How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Car? (2023)

It can pay—literally and figuratively—to make your old car look almost new with a fresh paint job. First, there's the psychic pay you get in return for having a good-looking car once again. And then there's the potential financial payoff when you sell your ride; it should be more valuable. So, how much does it cost to paint a car?

The answer depends on what you want to get from the paint job. How much it costs to paint a car, truck, or SUV varies widely depending on the level of detail in the pre-painting preparation process and the quality of the paint. Are you interested in a quick and economical way to pump up the value of your car before selling it? Then a less expensive paint job could be just fine.

At the other end of the spectrum is a restoration project. If you're repainting a car or refurbishing a ride you want to keep for a long time, it makes sense to invest considerably more. This is especially true if the car is highly valuable; a cheap paint job will detract from its value should you decide to sell.

Price Ranges for Paint Jobs

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Car? (1)

Google "how much does it cost to repaint a car," and you'll find that there are national chains that charge only a few hundred dollars to paint your car or truck. This might not be a bad option if you're on a tight budget. But know that there are plenty of potential pitfalls to slapping a cheapo paint job on your car or truck. For starters, the quality of the paint might not match what was originally used on your car. Most newer vehicles, for example, have a clear-coat finish that adds extra work to the repainting process if you want to do it right. Add some repairs to exterior dings and small dents, and these steps can bump the price from several hundred bucks to well over a thousand.

(Video) How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car? Kevin Tetz On Professional Paint Jobs - Eastwood

These less expensive paint jobs won't have the same level of care and attention put into them as pricier options—how could they? According to the price-tracking siteCostHelper

, a third of consumers who purchased cheap paint jobs—which averaged $566—were unhappy with the results. Consumers spent between $1000 and $3500 for what they described as good-quality, "thorough" paint jobs. According to consumers who reported their prices to the site, it takes at least $2500 to obtain a "showroom quality" paint job. If you're in the mood to go wild with metallic paints or multiple colors—and maybe some flames down the side—look out. The most outlandish paint jobs on custom cars or hot rods can cost tens of thousands. But you don't have to break the bank to get a great paint job; consumers on the CostHelper site reported spending an average of $4975 for high-quality paint jobs.

So, think twice if that 1996 Honda Civic you loved in college needs new paint. You don't want to end up with the most expensive used economy car on the planet. When getting your car painted, here are five essential things to consider:

Decide How Good a Paint Job You Really Need

If your car has only a few minor chips and blemishes, then painting the entire vehicle probably doesn't make sense. Repainting the hood and touching up door dings should range from $200 to $1000, depending on how much work is required. Keep in mind that where you live can determine the degree of repairs. Cars in hot climates, where sun is the biggest enemy, battle with hazy finishes and faded paint caused by intense heat and damaging rays. This could make touch-up repairs more difficult, since affected areas will likely be large surfaces such as the hood, rear deck, and roof. Then again, cars in cooler climates could have touches of rust beneath the paint that require attention.

Don't Paint over Problems

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Car? (2)

(Video) How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Car or Truck?

You wouldn't paint your house if the siding was falling off. Never put a thin, superficial, cosmetic cover-up over a structural problem—and painting over dents or rust without addressing serious issues is just that. If your vehicle has lots of dings and some rust, painting over the problems will only make them worse in both the near and long term. A shiny, fresh coat of paint will likely make body damage even more visible, while rusting panels will continue to rot if they're not properly tended to. Paint is cosmetic, not a means to cover up bodywork issues.

Keep Your Budget Realistic

Let's say you have an older vehicle with high miles, valued at a couple thousand dollars. It's looking a little tired, but you love the car, and it's still running great. Opting for a cheaper repaint in the same color is fine if all you want is a quick exterior freshening for minimal cash outlay. This might hold true if you're looking to sell this same car. Spending several hundred bucks, maybe a thousand or two, could bump the asking price, though probably not by more than you'll spend on the paint job. On the other hand, if you have a vehicle that's either a classic or something with a higher value, skimping on paint can be a recipe for disaster. You could adversely affect the car's value and potentially be stuck with a finish that's not even close to what the car looked like when new.

