Pros and Cons of DIY Touchup Paint

If the paint job on your car has gotten faded or scratched, you have a choice to make. Do you try to ignore it, take it to a body shop, or try to fix the paint yourself? Here are some pros and cons of trying to fix it yourself.

Pro: Cost

The most-cited benefit of DIY touch-up paint is not having to pay for a professional job. Depending on the severity of the paint damage and the quality level you want, a professional paint repair can easily cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. (This may or not be partly covered by your insurance, depending on your policy and a number of factors.) DIY car paint kits are usually much cheaper than getting professional service, but a paint sprayer is often needed, which can be expensive. You might not want to buy one for one job. If you call around, you might find someone willing to rent you one, but this is kind of a hassle.

Pro: Time and Convenience

DIY touchup paint and products can be purchased online. You don’t have to schedule an appointment for paint work or leave your car at a body shop for any length of time. There are lots of YouTube videos with instructions on how to use these touchup paint supplies and products.

Con: Color Match Challenge

DIY touch-up paints are available in a wide variety of colors, and you can probably determine the official shade of your car’s original paint and order it pretty easily. But paint jobs fade over time. Professional car painters have special tools to create the correct shade based on what your car looks like now (as opposed to how it looked when it was new) and to blend the new paint with the old. This can be a huge challenge for an amateur, and can lead to some embarrassing results.

Con: Learning Curve 

Your car’s paint consists of three layers: primer, paint, and clear coat. If your car suffered a very superficial scratch, you can probably fix it pretty easily with an inexpensive DIY product. But if it was deeply scratched, the job becomes a lot more complicated. Your job may involve a sanding disc, sandpaper, masking tape, putty, wax, a blending solvent, paint brushes, a paint sprayer, etc. Many of these items require a bit of experience to use correctly. Using them the wrong way can make your paint job worse instead of better, which can result in you needing to pay a professional more than you would have initially had you not bought materials and tried to do it yourself.

Con: The Professional Advantage

Even if you watch hours of YouTube videos (many of which offer contradictory advice), and find the perfect paint and tools, and do everything exactly right, there’s still a pretty good chance that your repair will be noticeable to a prospective buyer giving the car a close look. Professionals have years of experience and access to a wide variety of expensive tools and paints that enable them to make a repair virtually undetectable. One thing they have access to is ventilated spray booths, which enable them to focus on applying paint thoroughly and evenly, instead of also focusing on not getting paint on their garage floor or door, or the driveway, etc. Most body shops also will give you a lifetime guarantee of their workmanship and show you a certification that their technicians have reached a professional level of expertise and training. Look for technicians who are I-Car Gold Class certified & ASE certified. Some body shops also offer pickup and delivery, or will loan you a car for the duration of the service.


If your car has any paint or body damage, don’t hesitate to contact the pros at B&L Automotive Repairs. A family-owned business, we have over 30 years of experience handling every kind of body and mechanical repair, and we’ve even got a play area to entertain the kids while you wait. Our expert staff is continually trained and updated, and our state-of-the-art equipment allows them to serve you with the highest level of expertise. No matter what make and model you drive, or which insurance company you use, we will provide fast and reliable service to make sure your needs are met. Call us today at (773) 463-1622, or contact us through our website for more information.

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