How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Scratch on a Car?

Last Updated on November 10, 2021

Scratches may not look expensive. Unfortunately, many drivers are surprised at the cost of scratch repair.

It costs anywhere from $125 to $2,000 to repair scratches on your vehicle. The cost varies depending on the depth of the scratches, the make and model of the vehicle, and other factors.

Keep reading to discover how much it costs to repair scratches on a car.

Table of Contents:

The Average Cost of Scratch Repair

According to our research, the average scratch repair costs around $525.

However, the cost of scratch repair varies widely depending on the depth of scratches, the severity of the scratches, and other factors.

You could pay as little as $125 to completely repair scratches to your vehicle. You can even remove some scratches by yourself for free at home.

Or, you could pay as much as $2,000 to repair deeper scratches. In some cases, auto repair shops need to replace entire body components (like your door) to repair scratches. The scratches don’t simply buff out.

Types of Car Scratches

Some car scratches are minor and shallow. If you brush against your car with a tennis racket, for example, then it might leave a minor scratch on your vehicle. Other scratches are serious. They go deep within the paint and cost thousands to repair.

The four main types of car scratches include:

Scuffs & Scrapes

Most car scratches are considered scuffs and scrapes. These are the scratches caused by branches, light damages, and debris. They’re common and relatively cheap to repair. It’s considered a scuff as long as the scratch lies on top of the paint without penetrating the layer below.

Average Cost: $125 to $500

Clear Coat Scratches

If there’s no change in color when you look at the scratch, then the scratch has not reached the primer and metal underneath. However, the scratch may have still penetrated the clear coat. You don’t need to touch up the paint in the area. Instead, you can polish down the scratches until they’re almost invisible. Even if you never fully remove the scratches, you can make them virtually invisible at a minimal cost.

Average Cost: $150 to $250

Primer & Paint Scratches

If your scratch hits a deeper layer, then it may be a primer scratch. The primer scratch goes deeper into the paint. It doesn’t hit metal, but it still leaves a visible scratch. The deeper this scratch goes, the more expensive it will be to repair. Larger primer scratches are also more expensive to repair than smaller scratches.

Average Cost: $500 to $1,200

Deep Paint Scratches

The most serious car scratches reach the deepest paint. As you might expect, these are the most expensive scratches to repair. Your vehicle has multiple layers of paint. When a scratch penetrates multiple layers, you’ll typically need professional repair services.

Average Cost: $1,200 to $2,500+

Factors that Impact the Cost of Scratch Repair

It’s difficult to estimate the cost of scratch repair on your vehicle. Each vehicle and scratch is different.

However, factors that impact the cost of scratch repair include:

  • Whether or not panels need to be replaced. For serious scratches and damages, you may need to replace panels. This can add hundreds to your scratch repair costs.
  • The number of affected panels. Sometimes, even a small scratch will extend across multiple panels, which can increase repair costs.
  • The make and model of the vehicle. Generally, higher-end cars have more expensive scratch repair costs than average cars.
  • Repair and labor costs in your area. If you live in an area with a higher cost of living, then you’ll pay more for scratch repair.
  • Whether or not you’re making an insurance claim. Generally, repair shops charge more to insurers than they would to a customer paying out of pocket.

How to Fix Minor Scratches Yourself

With a little work, you can lower the cost of scratch repair to $0 (or close to it). You can fix some scratches with just toothpaste, for example. Or, you can use scratch remover kits to easily remove scratches at home.

Consider the following to fix minor scratches yourself:


You can repair scratches with toothpaste. Toothpaste is a light abrasive that is ideal for fixing minor scratches. As long as the scratch did not penetrate deeply into the paint layers, you should be able to remove it with toothpaste.

Step 1) Wash and dry the area.

Step 2) Apply any type of toothpaste to a towel. Ideally, use a microfiber towel.

Step 3) Apply toothpaste to the scratch in circular motions.

Step 4) Wipe away excess toothpaste, then repeat as needed until the scratch is gone.

Scratch Remover Kits

You can buy scratch remover solutions and scratch remover kits. They can easily and quickly remove minor scratches on your car – all without the need to visit an auto body shop.

Step 1) Use a cloth or microfiber to apply the scratch remover solution to your vehicle.

Step 2) Use circular motions and continue applying light pressure to the scratch.

Step 3) Clean away excess scratch remover solution.

Step 4) Repeat until the scratch is gone.

Paint Over Them

Most people pay professionals to paint their vehicles. However, you can paint your car at home to cover scratches. Painting your car is a great way to cover up scratches, especially if you have many scratches all over your car.

You can paint over scratches on one part of your vehicle. Or, you can repaint your entire vehicle for a more even look.

Step 1) Clean and dry your car.

Step 2) Sand away the scratch to remove the top layers, then rinse away any debris.

Step 3) Apply primer to your vehicle.

Step 4) Apply paint, then add additional coats of paint until it matches your car color as closely as possible.

Step 5) Add wax to seal the paint.

Why Scratch Repair is Important

Scratch repair is important. Scratches aren’t just cosmetic: scratches can cause rust and deterioration over time.

A scratch exposes your car to the elements. Paint doesn’t just make your car look nice; it also protects your car from the environment. When you have a scratch, it creates a hole in that armor, and that hole needs to be fixed.

Don’t believe us? Check your scratch closely. If the scratch looks silver, then the scratch has reached the metal underneath the primer, paint, and clear coat. That means it’s a serious scratch. If ignored over time, the scratch could impact the structural integrity of your vehicle.

For all of these reasons, it’s important to repair scratches on your vehicle as soon as possible.

Should You File an Insurance Claim for Scratch Repair?

Car insurance may cover scratch damage, and it may be in your best interest to make a claim.

If you have extensive and costly scratches on your vehicle, then it could cost thousands of dollars to repair those scratches. In this situation, it may be worth making a car insurance claim.

You can claim scratch repair through various types of coverage:

Collision Coverage (For Scratches Caused by Solo or Multi-Vehicle Accidents): If your vehicle was scratched during a collision (say, with another vehicle or with the wall of your garage), then you could make a claim through your collision coverage. You pay a deductible (typically around $500) and your car insurance premiums will increase, but your insurer will cover the cost of repairing your vehicle to pre-loss condition.

Comprehensive Coverage (For Tree Branches, Environmental Damage, Vandalism, Keyed Cars, and Collisions with Animals): If your vehicle was scratched by an animal collision, fallen tree branches, hailstorms, vandalism, or environmental sources, then you can make a claim through your comprehensive coverage. You pay a smaller deductible (typically around $250), and your insurance should not increase after a comprehensive claim.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage (For Hit-and-Run Accidents and Other Incidents) If someone scratched your car in a hit-and-run, then you can make a claim through your uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage covers incidents where the other driver was unknown or had no insurance. You pay a deductible, and your insurer covers the remaining cost of repairing your vehicle to pre-loss condition.

Final Word on Car Scratch Repair Costs

It costs anywhere from $125 to $2,000 to repair scratches, with the average cost priced at around $525. However, the cost of scratch repair varies based on the depth of the scratch and your vehicle type.

Contact multiple auto body shops in your area to receive a quote on your scratch repairs.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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