Understand the Work Involved

For an inexpensive paint job, preparation will be minimal, and the shop might not include repairs to rust and door dings. The glass area and other non-painted exterior trim will be covered up before repainting, but that's about it. From 50 feet away it might look fine, but up close there will be numerous telltale signs it was a surface respray, such as overspray on the rubber gaskets around the windows and on exterior trim, differences in the color of the doorjambs, and spots of overspray where the masking off wasn't perfect. If you know this going into the process, okay. Just understand what you're paying for, and check to see if there's any kind of warranty on the work.

(Video) How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car?

Paying More Gets You a Better Paint Job

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Car? (4)

The more you pay, the better the paint shop's preparation. Some shops simply won't do slapdash, budget work. Some will offer several levels of paint jobs. As you move up the price ladder, shops will remove more trim pieces and items like the head- and taillamps. This ensures the pain will cover sharp bends in the sheetmetal and get into the crevices in the body where the older paint might have shown through. In more expensive paint jobs, the prep will likely also involve sanding off the older paint, fixing exterior damage, and even removing glass. This adds time and money to the process, which is why something along these lines could cost $5000 or more.

The most expensive paint jobs amount to a restoration: having the car largely or entirely disassembled to make certain every single section and panel gets repaired and repainted to look as good as or better than when it rolled off the assembly line. This includes doing metalwork and using body filler to ensure panels are arrow straight before painting, attacking the engine bay, painting the interior of the trunk, and repainting other, often extremely hard-to-reach spots. This process could cost tens of thousands of dollars and is usually reserved for high-end classics, vintage vehicles, or highly valuable sports cars and exotics. Just check out the work done on TV restoration shows such asOverhaulin' Restoration Garage,

or and you'll see how much time and effort go into an all-out refurbishing. Remember, these shows often compress months or years of work into a single half-hour installment. Full restorations run into the hundreds and sometimes thousands of hours in pursuit of paint perfection. And you pay dearly for those hours.

(Video) MAACO paint job

For most of us, though, those are far better paint jobs than we'll ever need for our personal rides. Keep the above five points in mind as you consider a new paint job, and you'll find it easier to match your needs to your budget.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Car? (5)

Nick Kurczewski

For more than 20 years, automotive journalist Nick Kurczewski has written for dozens of print and digital publications about all aspects of the car world. Past adventures have included driving nearly 200 mph on the German autobahn and becoming a licensed Zamboni driver at an ice rink in Manhattan. He’s driven a car powered by compressed air, investigated how to keep rodents out of engine bays, and talked his way out of a ticket while piloting a Bugatti. In his more relaxed moments, Nick loves helping people find the perfect car for their driving needs and shopping budget

(Video) How much dose a paint job cost | Oldschool and Newer cars! #paintshop #custom #painter


How much does it cost to properly paint a car? ›

Cost of painting your car

In general, expect to pay between $300 and $10,000 for a professional paint job. The upper end of that price range is where we find metal flake, multi-colored, and custom paint jobs, so there's no need to spend that much unless you're prepping your car for a show.

Is it worth re painting a car? ›

Painting (Usually) Adds Value

Having your car repainted is an investment in many ways. Not only will you treat yourself to a vehicle with a like-new finish, you will add to its residual or resale value. By investing in repainting, you can get a higher trade-in value for an older vehicle.

How do you price a painting job? ›

Some contractors use a rough base rate of $1.50 or $2.00 per square foot, some multiply 4 to 6 times the paint cost, some estimate the time the job will take and add it to an estimate of materials—and some may simply offer the lowest price to outbid the competition.

Is it cheaper to paint or wrap a car? ›

Cost is a likely factor in a wrapping vs painting decision: is it cheaper to wrap or paint a car? Paint jobs run from $500 (low quality) or anywhere between $1,000-$5,000 (high-quality). A professional wrap runs between $2,500 to $5,000. There is also a labor cost to remove the wrap that may range between $500-$600.

How long will a paint job last on a car? ›

The paint on your vehicle should last 10 – 15 years if it's properly cared for, but exposure to the elements, long-term exposure to sunlight, and acidic substances can damage your car paint or make it age quicker. The type of paint your vehicle has will also be a factor in how long it lasts.

Why is it so expensive to paint a car? ›

And, cars today use more exotic materials than in the past. Materials like carbon fiber, certain plastics and multi-stage finishes require more knowledge to paint properly than steel and aluminum. All of this adds up to a labor force that must have the correct skill set and training—which also means higher costs.

