Nobody loves driving around in a car with chipped paint, especially if you have just gotten it from the dealership. Therefore, if you have just noticed paint chips on your car, you may be wondering if you can return it to the dealer and have them fix it for you.
Dealerships can either fix or decline to fix paint chips on your car depending on several factors.
If the paint was chipped when you were running errands after buying the car from the dealer, they may decline to cater for the repair costs. However, if you bought the car with chipped paint, they will be fully liable for the repairs.
Most car owners and dealers usually differ when it comes to proving the car had chipped paint before the client bought it.
This is why as a buyer, you need to assess the state of a vehicle thoroughly before driving off. The importance of doing this is that you can notice any problems with the car such as chipped paint and have the dealer fix it for you.
That aside, some dealers are very dedicated to customer satisfaction and can fix paint chips on your car as an after-sales service.
Such dealers are the same ones who offer free car washes for vehicles bought from their dealership. You can find out if this is possible by getting in touch with their customer reps and find out if they can fix paint chips on your car.
Overall, getting your dealership to fix paint chips isn’t always the best solution. There is a 50/50 chance that your dealer can or can’t accept fixing paint chips depending on the factors discussed above.
Also, if they agree to do it, they won’t be very thorough in the repair and you may end up getting low-quality service.
Most of the time, if the dealer agrees to fix paint chips, they will delegate one of their mechanics to carry out the repair.
And because of how busy these guys are, they will speed up the process and the repair done can’t be compared to what you would have received from a professional detailer or even what you could have done by yourself.
Table of Contents
- Will My Dealership Still Fix Paint Chips Even If They Don’t have a Paint Shop On-Site?
- Should I Pay for Chipped Paint Repairs at the Dealership?
- How Much Do Paint Chip Repairs Cost?
- Repairing Paint Chips
- Can Paint Chip Repairs Wait?
Will My Dealership Still Fix Paint Chips Even If They Don’t have a Paint Shop On-Site?
Most dealers who would agree to fix touch-up paint have a paint shop on the premises. That’s where you will be sent for the repairs.
However, should your dealer not have one and they will direct you to a detailer for the repairs. They can pay for the repairs or ask you to cater for them.
Alternatively, the dealer can also sell you some touch-up paint if you are going to fix the chipped paint by yourself.
Should I Pay for Chipped Paint Repairs at the Dealership?
Very few dealers will offer such a service for free, especially if the damage occurred when the car is in your hands. Dealerships are still businesses whose main goal is to earn profits.
If they offer free services to everyone who buys a car from them, they will end up with losses. However, some good dealers won’t charge you for minor damages.
If you are planning on approaching a dealer for touch-up paint repair, expect two things. The most common thing they will ask you to do is that you cater for the repair fees. Or, they may chip in.
Don’t go to the dealership with a fixed mind that they will pay for all paint repairs. Don’t forget that paint chips aren’t warranty-covered. So, they are not obliged to compensate you for anything.
How Much Do Paint Chip Repairs Cost?
Should your dealer decline to fix the paint chips on your car, you will have no other option than to fix it yourself or pay for it to be repaired by a professional detailer.
Both options have their advantages. And we will discuss fixing paint chips by yourself more later on in this article.
Back to paint chip repairs by a professional detailer, you should expect to pay $50 to $150 for minor paint chip damage.
However, if the damage is significant, the fees might go up to $500. Different detailers have varying price structures. And expensive doesn’t always mean better. You should research thoroughly before hiring a detailer to fix paint chips on your car.
Repairing Paint Chips
Contrary to what most people think, repairing paint chips is a fairly easy process that you can carry out in your garage.
Provided you have the required material and guidance, you don’t have to visit a dealer or pay a detailer to fix it for you. Here is how you can repair paint chips by yourself;
Step 1 – Assemble All Necessary Materials
To fix paint chips, you will need touch-up kits, these can be easily obtained at your dealership or auto-shop near you. These kits usually contain a clear coat, sanding tools, rubbing compound, color-matched paint that looks exactly like that of your factory color, and a primer.
If you can’t find out the code of your paint in your car which is usually written on the driver’s door, make sure you bring the car with you to the dealership.
Step 2 – Make Small Sanders
If you use sanders in their original size, you will end up damaging paint that was still in good condition. If the paint chips are located in different areas, cut your sanders into smaller pieces.
In this step, you can get as creative as possible. Provided you don’t tamper with the perfectly fine paint that surrounds the chip.
Step 3 – Give Your Vehicle a Thorough Wash
A pro tip you should always know is that for you to give your car a smooth repair, always wash it thoroughly.
Paint is very delicate, and if you are applying touch-up paint, any presence of dirt on the surface can lead to a poor finish. Before you get started with paint chip repair, grab some detergent and wash your car.
Step 4 – Remove Coatings and Waxes
You may be wondering, why should I remove wax and coatings before fixing paint chips? The answer is very simple, silicone, grease, and oils affect paint’s ability to adhere to the car surface.
If you don’t remove waxes and coatings then the repair may not be very effective. There are plenty of solvents at your dealership or nearby auto shop that can help with the removal of waxes and coatings.
Step 5 – Fill in the Chips
Because paint chips will leave slight marks on your car paint, it is best that you fill them before applying touch-up paint.
The deepness of the paint will determine heavily how you should fill in the chips. For smaller chips, a paint pen is more precise.
When filling always ensure that you fill the chip to the surface. Don’t worry about the extra paint, it can be wet sanded down and rubbed to get a clearer and smoother finish.
If the chips are big, you will have to use a brush applicator. It will make your work easier.
Step 6 – Apply the Primer
Before the paint is applied, the primer goes first. Use the applicator brush to apply it on the filled chip. Be very keen on the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Not all primers are made the same. Read how long you should let it dry.
Final Step – Apply Paint
Before you wrap up the chipped paint repair process, it is worth noting that you will have to confirm whether the chipped surface has been sanded to a smooth finish.
Depending on how great you want your car to look, you may have to invest a lot of time and effort in wet sanding. From at least three feet, the sanded area should look neat. It’s only then when you should apply the paint.
Indeed, fixing paint chips yourself may seem like a lot of work, but it is doable and easy. Once you get the hang of it, it will become something that you will enjoy doing.
Considering how affordable touch-up paint kits are, there is no reason for you to pay hundreds of dollars for touch-up paint repairs that you can do by yourself.
This option can also come in handy when your dealership refuses to fix paint chips on your car.
Can Paint Chip Repairs Wait?
There are many reasons why people repair paint chips. Some don’t like how bad paint chips look on a car. Others wish to prevent rusting.
There are many reasons why people repair paint chips. However, how quickly you should act depends on the extent of the damage. If the chips are relatively small, you don’t need to repair them urgently.
However, bigger chips can act as an entry point for water, salts, and dirt which is a recipe for rust. Once your car surface starts to rust, it can be very expensive to fix them.
You need not worry about chips on your bumpers as they are made of plastic and won’t lead to rust.