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How Much Does It Cost To Buff Out A Scratch On Car?

It can be frustrating to spend a lot of money on maintenance and new paint only for your kids to scratch the vehicle as they play at home. Scratches can ruin an otherwise beautiful paint job, especially if they are on a noticeable area like the hood or door. Other factors like grit on the road as you drive and dirt as you wash can cause scratches, which makes it difficult to prevent scratches. We recommend that you take preventative measures that can prevent future scratches like a vinyl car wrap. Nonetheless, since you are looking for an answer on how much does it cost to buff out a scratch, we help you fix the issues and take measures to avoid future occurrence.

How much it costs to buff out a scratch depends on the severity of the issue and the quality of the paint. It also depends on whether you will hire a professional mechanic or do the painting yourself. We advise that you hire an experienced individual for deep scratches that require repair work before repainting. Masking the problems will make the problem severe, which will cost more to fix at a later date. Painting the scratches yourself can help you to save money, but you will need the right information and tools for professional-like results. This guide looks at how much does it cost to buff out a scratch and tips to help you save money.

How Much Does It Cost To Buff Out A Scratch?

How much it costs to buff a scratch depends on several factors that range from severity to paint quality. You will not get the same quote for a minor scratch and a deep scratch. A deep scratch needs to paint and effort to repair, unlike a minor scratch that needs only a single coat. The car scratches can be categorized into the following groups for pricing:

  • Scuffs – Scuffs are light scratches that only affect the clear coat layer. They do not cause color change and you can repair them by hand buffing or polishing. It is cheaper to fix scuffs and you can quickly repair the scratch as it requires one layer. The auto body shops will charge you between $50 and $70 to repair scuffs. You can repair scuffs by rubbing a compound from an auto store.
  • Clear-coat scratches – Clear-coat scratches are deeper than scuffs, but do not go beyond the clear coat. They do not cause a color change and does not affect the lower paint coats. You can visit an auto body shop for repairs or fix them yourself. A repair shop will charge you less than $100 to fix clear-coat scratches. Alternatively, you can rub the scratches with a compound from an auto store. However, if the scratch is deeper, you may need to scrub the area with sandpaper before applying the compound. You will also need to apply a polisher for a shine.
  • Paint scratches – You are dealing with paint or primer scratches if the scratch is deeper but does not expose the metal surface. The scratch will appear white if it goes through a clear coat and paint to reach the primer layer. Paint scratches are more difficult to repair as they require more preparation. You will need to sand and buff the area before repainting, which makes it more costly to repair. Fixing paint scratches can cost $200 to $1000.
  • Deep paint scratches – Deep paint scratches are more severe and occur due to pressure impact like an accident, which exposes the metal frame. We recommend you repair deep paint scratches immediately as they can cause rust if exposed to the weather. Deep paint scratches are more expensive to repair and can cost anywhere from $500 to $1500.

Ways That You Can Use To Repair Scratches On Your Car

The best way to repair scratches on your car depends on the severity of the issue and your preference. You do not have to repaint the affected area to get rid of scuffs or repaint the entire car to get rid of a deep scratch. You have to analyze the scratches individually to determine the best method to fix them. The method you choose will help you answer how much does it cost to buff out a scratch as different treatments have a specific price. The common methods you can use to remove a car scratch include:

1. Rubbing compound

You can quickly repair scuffs and clear-coat scratches by rubbing compound. Use your fingernail to determine if you can use the compound to fix the scratch. We recommend that you use the compound for scratches that your nail cannot catch. Clean the affected area with soapy water and a microfiber cloth to remove all dirt. Use a buffing pad and apply the rubbing compound in small amounts on the scratched surface in a circular motion. Repeat the process as necessary until the scratches are no longer noticeable.

2. Car scratch repair kit

You can buy a repair kit from an auto store to get rid of mild scratches. The kit comes with a scratch remover solution and a buff pad, which allows you to remove mild scratches effortlessly. Clean the surface to remove debris and dust and wait for the car to dry before applying the scratch remover solution. Use the buffing pad to rib the scratch remover in small amounts on the surface and wipe out the excess solution. The Scratch remover solution is ideal for mild scratches.

3. Painting

You may have to paint the affected area for the best results, especially if you are dealing with deep scratches. You can repaint the surface yourself or hire a professional for the service. A single paint coat will be adequate for mild scratches, but you may need to apply two to three coats for the best results. We recommend that you leave repairing deep scratches to professionals. The answer to how much does it cost to buff out a scratch by painting depends on the preparation work needed, quality of paint and finish, and the size of the surface that needs repair. 

Guide On How To Buff Out A Scratch For Showroom Quality Results

It is necessary to invest more into your car painting. Quality auto painting can last up to five years, which saves you money in the long term. It also offers the best results and can improve the value of your car. Nonetheless, you do not have to wait until you have more savings to paint your vehicle. A standard painting work offers a decent look without being costly. To answer how much does it cost to buff out a scratch, you will need to determine the quality of paint and service and the severity of the scratches. Nevertheless, it can cost you anywhere from $100 to $1500 to buff out scratches. Doing the painting yourself can enable you to save money. The steps that you follow include:  

1. Preparation

The first step in buffing out scratches is gathering all necessary supplies and tools, depending on the needed work. Prepare the place where you will carry out the painting work. The best place should be clean and free from dust that might compromise the quality of your work. Ensure the room is aerated for your health. A garage or a painting booth offers the best car painting environment. We recommend that you thoroughly clean the vehicle and wait for it to dry before you start painting. The tools that you should have for a DIY project include:

  • Spray gun
  • Random orbit sander
  • Air compressor
  • Sandpaper
  • Rust remover spray
  • Masking tape
  • Body filler
  • Primer
  • Primer thinner
  • Paint
  • Paint thinner
  • Safety gear

2. Stripping

Once you have all the supplies and tools ready, it is time to begin the painting process. The first work is to sand the surface to the desired level. Use the sander to sand the vehicle in circular motions to the bare metal for deep scratches or the desired coat for mild scratches. Sandpaper comes in handy when sanding the corners and crevices. Sanding allows the new paint to attach to the surface for smooth results. Once you sand to the desired level, you should wipe the surface with a cleaner and wait for it to dry.

3. Priming

We advise that you mask off all the areas you would not like to paint to protect them from paint splashes. You should then prepare the primer by mixing it with thinner in the right ratio. Apply two or three coats of the primer evenly on the surface and wait for it to dry. Use the sandpaper to smooth the surface and prepare it for the topcoat.

4. Painting

Once the primer is ready, you can now apply paint. Paint two to three paint coats from the top down and wait for them to dry every time before applying another coat. Use the sandpaper to remove any powdery residue and wipe with a rag before applying the clear-coat lacquer. You should not use the vehicle until the paint dries. You can also wax the area to protect it from future scratches.


Before you consider repainting your car, we recommend that you analyze the type of scratches to determine the best repair method. You can rub compound or use scratch remover for mild and minor scratches, which helps you save money and time. Repainting your car is ideal for deep scratches. How much it will cost to buff a scratch will depend on the best repair remedy.

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