How Much Does It Cost To Fix Chipped Paint on a Car?

in Ownership
man finishing a red paint job on a car

Photo by Zac Nielson on Unsplash

Chipped paint is one of those things that will not make your car undrivable, but it’s not pleasant to live with. It’s not visible to others as much as it is to you, making you cringe each time you lay your eyes on it. Luckily, fixing a chip in your paint is not the most expensive thing, and it’s also not uncommon. 

If you’re wondering how much does it cost to fix chipped paint on a car, you’ve come to the right place! We’ll look at prices and what you can expect when repairing a scratch or dent on your vehicle. 

Causes of Chipped Paint on your Car 

Unfortunately, chipped paint can happen to any car. It doesn’t always have to do with the vehicle quality or the paint quality and could become damaged due to several things that are out of your control. Common reasons for chipping paint include: 


Rocks, debris, and other road objects are common reasons your paint starts to chip. As you drive, your car comes into contact with a lot of stuff in the air. Rocks can fly up from the gravel and make nicks along with your car here and there.


Fluctuations between hot and cold make things expand and shrink. If you live in an area where the weather constantly changes, you could be at a higher risk for paint chips and damage.


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Putting Things into Perspective 

The first thing that you’ll need to do is think about the severity of your scratch, dent, or ding. The more severe the damage, the higher the cost, which could send you running in the other direction if you’re not careful. Here are a few things to consider to classify your car’s painting needs. 

Minor damage

When your car has minor paint damage, the cost to repair it is very low. Classifying your paint chips as minor is simple. All you’ll have to do is look at the size, and if they’re smaller than a pencil eraser, you’ve got minor damage. 

Moderate damage

When chips spread out and get more significant, you may have moderate damage to your hands. Moderate paint chip damage is extensive but should not extend further than the length of a few inches.

Severe damage

Severe damage can be large to cover and costly to repair. Large chips in your paint are generally accompanied by peeling and cracking in the paint surrounding them, which can continue to make the damage more extensive and severe.


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How Much Does It Cost to Fix Chipped Paint on a Car?

Fixing the paint chips on your car depends on a few factors. The biggest one is the severity of the damage you’re working with. On top of that, you will pay more if you have a special paint or sealant used for your car color. The smaller the chip, the cheaper the repair. Just how much does it cost to fix chipped paint on a car? Here’s what you can expect to pay. 

Minor Damages: $70 to $150 

If you have minor chips in your car’s paint, expect to pay a lower range in cost. You will have to find a technician that knows how to paint and match your color, getting a perfectly polished and cleaned-up exterior without any signs of chipping. 

Moderate Damages: $150 to $400 

The larger the paint chips, the more the cost. If you have moderate damage that takes more paint to cover and labor to get the job done, you’re looking at a charge up to $400. 

Severe Damages: $450+

Severe damages come with the highest cost and can take longer to repair. When you have extensive paint damage across your car, you can expect to pay $450 and up depending on your area, your paint, and the average labor costs.


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Keeping Paint from Chipping 

You cannot do much to keep small chips from happening here and there. You can add sealants to your car that protect the topcoat, but that still is not 100% effective. To reduce the costs typical of large paint chips, try this preventative routine when you have small chips.

1. Clean It Up 

Start by cleaning the area where the chips are and adding a bit of rubbing alcohol.

2. Sand it Down

Using a sanding material, gently sand the chipped area by making circular motions around it. Make sure everything is smooth to the touch before moving on to the next steps.

3. Apply a Base 

Before choosing the base, make sure you choose one approved for use on your car. Then, apply a little bit to each smoothed-out area.

4. Paint It Up

Once the base is dry, apply just a tiny amount of paint. Only cover the area you’re painting over and avoid getting any on the undamaged areas.

5. Sand It Down Again

Once the coats are nice and dry, get the same sanding material and run it over the area you worked on. This will ensure that all the paint is on the same level and make it look nice and even.

You should do this 5-step process when you see chips, preventing them from cracking and going from minor to severe damage. It will save you time and money, helping to keep your paint job looking good longer.

Stop Chips Before They Start

When you have chips on your car’s paint job, it’s best to take care of it as quickly as possible. Stop them before they start to spread around your vehicle and keep them from going from minor to severe. The faster you take care of it, the quicker you can return to enjoying your car’s appearance while cruising around.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do paint chips spread?

Yes. Over time, particles like water, dirt, and salt will eventually find their way under the paint and may cause the chip to spread. Unfortunately, paint chipping may take years before it becomes an urgent problem you can no longer ignore. Once the paint chip spreads, it may become more expensive to repair down the line.

Q: Can rusting caused by paint chips be stopped?

Once rusting has occurred, it becomes too late to be addressed by touch-up jobs. Most professional companies will remove all visible signs of rusting before applying the touch-up. However, there are several ways to slow the rusting process to a crawl.

Q: Why should I repair paint chips?

There are many reasons why you should fix a chipping car paint:

  • Lease return: If you return a leased car with chipping paint, the dealership will charge you more for the touch-up repairs.
  • Selling or trading: Fixing blemishes from the exterior can add a lot of value to your vehicle, which is great if you’re planning to sell or trade-in.
  • Prevent further damage: If you have significant paint damage, it’s essential to get it fixed immediately to prevent further damage.

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