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

A fresh paint job can make your car look revitalized and give it a new life. By giving the outside a new look, you can customize your car and make it say something about who you are. It can also give it a few more years of life on the road. New paint will help protect your vehicle from rust, deterioration, and corrosion that any daily driver deals with.

A standard paint job for your car will usually cost somewhere between $1,000 and $4,500. This will cover the work needed for a decent paint job on an average-sized car. However, there are a lot of different factors when it comes to how much new paint costs. By understanding what these factors are, you can decide whether a new paint job is for you.

What’s the Price Range for Painting a Car?

New paint for a car will vary in price tremendously. The industry is fairly wide-ranging in quality, type of paint job, and craftsmanship. Because of this, you could end up paying very different amounts for different cars and at different auto painting shops. However, there are some general rules of thumb when it comes to the price.

No Repairs

An incredibly basic paint job using synthetic enamel paint will cost somewhere between $300 to $900. This usually will not include the removal of rust or any other repairs that you may want to get done first. If you have a used car that you are just trying to rejuvenate a bit, this could be the best option. It usually will not include unseen areas like the inside of the hood or doors.

With Repairs

If you want the body to be completely prepared, this would bring the price between $1,000 and $4,500. Body prep includes removing the old paint, dent repair, fillers, complete sanding, and rust removal. This is a good choice if you are restoring a vehicle and need to completely refinish the body.


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For an entire showroom quality, professional paint job, you could be looking at upwards of $20,000. Most people won’t need this option unless they have a classic car or a vehicle they plan on showing. A paint job like this usually entails detailed bodywork and dozens of coats of paint.

What Determines the Price of a Car Paint Job?

It can be difficult to determine exactly how much a new paint job will cost. This is because there are many different factors and processes involved with painting. They are all very specific to the car and the situation. Knowing what determines the price of a new car paint job can help you be prepared for the actual cost.

Size of the Vehicle

The size of the car is one of the biggest factors at play with the cost of painting it. This is due to the amount of paint, the labor involved, and the prep time. If you have a small coupe, it could end up being much less expensive to paint than a full-size truck. The job can usually be done much quicker as well.

Type of Vehicle

Some vehicles will have more surface area that needs to be painted than others. For example, if your car has a lot of windows, you will have to pay for less paint and fewer materials. However, more labor may be required to mask them off and prevent overspray. This is why the price of painting a car is so variable.


The color you choose to paint your car will have a lot to do with how much it costs. White or gray paint will be much less expensive than some more complex colors. If you are wanting to use metallic paint or paint with flakes, this will be reflected in the price. These paints require a lot more preparation and work.

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Types of Paint

Not all paint types are the same. Higher quality paint will always be more expensive. For example, Lexus’ Structural Blue paint took 15 years to develop and is used on their high-end vehicles. Due to this development and what it is made of, it costs around $2,000 a gallon.


If your vehicle needs any repairs done before the actual painting begins, this will cost extra. Any kind of bodywork or sanding will be reflected in the final price of the paint services. The extent to which this work needs to be done will also heavily affect what you end up paying. This is why some car painters will also double as automotive body shops. The two jobs are very similar and will usually be dependent on one another.

Clear Coats

There are different clear coats and finishes available for any kind of paint job. If you are looking to add a protective coat to your new paint, this will cost you extra. Some clear coats act as a sealer and will help resist cracking and peeling and others will help protect the paint job from debris. If you live in a hot or cold area, different clear coats can prevent deterioration from these elements.

Prep Work

No matter what kind of automotive paint job you are getting, there will be some prep work involved. Masking and taping off trim takes time to do properly and will cost you more in labor. Many vehicles will also need to have parts of the interior removed to do a thorough paint job as well. In some cases, the entire interior will need to be removed including the seats and the dashboard so the door jambs and other areas can be painted. This extra time will cost more money on your final bill.

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Your State

Where you live plays a big part in how much a new paint job costs. In some states, there are environmental concerns about automobile painting. This means that the shops will have to pay more in taxes and operation procedures. These costs get handed down to you as the customer. If you live in a state with many environmental regulations, you could end up paying more for your car painting.

When to Get a Car Painted

Before you decide that the time has come to repaint, you should know what to look for. Oftentimes, all you need is a thorough detailing and touch-up instead of an entirely new coat of paint. However, if you plan on keeping your vehicle for many years, new paint can help revitalize it.

When thinking about getting new paint, knowing what the signs are can help. If you notice any of these tell-tale symptoms of a failing paint, it may be time to take the plunge. Of course, if you’re simply looking for a change and can afford it, that’s always a good enough reason.

