How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car? | Bankrate (2023)

Maybe your taste has changed, your paint has chipped or you need a vehicle refresh. No matter the reason, painting your vehicle can be an expensive endeavor. However, the expense may be a wise investment.

Not only does a new coat of paint make your car look good, but it protects the vehicle from wear and tear and corrosive damage. Before you embark on repainting, be sure you understand what’s involved.

How much does it cost to paint your car?

Painting your car can range from just a few hundred dollars up to $20,000 or more. The price you pay depends on factors like size, paint type and the shop you go to.

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Factors that affect cost

As with most vehicle add-ons, there are many factors that influence the total price of painting your car. Here are the primary ones to be aware of.

  • Size: The size and type of vehicle you drive will greatly impact the cost to paint it. Painting the body of a large SUV will cost more than painting that of a smaller coupe.
  • Paint color: Not all paint is created equal; the color and quality of the paint will range in cost. Painting your car a basic color such as white or black will be cheaper than a less common color.
  • Paint type: The price range for one coat of synthetic enamel paint is anywhere from $300 to $700 for an average-sized sedan, according to J.D. Power. High-quality paint, on the other hand, may cost several thousand dollars.
  • Paint finish: Paint finish refers to the amount of shine that the paint has. Depending on your style, prices vary for matte, gloss or semi-gloss finishes. Paint finish costs may also include adding a coat of wax or seal your car’s paint job. The cost of a regular wax is about $100 to $200. A specialized ceramic coating will be more expensive.
  • Caliber of body shop: Through research you may come across very inexpensive paint jobs, but beware: Price and quality of work go hand in hand when it comes to getting your car painted. If you opt for a bargain body shop, the work quality is not likely to include the same level of care and attention.

Should you get a professional car paint job or DIY?

When deciding between professional or DIY painting, consider your purpose for painting — do you want a quick cosmetic fix before selling the vehicle, or are you working on a restoration passion project? A DIY paint fix may add some value to a dinged-up car, but it won’t ultimately improve it.

While it’s possible to paint your own vehicle, it involves patience, skill and a range of paints and tools you may need to purchase specifically for the job. The result of your own paint job may not provide the high-quality vehicle facelift you are looking for. Do-it-yourself paint jobs are best suited for older vehicles or all-terrain vehicles that frequently pick up knocks and scratches.

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For people looking to restore a family vehicle or collector’s car to its original condition, it’s usually a better idea to employ the services of an auto repair shop where professionals apply up to 24 even coats of paint for a high-gloss, durable finish.

Professional auto painting costs

Many body shops offer several levels of service to cater to customers with different budgets and requirements.

The main types of paint service are:

  • Basic: The most inexpensive paint job involves as few coats as possible, using synthetic enamel paint. For the basic job, the painters are unlikely to paint areas that are not normally visible, such as the inside of the hood. 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.
  • Showroom quality: This process involves sanding the bodywork down to the bare metal, removing all the rust and dents and then applying up to 24 coats of high-quality paint. The project may take up to a month, and the showroom-quality costs can run anywhere from $5,000 to as high as $20,000 in some cases.

DIY auto painting costs

For older vehicles, the cost of a professional paint job may be excessive. In these cases, you may wish to try painting the vehicle yourself. The necessary materials are widely available from hardware and automotive stores for as little as $200. Your only other costs are in time and effort.

The required materials and tools include:

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  • Gloss paint.
  • Primer.
  • Foam brushes.
  • Paint trays.
  • Masking tape.
  • Sandpaper.
  • Mineral spirits for cleaning.

One of the biggest concerns with a DIY project is finding a location to paint the vehicle. Many professional painting and body shops have climate-controlled booths designed to limit the amount of dust and dirt that might come into contact with the paint and ruin the finish. For a DIY project, your best option is to paint the vehicle in a clean, well-ventilated garage.

Tips for painting your own car

There are several steps to consider when painting your own car.

