Should I fix these scratches before selling my car?

I’m selling a 2019 Subaru Outback Touring 3.6R. (We bought a trailer this summer and needed a larger vehicle to tow it.) It has 6,000 miles and is in great condition, with one exception: it has several significant scratches. It was parked in our garage and unbeknownst to us, our daughter was riding her bike between our two cars and that led to the scratches. :frowning: Guess it will have to come out of her college fund! :laughing:

I’m trying to decide whether to reduce the price of the car or get the scratches fixed. My guess is that fixing them won’t increase the value enough to justify the cost of the repairs, but I’m curious what you think. Here are links to photos of the scratches:

Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
Photo 4
Photo 5

I certainly would not even want a year old vehicle with those scratches no matter how cheap . I say just bite the bullet and use your Comprehensive insurance and have it repaired properly . The cost to fix will be more then your deductible I think. But a body shop estimate will let your decide.


It can be hard to tell on the internet, but that looks like it might buff out with a rag and some rubbing compound. I’d certainly try that first.

1 Like

I would want them fixed on a 2019 model car but fixing them will be more complicated and expensive that you might think. If insurance covers it then fine; have it fixed.
If this has to come out of pocket you need a few estimates from a body shop first. You might be shocked at the repair costs.

Someone bumped into the left rear of my Lincoln a dozen years ago and left a 6" scratch with a very slight dent. He offered to pay me cash out of pocket to keep it away from his insurance company.
The cheapest of the 2 estimates was 1100 dollars for that little incident.


You mean something like this?

I also considered a touch-up paint kit.

I hadn’t thought about insurance. I have a pretty good policy, but will they cover something like this when it was clearly our fault (i.e. our daughter scratching it with her bike)?

I’d be really careful with the Meguiars thing. They make good stuff, so I’m sure it would work well in experienced hands, but a buffing pad on a power drill is a really good way to burn your paint if you’re not good at it. They do make a standalone rubbing compound that you can apply with a microfiber cloth or a wax pad and some elbow grease. I’d go for that before I reached for power tools.

The touchup paint will be obvious, and on a new-ish car, I’d at minimum want money knocked off for either the scratch or the touchup paint.

Unless your policy is liability-only, your insurance should pay for the scratch. It may or may not make your rates go up. It also may or may not be worth it to involve them. If you have a $1,000 deductible and the shop wants $500 to do the scratch, insurance wouldn’t kick in. I have occasionally had body shops take care of a scratch like that for free because it took them 3 minutes with a buffer, and it wasn’t worth their time to bother with an invoice. Your mileage may vary, however, and don’t go in expecting them to do the work free.


Some of those look like they are through the color layer, and are pretty long. On a 2002 car, you might be able to get away with touch up paint and some compounding/sanding/polishing. But on a car that’s a year or two old, that method won’t be enough for most perspective buyers who will be expecting near flawless paint on a newer car, and you’ll certainly get dinged big time if you attempt to trade it in. In order to fix this, you’re going to need a body shop. Some of the scratches are small enough/shallow enough to where you could get a reasonable result with some scratch remover/polish. but 2, 4, and 5, will probably need to be repainted professionally. Expect to spend a bit over a grand.


Ok, thanks. My deductible is $500 so if my insurance covers it that would be the max I pay. The car is in excellent condition with low miles, so as you suggest it’s probably worth it to pay $500 in order to be able to sell it for the full price it would otherwise get.

Yes. On a car this new, with a clear title and low miles, you will lose way more than the cost of fixing the scratches if you attempt to sell or trade it as-is.

You absolutely have to repair them to maximize your potential sale price.