New Car Scratch!

Hi all! So 4 days ago I purchased my first new vehicle. I bought 2019 Honda CR-V and I really like it. The whole process was actually pretty great. The dealer was awesome through the whole process.

Yesterday I noticed a 5-6 inch scratch on the back quarter panel! Oh no. I text the sale person and asked them if there is anything that can be done. He talked with the manager and they had me bring it in. They said they should be able to buff it out, and if not we would get it squared away.

I went to pick back up the vehicle this afternoon and unfortunately I can still see the scratch. It’s not prominent or nearly as visible as it was, but I can see it. I showed the sales person and he showed the manager. They basically said they can’t buff anymore without going through the clear coat. I Expressed that I am still not real happy. It was a ~35k vehicle. I understand I should of caught it before driving away, but neither I, nor the sales guy saw it.

It sounds like I’m going to have to make a decision…

Live with it, or have them repaint the quarter panel it at their expense.

I think they will repaint it and pay for it, but is that the best move? The body shop guy said after factory paint isn’t as good as factory because the factory cures more and he wouldn’t repaint it if it was his. But, he is obviously biased, but I don’t know enough to make a good choice.

If they are willing to pay, should I opt to have them paint it? What’s the risk? Will it match? Thoughts?

If the scratch is that deep, the scratch is below clear coat and into the base coat.

It has to be repainted.


So are you saying that leaving it could have a negative impact long term and isn’t an option?

If they are going to actually fix it let them do it however they want. You had the vehicle for 4 days so they could say someone scratched the vehicle after you left the lot with it.


I understand that, and I acknowledge they really have been great. I am just trying to understand what the best option is. They said they would fix it regardless of what it took, but stopped short of saying they would repaint it. They implied it, but haven’t said it

My options are push for them to repaint, and I think they will, or live with it as is. But is repairing the best option? Or am I opening a door that could lead to much worse issues?

There is your answer . You will have a work order for the repair on file and if a problem shows up later then worry about it then .

Besides , someone could open their door into yours next week and give you a new scratch or dent.

Yeah the first scratch is the worst. I ran into my bike in the garage with my new car. But the dealer really has no responsibility to repair this. It’s your scratch, not a defect. So just go to a good body shop and they should be able to fix it one way or another. You don’t have to paint the whole panel, just that portion. With a good shop, you’ll never know it but you will have to pay for it. It might be they can fill in the scratch and then buff it smooth, or add clear and blend that in. Happens all the time.

You are correct, I screwed up and did not identify it before leaving. With that said, I really do think they will fix it if I ask. I did not do the final walk around well enough. But the sales person self acknowledged that he did not as well. Not putting it on him, but I think they have enough incentive to fix it.

My question still is the same. Is it better to leave as is or repaint? Is there downsides to repairing, even if a small area?

No ! Relax , we had our less then 1 year old vehicle backed into by someone . We had to pay deductible and it had to have a panel put in and repainted . That was 5 years ago and I defy anyone to tell me which side was repaired.

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They won’t paint a small area. The entire rear quarter panel will be repainted.

I referenced a small area because the other person said that’s what they would do. The dealer stated they would have to repair the whole panel.

I’m leaning towards asking them to repaint the panel. I understand I screwed up, but I also know I didn’t scratch it. I know there will be scratches over the life of the car, but it was a pretty significant scratch and I really would like it fixed. My biggest fear is that I push to repaint, they do, and it turns out bad.

Ah that’s different. It was there when you bought the car. Yep, dealer needs to fix it whether that means repaint or not. That’s what body shops do every day. I special ordered an 86 Park Ave and when it came in portions of it had obviously been touched up but at the factory. They do it all the time. The dealer said they were going to clear the whole car but I think all they did was polish it up. It never ever was a problem for the six years I owned it. Touch up is done if necessary at the factory after the car has been painted and also by dealers if necessary. You don’t usually ever see it but it’s done. If it’s just the clear that is scratched, they can do just the spot and color sand and buff it or do the whole 1/4 panel.

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If it is just a small scratch with no damage I would suggest leaving it. While it is unfortunate it happened so quickly, in a few years the car will have other minor blemishes and it will become insignificant. Repainting an entire panel is not ideal, and will generally have a more significant impact on resale. If your dealer reports service history to Carfax, it will likely display that body/paint repair had been performed.

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4 days elapsed before it was noticed. What is more likely- it went unnoticed during car prep and delivery inspection or it got scratched in a parking lot during 4 days of use? No one will ever know for sure but I’d be placing my wager on the latter… If they offer to paint it, thank your lucky stars and graciously accept it.


Leave it be, it’s only the first of many more to come.

It was transferred from a dealer an hour away and the sales person admitted to not inspecting it when it was delivered to me. I understand why you say that though, but I know the scratch did not come from me. I drove it very little over those 4 days and the scratch is in a very odd spot. It is just under the tail light. If you look on the tail light on the 2019 CR-V, it sticks out further than this area. The area where the scratch is located is in a recessed area essentially and it was a vertical scratch.

What sucks is, while I know the scratch was there before the 4 days, I didn’t notice it until now.

I understand that. It just sucks that it happened so soon on a brand new car.

New cars are sometimes damaged in shipment, or when stored at the dealership. A proper repair will be invisible. If a body shop uses paint which is inferior to factory paint, how can they guarantee if for life; which good ones do? The factory doesn’t.
I traded an Acura in December with a scratch on the quarter panel. It was fixed with an air brush. I could not see the repair and I knew where it had been.

Awesome. Thank you. I wonder if it is ever cheaper for a dealer to just replace a panel.

The dealer will not replace the panel for a scratch. that is completely unrealistic.
If they are paying for the repair (which they don’t have to, since you reported this after you took it home for 4 days,) then let them handle it as they see fit. They will likely paint the entire panel, but it isn’t likely to affect anything about the car. Let them fix as they want to. They are doing a good will gesture for you- getting overly picky and demanding will ruin that.

If you are paying for it- take it to some body shops and get estimates. Then you can determine if it is worth the repair or not. Insurance should cover it, too.

I’m pretty sure I heard (or perhaps read?) Tom and Ray talk about keeping a new car in pristine condition as long as possible- because once you start letting things like this go- it effects your mental state about the car and you start caring about it less and less, and then that will lead to actions that devalue it even more- creating a downward spiral.

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