  1. Work downward. Start by painting the high spots like the roof, the top of the hood and the tops of the doors before working your way down the vehicle.
  2. Use consistent pressure. You will need to use consistent pressure while applying paint with your foam brush.
  3. Don’t use too much paint. Adding too much paint at once could create drips and runs in the finish. Aim for even coats, keeping in mind that you’ll need to make multiple passes.
  4. Be patient. You will likely want to add several coats of paint to achieve a clean finish, but you must allow at least six hours in between each coat.

If these steps seem daunting but you have a small budget, consider a basic paint job done by a professional.

Consider quality vs. price before painting your car

Everybody wants a cost-effective service, so when you are contacting body shops to get quotes for your auto-painting project, it’s tempting to go for the lowest price offer.

However, you get what you pay for. Lowball quotes may be for a low-quality paint job or inferior materials. Rather than removing trim, the painters may simply mask it off, and they may not paint areas that aren’t visible.

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Cheap paint jobs may also have poor taping techniques that will result in overspray on your windows or rubber fixtures. The quote may not include certain services that the auto painters charge as an additional rate, meaning they may choose to paint over problems like rust or dents rather than taking the steps to address those issues first.

Before committing to a service, ask the painters what steps and details their price covers. Check if sanding and preparing the bodywork is part of the cost and ask to look at previous examples of their work to make sure that you are happy with the quality.

The bottom line

When shopping around to have your car painted, remember many factors will ultimately influence the cost you’re charged, including the color paint you select, the finish and the quality of the paint. The size of your vehicle will also play a role in the price.

Though you may be tempted to go for the lowest price possible, remember the final look of the paint job may suffer. You may end up with paint that doesn’t last as long or key details may be ignored or overlooked. Take the time to carefully review what’s included before making a final decision.

Learn more

  • How much does it cost to own a car?
  • Should I get a prepaid car maintenance plan?
  • What to know when buying a car


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.

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.

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 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's the cheapest color to paint a car? ›

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Do car wraps look as good as paint? ›

Better Quality

Since vehicle wraps don't fade as fast as many paints do and won't chip, they offer higher-quality visuals and protection. This level of quality attracts many car owners, as it helps them get more for their money.

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.

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 fast does it take to repaint a car? ›

The color coats can vary in how long they take to apply. Some paints, like Rustoleum, can take about only 30 to 90 min to dry, while others may need to dry overnight. All in all, an entire paint job, including any final touch-up work, can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

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.

What color is hardest to paint a car? ›

Black and red are—by far—the hardest colors to care for.

What color car makes insurance higher? ›

Does car color affect insurance rates? The color of your car doesn't affect your insurance rate. Instead, your insurance company uses other information, like your car's age, location, usage, and your driving record, to help determine insurance rates.

What color car paint lasts longest? ›

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.

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.

Do you have to prep your car for Maaco? ›

Do all the prep work yourself very carefully and tow the car to Maaco. Cover windows, moldings, headlights and taillights or better yet, remove them. Put a set of old wheels and tires you don't care if they get sprayed on the car before you take it there.

Why you shouldn't spray paint your car? ›

The heat of the engine operating can result in paint flaking off the hood, rocks and debris kicked up by other vehicles can chip paint on the front of the car; and constant exposure to snow and rain will make your spray paint job fade much more quickly than automotive paint.

How many coats of paint does it take to paint 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 color car best hides dirt? ›

Silver. Of the 3 most popular, silver is the best car color to hide dirt and scratches. It can save you on the time and money spent regularly maintaining your car's stylish appearance because you can visibly go longer without needing a wash.

Does repainting a car last? ›

How Long Does a Paint Job Last on a Car? The short answer is 10-15 years. The long answer is that paint durability on a vehicle varies based on the type of paint, the quality of the paint, and the final touches used by professionals. As a general rule, you want to get your car painted every five to ten years.