Clear Coat is Peeling

Old clear coat on a vehicle has a tendency to peel, which is fairly unsightly. Heat is especially damaging to clear coat and will start to melt it. It is common to see peeling on the hood since there is so much heat generated in that area. This is one of the reasons why a heat-resistant clear coat is recommended if you live in a hot area.

Noticeable Scratches

Throughout your vehicle’s life, you may notice that scratches will start to appear. These can be from small impacts or scraping on branches or shrubs. After a while, these small scratches will add up and give a vehicle an old, damaged look. Smaller scratches can sometimes be removed with detailing. A new paint job will remove them thoroughly, though.

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Faded Finish

Your paint job will eventually start to fade no matter how careful you are with it. Even if you cover your vehicle when it’s not in use, UV rays can damage the paint. A new coat of high-end UV-resistant paint can help keep the finish looking fresh and bold.

Can You Do a DIY Paint Job?

You might be wondering if you could potentially paint your vehicle yourself. If you’re itching for a new look for your car but don’t want to spend a lot, this might be a good option. However, it’s important to remember that repainting an entire car is a lot of work. There are reasons that professional shops charge quite a bit of money for this kind of job. If you don’t have the equipment or know-how, a quality paint job is going to be difficult to achieve.

Knowing what the pros and cons of a DIY paint job are can help you make your decision. Should you choose to paint your own car, be ready to do a lot of prep work. If you aren’t happy with the results, you can always take it in to be repainted at a professional shop.


Perhaps the most prominent advantage to a DIY paint job is the money you can save. For the cost of some sandpaper, spray paint, and urethane clear coat, you can rejuvenate your vehicle. If you are confident that you can do the job correctly, this could be the way to go. However, if you want your paint job to look as professional as possible, it is highly recommended that you get a spray gun. This will help you get a clean, even coat that will last a lot longer.
One of the other benefits of painting a car yourself is the experience. Doing a job like this on your own can be incredibly rewarding and if you are the type of person who likes learning experiences, this could be a good project.


The biggest downside of a DIY paint job is the fact that it will be very difficult to get a high-end result. Professional shops have years of experience and quality equipment that make it easy for them to get the final product you want. You might not be as happy with your DIY paint job or the quality of the paint itself as you would be with a professional one.

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The other main drawback of a DIY paint job is the amount of work it takes. Researching, practicing and multiple coats can take a long time and you still may not end up with quality results like you would with a professional paint shop. Because of this, it may not be worth it to try and paint your car yourself.

Final Thoughts

Your car’s paint is an important part of its look and aesthetic. A different color can completely change how your vehicle looks and what it projects out to the world. Spending a little more on a high-quality paint job could be well worth it and give you many more years of a high-end finish.


How much is a good paint job on 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.

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.

Is it worth it to paint your car? ›

Auto painting isn't cheap, even lower-quality jobs. When determining whether it'll be worth repainting your car, consider the value of your vehicle vs. the cost of the paint job. If the cost of the repaint is worth over 30% of your car's value, you need to seriously consider if it makes sense.

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.

Does a paint job devalue a car? ›

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 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.

What color car is cheapest paint? ›

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

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.

Can I paint my car myself? ›

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 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 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.

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.

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.

Does wrapping a car devalue it? ›

Increased Resale Value

When a car is wrapped, the resale value is considerably greater than for a car that has been repainted. This is primarily because the wrapper can be removed without damaging the car. Since the wrap preserved the paint, the value of your car is higher because it still looks new.

What color car holds its value best? ›

A 2022 study from used vehicle website analyzed over 650,000 used model year 2019 cars sold between August 2021 and May 2022 and found that yellow vehicles have the smallest three-year depreciation rate2.

Which color car gets in most accidents? ›

Black Cars

Some research has revealed that black vehicles are the most dangerous on the road. At least one study found that you're 47 percent more likely to be in a crash if you drive a black vehicle. Other studies also find that black is the most dangerous color, but offer a more reserved projection.

What ruins a car paint job? ›

Eggs, shaving cream, and silly string

These prank-related car paint poisons all cause damage and discoloration to the paint surface. Avoid damage by keeping your car waxed so that the enzymes and chemicals in these contaminants will not quickly eat into the paint.

How much does it cost to wrap your car? ›

The baseline cost for purchasing vinyl can start roughly from $600 - 800 for a compact, two-door vehicle. With the increase in size and complexity, the cost of the wrap can go as high as $4-5,000 or more. The cost also depends on the type and quality of the vinyl as mentioned above.

Why would you wrap a car rather than paint it? ›

The key advantage of wrapping is it is cheaper and preserves the original paintwork for resell value, whilst respray is a better option when a vehicle is rusted or damaged. There is far more to it than just price and condition though, so don't go away just yet!

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.


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