Most of us like to know an exact dollar amount before taking on any repairs. The process of calling for quotes to figure out how much it costs to fix chipped paint on a car can make you feel like you’re driving in circles.
Do-it-yourself car paint chip repair can cost as little as $50-$150. Professional auto body shop prices range from $150 all the way up to $2000 for major damages.
We’ll help you understand your options when it comes to fixing the chipped paint on your car so you can make a decision that makes the most financial sense for you and your family.
Table of Contents
Professional Car Paint Chip Repair Cost
As much as I’d like to give you a dollar amount on professional repair costs, the truth is that it’s not that simple.
For example, when I called the shops around my area (southern United States), I was quoted between $175 and $500 minimum. There are 2 reasons for this wide range of quotes.
The first is that repair shops are not psychic. They won’t know exactly how bad or labor-intensive the damage is until they physically see it, so they usually quote you a mid-range price for moderate repairs.
The second reason is that each shop will charge their own rate for labor, usually a price per hour on top of the tools needed to fix the damage. The U.S. auto market average is between $75-$130 per hour just for labor costs.
Exploring Your Options
Let’s discuss all the options you have to get your chipped paint fixed.
Pay Out-of-pocket to a Repair Shop
For many people, this is the least desirable option as it will be the most expensive. Although repair shops are run by professionals who will get your car looking brand new, the steep hourly labor costs make this impossible for some.
Pay Through Insurance to a Repair Shop
If the damage was the result of a car accident or an act of nature, you may be able to file a claim with your car insurance company and have them cover the cost of repairs.
I decided to take this route after the paint on my hood was damaged from a large rock flying out of the back of a semi-truck. I didn’t know this type of damage was covered under my insurance policy until I called to ask about it.
All I had to pay was a $50 deductible to the shop and my insurance company took care of the rest. So it’s definitely worth a shot to give them a call & ask if your specific damage is covered.
This could end up being the most cost-effective option for you, as even some DIY tools needed could cost more than your deductible.
Do It Yourself
If you’re unable to get insurance to cover the cost of paint chip repair, and you can’t afford a professional repair shop, your best bet is to repair the damage yourself.
It may cost a pretty penny to buy the tools, but at least you’ll have them in case you ever need them in the future!
Repairing a Paint Chip Yourself
If you’ve opted for the DIY route, you’ll need to purchase a few tools to get the job done.
Hop online or visit your local automotive accessories shop and grab the following items.
- Paint chip repair kit
- Small buffing pad
- Buffing compound
- Automotive paint of your desired color
To get a color match on your car’s paint, look up the VIN number on a paint match site (there are many sites that can do this for you). It will tell you the exact color code that you can then purchase in a small pen or sample size.
Some repair kit sites will actually include this for you. Bonus if you can find a kit that includes a buffing pad and compound as well.
Prep the Area
Clean and wash the chipped area thoroughly. Don’t wax the area because you want zero contaminants on the car before you apply the new paint.
Apply New Paint
The exact steps in this process will depend on the type of repair kit you purchased so be sure to read the instructions before continuing.
Some kits will include a primer that you apply first and then allow to dry before you dab your paint on the area.
Others skip the priming step altogether and give you a specialty formula that is primer and paint in one that has been color matched to your car. These usually come with a dissolving compound that you rub in after the paint has dried that helps to feather the repaired spot into the surrounding areas.
You may need to apply several layers in order to “fill up” the chipped area.
Clean up and Buff
Clean up any excess paint with the dissolving solution (if your kit included it) and then buff the area well to finish blending it in.
Apply a small amount of buffing compound to your buffing pad and start going over the area in a circular motion until you feel satisfied with how it looks.
A Word on Rust
Some paint chips are the result of pieces of the car frame rusting. These types of chip repairs will most likely need to be redone unless the underlying metal is restored.
If your chip has a small amount of rust in it just because it has exposed the metal underneath, you need to remove the rust before you paint over it.
Some kits include a high grit sandpaper for this reason, but if yours doesn’t, you’ll need to purchase some. Sand the area until the rust is removed and then continue on with your repair as normal.
Weigh all of your options before moving forward with repairing your chipped paint. I highly recommend you check with your insurance company to see if the damage could be covered with little to no out-of-pocket costs.
If you find yourself needing a paint repair kit, rest assured there are many cost-effective options on the market and the process is actually fairly simple.