How long does a Maaco paint job take? ›

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PAINT MY CAR? A: 80% of all vehicles we paint are ready in 2-3 business days. You can add a day or two if you have a significant amount of bodywork, need replacement parts or if your vehicle requires extra preparation to repair existing paint damage.

Is painting a car better than wrapping? ›

Vehicle wraps are generally more durable than paint. While a top-tier paint job can last the life of a vehicle, standard paint jobs typically only last a couple of years. A high-quality vehicle wrap will last up to 10 years.

How long should you wait to drive a freshly painted car? ›

Avoid unnecessary drives

It is advisable and safe to leave your car in a garage for about two months. Only drive when necessary and during fair weather conditions. During this waiting period, you could use taxi services or use a second car if you have one. Your patience will pay off.

Can you negotiate the price of a painting? ›

Unexperienced art buyers are often reluctant to inquire about a discount. However, if you are unable to afford a full price, you shouldn't be afraid to ask for a small reduction. Many galleries even expect a bit of negotiating. After all, it's better to sell an art piece with a discount than not to sell it at all.

How much should I charge to paint? ›

The most common way to be charged for a paint job is by the square foot of wall space to be painted. Most painters charge $2 to $6 per square foot for interior jobs including two coats of paint. If you choose to have the window and door trims, moldings, and doors painted that number will increase a bit.

What should a painting quote include? ›

Estimates should list everything that is involved in painting in the painting process.
Your estimate should include prices for the following stages:
  • Preparation Work. ...
  • Measurements. ...
  • Materials Costs. ...
  • Payment Requirements. ...
  • Final Walk Through. ...
  • Estimated Completion Time. ...
  • Guarantee.
Sep 30, 2019

What lasts longer paint or wrap? ›

A wrap typically lasts about five years, while a good paint job can shine for decades if it's cared for. And although you won't have to wax the wrap or tend to it the same way you would paint, an automated car wash with brushes or a power washer can tear the vinyl.

Can I paint my own car? ›

The bright side to having no good alternatives to painting a vehicle is that you can do it yourself on the cheap. All you need is a good enamel paint and some basic tools. You can use pretty much any enamel paint that you want, but some give better results than others.

How much does it cost to paint a car a different color? ›

Basic costs range from $300 to $1,000. Standard: The cost of a standard paint job usually includes sanding the body and removing rust before painting to get an attractive finish. Standard costs range from $1,000 to $4,500.

What is the best month to paint a car? ›

Automotive Paint in Fall

With mostly dry, warm weather conditions in the fall months, and rain typically holding off until the latter part of November, autumn is an ideal time to apply a coat of paint to your car.

How many coats of paint should you put on a car? ›

Typically, it will take three to four coats to completely cover the surface. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's drying time – this can vary from 20 minute to an hour.

What is the best automotive paint for beginners? ›

1. Best Automotive Paint—Dupli-Color Car Paint. Not only does the Dupli-Color BSP200 Paint Shop Finish System lacquer provide a beautiful finish, but according to many of the reviewers it's also great for beginners too since there's no mixing involved, it applies very easily, and isn't inclined to run.

What is the most expensive color to paint a car? ›

Let's get nerdy about paint. For many new cars, exterior paint is included. Automakers often offer several different colors free, though special pigments and hues can command a premium, with red often being the most expensive.

What is the most expensive paint color? ›

Google "the most expensive pigment" and you'll find that Lapis Lazuli is believed to be the most expensive pigment ever created. It was pricier than its weight in gold.

Is a car worth more with original paint? ›

Used cars with their factory finish paint intact are a valuable find – it means the vehicle hasn't been in any accidents and isn't concealing damage underneath a repainting job. In summary, a vehicle that has its original paint is worth significantly more than one that's been repainted.

Does Maaco do body work before painting? ›

We'll coordinate with the insurance companies involved, schedule an appointment for your car to be inspected, and even find you a rental car while we make your repairs. Maaco delivers certified bodywork and painting.

Does Maaco prep your car? ›

At Maaco, our estimators examine your vehicle and suggest condition repairs. We offer affordable surface prep options that ensure your MAACOVER looks great. A little surface repair before the paint goes on can ensure it holds that gloss and shine for years to come.

