Automotive Panel Refinishing

Panel & Bumper Refinishing


Scratches and dents are going to happen no matter how hard you try to avoid them! You can ignore them as long as they don't bother you. But if your paint has been scratched down to the metal, it's going to rust.

Waiting around to have the scratch repaired is risky. While that metal is exposed to the elements, it's going to rust. It will start with surface rust, but once the oxidation process gains momentum, it will eat straight through your panel.

The paint is there to protect the metal against rusting and rotting away. That's why it's important to keep up with regular maintenance on your paint job. You want to stay on top of the game so you don't end up spending an enormous amount of money on cutting out rust spots in the future.

Bumpers are a little bit different. They will get an even greater amount of abuse with the bumps and scrapes. Fortunately, they are usually made of molded plastic so they aren't at risk of rusting. But once you get a bump or scrape, you can compromise the paint and cause it to start peeling.

Bumper refinishing is a delicate art, because paint doesn't like to stick to plastic. There are a few tricks of the trade to insure the new paint coating sticks to the bumper and lasts a long time. Bumpers can be refinished, but if they are too mangled from being hit, they can be replaced with a brand new after market part.

Panel Repair Costs

The cost to fix dents, dings, scratches, and rust repair varies depending on the extent of the damage. The type of paint is also a factor in determining overall cost. The following is a list of various common repairs and a rough price range on what it typically costs to have done per panel that has sustained damage.

If you'd like a more in-depth look at scratch and dent repair specifically, make sure you check out my article on the Body Shop Tips blog by clicking this link.

Surface Damage - $75 to $400

Surface damage includes light scratches, deep scratches, dings, dents, chipping or peeling paint, oxidized clear coat (the cloudy look), and light rust. When you have this type of damage on a panel, the cost to fix depends on how much sanding preparation must be done to blend out the area affected. Base coat is sprayed on and blended in to the adjacent area, and the entire panel is re-cleared to give it a brand new look.

Surface damage that covers an entire panel might mean that it is necessary to blend in the color on adjacent panels so the color matches and no visible evidence of the repair can be seen. The cost per panel can vary around this range depending on the type of vehicle.

Deep Scratches & Dings - $150 to $350

Deep scratches that gouge in to the metal require a bit of filler before being repainted. Dings can be the same. The way this damage is repaired is similar to surface damage, and the cost hinges on how bad the panel has been affected.

It is of utmost importance to get deep scratches taken care of and refinished, because the next step is rust.

Heavy Dents - $250 to $400

Dents take quite a bit more time and effort to repair, and the price depends on where the dent is located. If the dent can be pulled out, the area can be flatted with body dollies and hammers.

A light layer of filler is added at the end to completely smooth out the surface before painting. Sometimes a dent can be so severe that the cost of replacing the entire panel and painting it to match is less expensive.

Rust Repair - $250 to $750

When rust has eaten through the entire thickness of a panel, there's no other way to fix it other than cutting it out. This involves buying replacement cab corners on trucks, fit-in wheel well panels, or custom cutting metal to replace an affected area. As with heavy dents, sometimes it is more cost effective to replace and entire panel and paint it to match.

Bumpers - $150 to $600

When a bumper has a big scrape or gouge that can be refinished without buying a new part, the cost to repair the damage is similar to surface damage on regular panels. Price will depend on the type of paint your vehicle has, and the extent of the damage.

If your bumper has physical damage that is repairable, for example missing snap connectors or light to moderate cracks, they can be repaired with a little more effort than paint repair. But if the damage is not fixable, the entire bumper may have to be removed, replaced, and repainted.

Peeling/Oxidized Clear Coat - $250 to $400

peeling clear coat.JPG

You've probably owned a car at some point that had peeling, chipping, fading, oxidized clear coat on the top of the vehicle, the hood, and the trunk. Sometimes, it can get into the tops of the fenders.

In order to fix this ugly problem, all of the clear coat has to be sanded off of the panel. That means you'll end up having to blend in some of the base coat color, because it's impossible to sand off the chipping clear coat without removing some amount of your base coat.

This is an entire panel repair, and the cost can get a bit higher if you want your new base color blended in to the surrounding panels for absolute perfection on color matching.


Hopefully this will give you a good idea of how much it costs to have your small spot repairs done on panels. Keep in mind that these are very general estimates, and the actual price will depend on your make and model of car, and the extent of the damage. Again, if you want more detailed information on scratch and small dent repairs, check out my article on the blog site.

If you'd like to have an estimate done, send an email with pictures of your car's damage, plus the vehicle make, model and year to and I'll contact you with the details!

Carlton Flowers
The Airgun Artist

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