What to do When Your Car’s Paint is Scratched or Chipped


Probably every car owner has felt the same sinking feeling when they see the first scratch in the paint of their new(ish) car. It’s like the first sign that the car isn’t ‘new’ any more.

With the added mileage your car gets in the summer, chances are higher that you’ll also pick up a new scratch or chip. If you do, it doesn’t mean you necessarily have to take it into a body repair shop.


The sooner you fix a scratch or chip, the better because they can ‘grow’ as time goes on. You may be able to repair minor scratches yourself. It all depends on the severity of the damage. If the scratch hasn’t penetrated through the paint finish to the metal, you can try a paint scratch remover from auto supply shops, like Canadian Tire.

If you can see metal in the scratch, if it is particularly large or if rust has already set in, you may need to take the car to a body repair shop. This might be a good time to get all the scratches, chips and dents on your car fixed all at once and return its paint finish to ‘like new’ condition.


If you decide to fix a scratch or chip yourself, and they are too deep for a quick scratch remover to do the trick, you’ll generally need to follow a three-step process

  1. Clean the area around the scratch.
  2. Paint the area with a colour matched to the colour of your car.
  3. Seal it with a topcoat.


Your owner’s manual or the information sticker on your car’s door jamb will list a code for the paint on your car. Using that code, and the make, model and year of your car, you’ll be able to find matching paint at Canadian Tire. You can also get matching paint from a dealer, which may be of higher quality, but it’ll cost more too.

It’s important to know that, even if you get the correct paint for your car, it might not match perfectly to the paint on your car. Over time, exposure to the sun shifts the colour of a car’s paint and the only way to match it exactly would be to take it to a collision repair shop that has the equipment for the job.

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