Does painting your car decrease its value? ›

While paint color can affect resale value by a couple thousand dollars, its quality, including scratches and dings, plays a factor. You may see a lower value if: You didn't regularly wash your vehicle when you owned it. Scratches, swirls and dings have built up on the surface.

How much is a full car wrap? ›

The cost of wrapping a car depends upon many factors. If you are opting for a full Car Wrap by a professional, the Cost can Range From Between $2000 To $6000. However, this is a ballpark figure.

How long does a wrap last on a car? ›

You should expect your car wrap to last roughly five to seven years, depending on the finish and proper maintenance.

How long does liquid wrap last? ›

Lifespans of liquid wraps vary widely depending on the polymer used and can be as little as under a year to up to 5 years in some cases. Of course, if you have ceramic coating applied, your wrap will last much longer.

What can you not do after painting a car? ›

5 things you should never do to a newly painted car
  1. Don't leave the shop right away. ...
  2. Don't go for a wash immediately. ...
  3. Refrain from going on unnecessary drives. ...
  4. Avoid waxing your car. ...
  5. Never leave your newly painted car parked outdoors or under a tree.
Jan 25, 2018

Will rain damage a freshly painted car? ›

The good news is that regular water marks do not generally damage your vehicle's paint, they just take away from the shine factor. However, not properly washing your vehicle after several rainy days can result in a build up of water marks which means a build up of dirt. This can, over time, become harder to remove.

Can you wash car after paint job? ›

The expert recommendation is to wait at least two weeks to wash your car from when the new paint job was completed. Even then, a modest hand wash is likely best. A bucket of water with soap (not dish soap) should do just fine. Make sure you use a soft cloth; no brushes or any abrasive object of the like.

Who decides how much a painting is worth? ›

Consider finding an appraiser to determine the value of your artwork. Appraisers are trained specialists who work for a fee. They evaluate your piece and give you a written statement of its value.

How do you ask for paint discounts? ›

Consider approaching the subject by asking: “Is there a collector discount?” or “Is the price negotiable?” Galleries expect buyers to push back on price, so do not hesitate to ask. The standard discount is between 5% and 15%, depending on the overall price of the work and the gallery policy.

How do you ask the price of a painting? ›

Instead of asking what a specific piece costs, you can simple ask something along the lines of: I like your work, but am limited in the funds-department. Is there something for me to consider in the price range of $x? Don't worry, I'm prepared for a "No sorry, that's not enough" answer!

Why do painters cost so much? ›

The biggest cost is labor.

Most of the painter's time is spent preparing the surface so paint will adhere well and the job will last. Your biggest potential savings come from controlling or reducing how much time a professional painter has to spend on the cleaning, patching, sanding, caulking and painting.

How much does 1 gallon of paint cost? ›

Costs for paint can vary dramatically. Lower-quality flat finish paint typically costs around $15. But high-end paints can cost as much as $30 or $40. Some designer brands of paint may even cost as much as $120 per gallon.

How much does it cost to get a car painted black? ›

On average, most people report spending around $500-$1,000 to have a car repainted. Of course, this price can go up or down depending on your specific needs and wants. If you're looking for a high-quality paint job that will last for years, be prepared to spend more than if you were just looking for a quick fix.

What do you say when selling a painting? ›

You need to be descriptive and tell a story. Talk about the work, what inspired you, how you created your work, colours you may have used and on top of it, you need to sound inspiring and excited about the work you spent so many hours creating.

How many paint quotes should I get? ›

Get Written Quotes from Several Contractors

There is no hard and fast rule, but we recommend getting written quotes from at least three painters. Also, you need to get all of the information in writing, including what items will be painted, square footage to be painted, warranty details, paint that will be used, etc.

How do you design a price quote? ›

9 Steps for Building a Useful Price Quote Template
  1. Perform appropriate research. ...
  2. Start with an invoice. ...
  3. Focus on readability. ...
  4. Include spaces for relevant product details. ...
  5. Be consistent with discounts. ...
  6. Build in opportunities for customization. ...
  7. Include up-to-date contact information. ...
  8. Use value as your guide.

Can you wrap a car yourself? ›

Can I vinyl wrap my car myself? Absolutely! Vinyl car wrap can dramatically change the look of your vehicle, but it only requires a few basic tools, a clean work area, and a patient approach.

