How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car? - Mechanic Base (2023)

If your car isn’t looking as new as it once did, it might be time for a new paint job. Getting a professional paint job can increase the value of your vehicle and make it look brand-new again.

However, you need to think about the price you will pay. So, how much does it cost to paint a car?

The average cost of a standard paint job on a car is $2,500 done professionally. However, you can expect a cost between $300 and $10,000 or more, depending on the amount of space that needs to be painted and what type of paint is being used. DIY paint jobs cost far less but might not yield the same results.

In this article, we help you decide if professional painting is the way to go or if you should do it yourself. We also look at the factors involving the cost and give you a breakdown of what you could spend.In the end, we look at the most common questions about painting a car.

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Professional Paint Job vs DIY

It’s important to think about your goals when deciding between DIY or professional automotive painting. Are you looking for a small fix before you sell the car or do you need to restore a classic? While the DIY paint can help you cover up a few dings for a better resale value, it’s not going to improve the overall quality of the car’s body.

Painting your own vehicle also requires a lot of patience, the right tools and a little skill. In the end, you might not end up with the results you were hoping for, leading you to need a professional paint job anyway.

In many cases, it makes more sense to have a professional paint job performed, especially if you want the vehicle to be restored to its original condition. While it might cost more, the paint is going to last longer and typically match better.

Cost to Paint a Car Professionally

1. Basic Paint Job

As the least expensive paint job, you will spend less on the basic service. With this painting service, you can expect the body shop to use a minimal amount of coats.

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

Plus, synthetic enamel-based paint will likely be used. The only areas being painted are the ones that are visible, so you can expect that inside the hood and other unseen areas will go untouched. In total, expect to spend between $300 and $1,000.

2. Standard Paint Job

The standard paint job is going to go beyond basic and perform some repairs. Before painting begins, the auto body shop will sand down the surface and remove any rust.

These steps help to ensure that the finish is perfect and lasts longer. Expect to pay anywhere from $750 to $4,000 on this level of painting.

3. High-Quality (Showroom) Paint Job

If you are creating a show car or restoring a classic, you want a high-quality paint job. With these services, the paint will be taken down to the bare metal. Additionally, all of the dents and rust will be repaired.

Some body shops apply more than 20 coats of paint during these services, so expect to be without your vehicle for some time. Additionally, the cost can far exceed $10,000, depending on what type of vehicle is being painted.

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How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car? - Mechanic Base (1)

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car Yourself?

You can expect it to cost between $100 and $500 for the supplies to paint a car yourself. However, this depends on what you are going to paint, and the quality of the products you choose. Painting a car yourself is not an easy job.

If your car isn’t worth a lot of money, but it needs some auto body care, you might prefer doing it at home. You can gather the majority of the supplies for $300 or less, especially if you already have a paint sprayer on hand. However, this DIY painting task will require a good amount of time.

Some of the materials you may already have on hand. Gather these supplies to get started:

  • Foam brushes
  • Gloss paint
  • Paint trays
  • Primer
  • Automotive masking tape
  • Mineral spirits
  • Sandpaper
  • Automotive paint sprayer

The biggest challenge will be finding the spot to paint your car. It’s unlikely you have a booth that’s climate-controlled as the body shop does. You can paint in your garage as long as there is adequate ventilation and there is a minimal amount of dirt or dust that will affect the paint.

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Car Paint Cost Factors

1. Quality

As discussed above, the cost is going to be dramatically affected based on the level of quality you are looking for. If you simply want a fresh coat of paint, you could spend a minimal amount.

However, if you need a paint job that provides a showroom quality appeal, the cost is going to be much higher. Expect to spend several thousands of dollars on a high-quality paint job.

2. Size of Vehicle

If you drive your compact car into the auto body shop, your cost is going to be far less than a large SUV. While the same paint job is being applied, there is more surface area to cover.

The body shop figures out how much area will be painted and charges you accordingly. Not only will more supplies and paint be needed, but the technicians will need to spend more time on the vehicle.

3. Color

Any standard color, such as white, gray or black, is going to be cheaper than a custom color. Additionally, if the color is easily accessible because it’s used on popular models, it will be cheaper.

