Dents and scratches: Bringing your car back into shape

Thursday June 25 2020

Repairing some dents, especially on bumpers and

Repairing some dents, especially on bumpers and on the car body depends on the extent of the damage. PHOTO | ALEX ESAGALA 

By Roland D. Nasasira

Mariam Najjuuko, a businesswoman bought her first car, a Toyota Passo in February. She decided to learn how to drive with the help of a friend. However, after two weeks, the car had several scratches and dents, especially on the front bumper and the car sides. She also noticed a broken headlight.
“I had to part with Shs500,000 to have the car repainted to its initial cream colour,” Najjuuko recalls. This was after serious bargaining up from Shs700,000.

Like Najjuuko, in most cases, a dent, scratch or knock on your car may make it look shabby or even unpresentable. Besides scratches that you could inflict on your car while learning to drive, your car body could also get dents and scratches if you are knocked by errant drivers while on the road.

Repainting scratched colours
Ronnie William Kyazze, a motorist, observes that in most cases, the colour or paint of the car sometimes determines the cost of repainting your car.

For instance, an army green Sport Utility Vehicle such as a Land Rover Discovery can cost as much as Shs1.5m and almost the same range for any SUV of the same size and shape. For saloon cars such as the Volkswagen Passat, the repainting cost may be as much as Shs1m for a commendable job.

“There are garages where repainting your car body will cost less. However, the quality of the paint will not be the same as that of say, Shs1.5m and may also not last as long. Sooner or later, you will have to carry out a car body repaint again,” Kyazze advises, adding that it is safe to pay more but get a professional job that will also last.

Repairing dents
No motorist sustains a dent on their car expectedly, just like a road crash. The beauty of the dent, unlike a car crash, is that it can be repaired.


Alex Kadoli, a mechanic at Dalas Auto Limited, advises that the process of repairing a dent on your car body is determined by its reach. This is because dents are in most cases inflicted on hard to access parts of the car body such as doors, slightly above the rear tyres and between the side mirrors and front tyres.

“If the dent is hard to reach, you will be charged a lot more than a dent on a plastic bumper that is easy to pluck off and repair or repaint,” Kadoli explains.

Haroon Kakembo, a mechanic, says repairing some dents, especially on bumpers and on the car body depends on the extent of the damage. For instance, there are dents that tear through bumper bodies, something that requires bumper replacement.

The cost of a bumper, according to Kakembo, is determined by the class of the car. While bumpers for saloon cars cost about Shs300,000, those for SUVs could cost up to Shs1m. Also, repairing a torn dent on a metal body could cost more, if the process requires replacing the torn part.

According to Kakembo, most, if not all car body repairs involve tampering with the car paint, something that also determines the cost of body repairs. In automotives, car paint comes in acrylic enamel, solid or flat paint, metallic, pearlescent and matte.

Pearlescent paint is the rainbow-like paint that keeps changing colours depending on the angle you see it from.

“Each of these types comes with its price. For example, flat is the cheapest followed by the metallic type. The cost of paint you need depends on the surface area of the car to be repainted,” Kakembo advises.

As far as car body repairs are concerned, the windscreen and the rear mirror are some of the parts whose replacement is not debatable, the moment they crack or break. These can be broken by the smallest of debris on the road.

On average, the cost of new windscreen ranges between Shs200,000 to Shs500,000 or slightly more, depending on where you buy it from and the cost of having it fixed.

Repainting dents
In most cases, financial constraints determine whether you repaint the affected part or choose to repaint the entire car. Alex Kadoli, a mechanic at Dalas Auto Limited, warns that if you choose to only repaint the dented area, be careful when buying the paint.

“If you choose the wrong paint for the dent, it may not blend or match well with the rest of the paint on the car body and the car will appear as if it has multiple colours,” Kadoli warns.

Much as it is costly, it is better to have the entire car repainted so that it carries a uniform colour. Repainting the entire car, Kadoli says, ranges between Shs500,000 to Shs3m, depending on where the job is done.