What are the cons of wrapping a car? ›

While wrapping your red car with a black vinyl will initially look great, another 'con' worth noting, is the eventual colour change when the wrap suffers any scuffs or scratches. As the wrap undergoes more damage, the colour will begin to seep through, becoming more noticeable and losing its overall finish.

Can you wrap a car with no paint? ›

The good news for those with a peeling car is: the short answer is yes, vinyl wrap can be applied to a peeling car. Especially if it's peeling clear coat.

What car color is best for long term? ›

White is the longest lasting colour among all car paint options. Or, if you choose to pick faster fading car paints such as red and blue, keep the vehicle shaded to protect it from dust, dirt and UV rays.

What is the alternative to painting a car? ›

A vinyl wrap is the medium of choice for vehicle advertising because it costs much less than a custom paint job, and it offers significantly more design and finish options than paint.

What is the cheapest color to paint a car? ›

Choosing a mainstream color like black, white, or gray is the cheapest way to go.

Is it cheaper to wrap or paint a car? ›

Cost is a likely factor in a wrapping vs painting decision: is it cheaper to wrap or paint a car? Paint jobs run from $500 (low quality) or anywhere between $1,000-$5,000 (high-quality). A professional wrap runs between $2,500 to $5,000. There is also a labor cost to remove the wrap that may range between $500-$600.

Is it worth getting car repainted? ›

Painting (Usually) Adds Value

Having your car repainted is an investment in many ways. Not only will you treat yourself to a vehicle with a like-new finish, you will add to its residual or resale value. By investing in repainting, you can get a higher trade-in value for an older vehicle.

How much paint does it take to paint a whole car? ›

And because the car is small we'll only need about 2-2.5 quarts of mixed paint to cover the vehicle two times. When painting an averaged sized car, a one gallon kit (of enamel paint) is usually just enough for a medium sized sedan car or light truck. Most times you'll have a little extra.

How much is a wrap for a car? ›

Here are the average baseline costs of having a professional apply a wrap to your vehicle. Compact car or coupe: Prices vary depending on design, but start around $2,000. Family sedan: The average family sedan would run you about $3,000. Compact crossover: Most compact crossover vehicles start at around $3,500.

What color of car paint cost the most? ›

Let's get nerdy about paint. For many new cars, exterior paint is included. Automakers often offer several different colors free, though special pigments and hues can command a premium, with red often being the most expensive.

How much will 1 gallon of car paint cover? ›

Paint coverage is affected by numerous factors: the quality of the paint you're using, the color you're covering and the color you're using. That said, a good rule of thumb is that one gallon of paint will cover between 350 and 400 sq. ft.

How many coats of paint does a car need? ›

Typically, it will take three to four coats to completely cover the surface. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's drying time – this can vary from 20 minute to an hour.

How many layers of paint are on the average car? ›

It's comprised of three layers: Primer, Base Colour Coat and Clear Coat (lacquer).

What color car loses its value the fastest? ›

Brown, a shade that is uncommon across most vehicle types, also happens to lose its value faster than any other color, depreciating at a rate 1.2 times faster than the industry average.

What color car stays cleanest? ›

White is the easiest color to keep clean over time.

It's the best color for hiding imperfections and scratches, as well as water spots. White also hides dirt easily, so you don't have to worry about black or grey making it look like you have a dirty car.

What car color sells the most? ›

America's Most Popular Car Colors (according to iSeeCars.Com) Grayscale colors (white, black, gray, and silver) represent a total of 78.5% of all vehicles on the road in the United States. White sits atop the list as the most popular choice.

How long will a wrap last on a car? ›

You should expect your car wrap to last roughly five to seven years, depending on the finish and proper maintenance.

How long does 3M vinyl wrap last? ›

Quality Materials Will Affect Your Vehicle Wrap

In the vinyl wrap world, the top two brands are 3m and Avery; each claims their materials will last for seven years. Yet, they also each have varying warranties for their materials. 3M's most popular wrap film series 1080 is three years on vertical surfaces.

Do wraps damage paint? ›

Although they've been around for quite some time, many vehicle owners often ask us, does a car wrap damage paint? The truth is that a vinyl wrap or car wrap as some call it, is completely safe to be applied to any type of paint – whether it's gloss or a matte finish.


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