer and metal underneath the clear coat are still safe, so you won't need any touch-up paint for the scratched area. These scratches can be polished down until they are almost invisible, but never fully removed. These types of scratches also usually cost less than $100 for professional repair at an auto body shop.
If your scratch has gone into the primer layer, you will need to use touch up paint to restore the scratched area. The scratch will likely appear white if it has come through the clear coat and the paint, reaching the primer layer underneath. 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.
Deep Paint Scratches
If the scratch is severe enough—perhaps you reversed into an object or someone scraped your car as they left a parking spot—it will scratch down to the metal frame of your vehicle. These scratches should be repaired immediately, as exposed metal can rust if exposed to the elements long enough. If the scratch appears silver, it has likely hit the metal underneath the clear coat, paint, and primer. These types of scratches are the most expensive to repair, with auto body shops charging anywhere from $800 to $1,500 on average for deep paint scratch repair.
For Superior Protection Against Car Paint Scratches
There are steps you can take to prevent car scratches—parking away from cart bins, not parking too close to other cars, using a microfiber cloth or chamois when drying your vehicle—but the best preventative step you can take is to install paint protection film.While paint protection film is not the cheapest option for preventing scratches, it is the most reliable long-term solution. Paint protection film is essentially a plastic wrap for your car. It’s applied to surfaces facing the front or bottom of the car—areas most likely to get scratched—and provides a clear coat of protection for the paint underneath. Paint protection film will take the dings and scratches that would otherwise have damaged your car’s paint.Applying a paint protection film can save you time and money on car scratch repair, as well help protect your car against the rust that occurs when deep scratches are left unrepaired. All of this protection helps to maintain the resale value of your car and keep your ride looking sexy and pristine for years to come.For additional information about paint protection film, contact Auto Super Shield. We are South Florida’s premier paint protection film installer, specializing in PPF for luxury and exotic vehicles. Call (561) 367-0101 to learn more.