Expectations vs. Reality: Car Paint Touch-Up

Minor Scratch

We try our best to make sure our customers’ expectations for touch-up results are as close to reality as possible before we begin. We want you to be happy when the job is done, not disappointed. This can be a tough task since everyone has different opinions, and touch-up can be quite subjective. Just as each customer is different, so is every touch-up job. We have to change how we approach a job depending on a lot of things: type of damage, location on vehicle, angle and force of impact, how long it’s been there, temperature, and much more. Though the process is complex, we think it’s important that you know what you’re getting for your money!

Goals of Touch-Up

Our services are meant to make your vehicle’s minor chips, scratches, and scrapes look a whole lot better and protect it from rusting and further chipping. The damaged areas are not going to look ‘perfect’ in most cases. You may still be able to tell the damage is there, especially since you already know what you’re looking for. Most of the time, someone who doesn’t know where the damage was won’t be able to spot it. Sometimes, we’re able to make damage disappear and that’s awesome! However, please don’t expect that because we can’t guarantee it. 

Here are some things you can count on with touch-up (at least with PaintCraft):

  1. We’re going to be honest with you from the start. If we don’t think we can make a significant difference, we’ll send you to someone who can. 
  2. In most cases of minor paint damage, good touch-up will get you through a lease return without those extra charges. 
  3. Though the touch-up may not make your car look brand new, it will last as long as you have the car and keep it protected.
  4. Touch-up will be a good bit cheaper than mobile spray paint services, and vastly less expensive than having a body shop respray an entire panel. Plus, it will take less than an hour and we come to you.


Excitement around how great our touch-up is can lead some to think we work actual magic. As far as touch-up goes, ours is AMAZING. We use the Dr.Colorchip system, which allows us to easily correct mistakes and to never leave blobs like traditional touch-up does. We’ve been in the business for over 15 years and have worked on every type of paint damage there is. And to top it all off, we truly care about helping people.

The missing piece for some is understanding what car paint touch-up can accomplish. Sometimes, the results are compared to that of a body shop. There are a few reasons that a body shop will charge you anywhere from $250-$600 to repair the same damage we might charge $150 for. They are going to remove, sand down, and re-spray the entire panel. A body shop requires a controlled environment to keep debris from falling into the paint. The end result should be a brand new panel with absolutely no signs of damage. They may have trouble matching your paint exactly if it’s faded from the original color, but it will be close. 

Touch-up, on the other hand, is just that: touching up. It’s not meant to be a complete transformation, although sometimes it might turn out that way. We can’t repaint your whole car. We use brushes the size of toothpicks, so sun damage and extensive peeling are outside of the touch-up realm.

Others may compare the results to touch-up they had done in the past. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to do this accurately because of all the factors involved. A shallow scratch located on the lower half of a door on a black vehicle is almost always going to turn out better than a similar scratch on the hood of a silver vehicle. It has a lot to do with the way the light hits it, and we’re not equipped to manipulate that!


When a customer sends us photos to get a quote, we respond with our best estimate of how much better we can make it look. As mentioned earlier, everyone has different opinions so we try to choose a percentage that hardly anyone could disagree with. Still, there are some customers who are disappointed that they can see the damage from 5 inches away even though we told them it would only look about 85% better. We’re doing our best to help others understand the limits of touch-up to avoid unrealistic expectations like this. If you’re not sure, you can take a look at our guide for choosing the right repair method for your situation or send us an email.

Our specialty is repairing hundreds, or even thousands, of tiny rock chips on the hood and front bumper. We get to smear paint all over the chips, let it dry, and then remove the excess with Dr. Colorchip’s special solution. The transformation is night and day when there are that many chips. You can watch our process for that type of repair here.

When we tell you that touch-up is not going to look perfect, please believe us! If you let us know what type of outcome you’re looking for, we can tell you whether or not we can make it happen. We’re always happy to point you in the direction of someone else if we can’t.


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We’re Here to Help

If you want more information about car paint repair, we’re always happy to help! I have been doing car paint scratch repair for 15 years. All of our techs here at PaintCraft are highly-skilled artists with direct training from me. Even if you’re not in our service area, we can point you in the right direction. Just send us an email! 

You can also check out our YouTube channel for tutorials.

Click here to make an appointment with us in the Orange County and Los Angeles areas.

We look forward to restoring beauty and value to your vehicles!

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