When Does My Car Need a New Paint Job?

Rusty VW beetle

Sometimes it’s obvious that your car needs a new paint job. Maybe the finish is completely worn away, or you were in an accident that left large scratches and dings.

Other times, though, it’s not so cut and dry. Maybe you need fresh paint, but perhaps a new coat of wax would do the trick. If you’re wondering whether your car needs a new paint job, here are a few of the most common problems that mean a fresh coat is in order.


A vehicle accident is probably the most common situation that warrants a new paint job.

Even if you don’t see any noticeable damage to the finish, replacement parts often don’t match the original paint color. In this case, the body shop may need to paint the parts to match. You’ll need an auto body repair shop to look over the damage and match the paint.

Dents and Scratches

Over time, your car may get a few dings or dents and scratches. These can happen in a parking lot because someone hits your car with a shopping cart or their own car door. Or you might drive through a hailstorm and end up with numerous dings on your car roof and hood. Or maybe you back into a mailbox or scratch the side as you’re pulling into the garage.

Whatever the reason, dents and scratches should be repaired right away. If you leave them, the metal underneath may rust or the paint may start to peel. Some dents and scratches can be repaired without new paint, but others will require sanding and repainting. 

Cracks, Bubbling, or Peeling

Cracks, bubbling, or peeling are usually signs the clear coat is wearing away on your car. If you don’t attend to the problem, your paint will eventually wear down, too, and it may lead to rust.

If you notice any cracks, bubbling, or peeling, head to the body shop to see if you need a new clear coat.

Dull Finish

Does your car look dull, though it once looked shiny and glossy? That’s a dull finish, and it usually means the clear coat has worn away.

You can tell your paint is dull if you try to wax your car and the finish doesn’t look any better. In this case, a new clear coat may do the trick. Sometimes, though, a fresh coat of paint is a better solution.


Fading paint is a little different than a dull finish. When paint fades, it’s usually either due to sun damage or the age of the vehicle. When you wax your car regularly, it’s less likely to fade quickly. Nearly every car’s paint will fade, eventually, though, and there’s nothing you can do in this situation but repaint it for a nice, glossy finish.


Rust is a critical situation that requires a new paint job quickly. It usually happens in extreme weather conditions, particularly cold. In fact, AAA states that rust issues affect 70 percent of drivers.

When looking for rust, make sure you check the underneath of your vehicle, too. Road salt is one of the most common factors that cause rust, and it usually affects paint on the bottom of the vehicle.

If you see any rust spots, you’ll need paint to help protect the area.

Schedule Paint Repairs

If you think your car needs paint or clear coat repair, contact Valley Collision. We’re an auto body shop in Salt Lake City, and we offer free estimates. We’re always here to help.

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