What is the best color for a car? ›

There isn't a single best car color: it all boils down to your personal preferences. You may decide to go for neutral and simple colors like black, white, silver, or gray because they guarantee a good resale value and easy maintenance. You may choose a bright color like red or blue if you want a sporty look.

What is the safest color car? ›

MUARC's determination is that white is the safest vehicle color. Why? In all types of weather and lighting, the visibility of a white vehicle rates much higher, particularly at night. In fact, the study showed there is a 12 percent less chance of accident involvement in a white car than a black one.

Is a black car hotter than a white car? ›

Black absorbs all visible parts of the spectrum, turning that light energy into heat. The more energy it absorbs, the more heat it emits. White and silver, however, behave in the opposite manner, reflecting all light thrown their way. The result here is less energy absorption and less heat emission.

Is insurance higher on black cars? ›

But, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the color of the car you drive does not affect the price of auto insurance. Here are some of the factors that help determine your auto premium and what to look for when shopping for car insurance.

How much is full body work on a car? ›

While the cost of auto body repair varies drastically. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $75-$2,500 for a quality repair job on a range of minor paint or body damage. That price is dependent upon several factors. Labor costs vary between auto body shops, so keep this in mind also.

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.

How much is a black paint job on a car? ›

A single-coat synthetic enamel paint job can be had for as little as $300. Prices can range up to around $1,000 for this type of paintwork. A higher quality paint job that includes bodywork, such as dent/rust/damage repair, can cost as much as $3,500.

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.

How much does wrapping your car cost? ›

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.

How do you wash a wrapped car? ›

You can bring your wrapped vehicle to an automated brushless car wash, though hand washing is safer and more thorough. Brush car washes may be too rough on the film, degrading it and causing peeling and lifted edges. If a car wash uses water spray and no brushes, it should be safe for most wraps.

Does vinyl wrap devalue car? ›

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.

Can you daily drive a wrapped car? ›

The wrap's durability will suffer if you use the car daily for transportation. The wrap should endure for about two years of daily driving. Without regular maintenance, vinyl car wraps typically last for about five years. Simple measures like parking in the shade can add years to the vehicle's life expectancy.

Does car wrap scratch easily? ›

Because vinyl wraps are nothing more than just a film on the surface of the car, they're pretty susceptible to getting little nicks and scratches (even if it doesn't break the vinyl).

What's cheaper paint or wrap? ›

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 cheaper to wrap a car instead of painting? ›

Wrapping Costs. Many factors play into the cost of both a custom paint job and a vehicle wrap but wraps are almost always cheaper. The cost in material and specifically labor on a custom paint job can range anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 and that's for a basic design.

Does car wrap rust? ›

Rust is formed when iron and oxygen react with moisture in the air. Wrapping your car with vinyl means the panels of your car won't be in direct contact with water or the sun, meaning that the development of rust won't occur.

Is repainting a car as good as factory paint? ›

No matter how hard an auto body shop might try, they'll never be able to reach the same level of quality in a paint job as a car factory would. In both appearance and durability, modern automotive paint jobs are guaranteed to last from 10 to 15 years. By comparison, problems can arise in repainting quite easily.

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 often should I paint my car? ›

Therefore, you should paint your car every five years at minimum, especially if you aren't waxing it regularly. If your car's paint gets scratched or damaged from a minor accident or inclement weather, consider getting a partial paint job to take care of the trouble spots.

What color car hides scratches best? ›

Silver. Of the 3 most popular, silver is the best car color to hide dirt and scratches. It can save you on the time and money spent regularly maintaining your car's stylish appearance because you can visibly go longer without needing a wash.

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 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.

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 is the best time of day to paint a car? ›

They may not be perfect, but they'll give you an idea of when the humidity and winds will be relatively low. You don't want to paint when a front is moving through. The morning is the best time to do the jobs so you can leave the car to cure for at least the rest of the day.


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