You can expect to spend more if you need to get a custom color from a premium automaker. Even worse, if the color needs to be created, you will need to visit a top-notch body shop, thereby adding more to the price.

4. Repair

If there are no repairs needed, the paint job is straightforward and costs less. However, if you have deep scratches or imperfections to the paint, you will be spending more.

There are some auto body shops that won’t paint the vehicle unless it is repaired first. This is a good business practice since paint doesn’t adhere as well without a smooth surface.

5. Finish

What happens after the paint is applied also affects the price. If the auto body shop finishes the job with a wash and wax, you aren’t going to spend much more.

On the other hand, if you opt for a ceramic coat or another type of specialized finish, the price will jump dramatically. These extra coats can be expensive, but the value is worth the cost, especially if you want the paint to last.


(Video) Automotive Base Coat Paint Cost - Grades of Base Coat Paint

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car Black?

You can expect it to cost between $2,000 and $5,000 to paint a car black professionally. It doesn’t really make much of a difference what color you paint the car in, except that some colors can be more expensive to mix the right color. It can differ a bit whether you want a metallic or solid color.

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car Door?

It generally costs between $200 and $600 to have a car door professionally painted, depending on a few factors. Some factors that will affect the price of a car door paint job include the type of paint used, the experience of the painter, and the complexity of the design.

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car Matte Black?

Painting a car matte black is usually the cheapest type of painting, as no clear coat is needed in most cases. You can expect it to cost $500 to $2,000 to paint an entire car matte black professionally. You’ll also want to consider wrapping the car in matte black instead.

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car A Different Color?

There is usually no difference in price if you want to paint a car in a different color or the same color, unless you want to change from solid color to a metallic color. Therefore, you can expect it to cost between $2,000 to $10,000 to paint a car a different color, with an average cost of $2,500.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix Chipper Paint on a Car?

It can cost anywhere from $50 to $500 to fix the chipped paint on a car, depending on the severity of the chips, where they are, and how many there are. Usually, you will repaint the entire part where the chipped paint is, but you can also touch-up paint to get it done cheaply.

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How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car Hood?

It can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000 to have a car hood painted, depending on the type of paint used, the size of the hood, and the shop doing the work. The car hood is very visible, so it is important to get it painted in the same color as the car.

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car Bumper?

It can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000 to have a car bumper painted, depending on the type of color and the type and size of the bumper. Before painting the front or rear bumper, it may need to be repaired first, which can be quite time-consuming and hence the high costs.


While it may seem like a simple thing to just paint a car, there are many processes involved. Actually, the painting is the easy and quick part, but the preparation before is the time-consuming part that costs most of the money.

Some people choose to DIY their car painting projects, while others may choose a professional painter. When it comes to car paint, you usually get what you pay for. Anyone can paint a car cheaply, but the result will most likely not be very good.

Due to the fact that the paint is very visible on a car, we would recommend spending some money on a good car painter if you want a good result. You should also consider wrapping the car instead of repainting it.

Learn more:

  • How Much Does It Cost to Wrap a Car? (Average Wrap Cost)
  • How Much Does it Cost to Powder Coat Wheels?

Categories:Paint, Estimator

(Video) Knoxville man upset over bad paint job on classic car


How much does it cost to basecoat a car? ›

Buy enough primer, base coat, and clear coat to cover your vehicle. For a small- to medium-sized car, you'll need 1 gallon (3.8 L) of primer, 3 gallons (11 L) of base coat, and 2 to 3 gallons (7.6 to 11.4 L) of clear coat. For larger vehicles, double those amounts.

What is automotive base paint? ›

Base coat paints are just like the name implies — basic. It's the actual colored paint of the vehicle that would go on top of the primer layer. Now, here's the important part: base coats don't contain any strengtheners or hardeners. This means it's just raw paint, sitting on top of the primer.

How much does a good automotive paint job cost? ›

The cost of painting a car varies depending on where the work is done, the size and complexity of the car to be painted, and the overall quality of the paint job. In general, expect to pay between $300 and $10,000 for a professional paint job.

How much is a professional paint job? ›

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. You can also expect to pay a bit more for painted millwork such as cabinetry or built-in furniture.

Do you need two coats of basecoat? ›

Tip 1- Apply 2 Thin Coats

There are multiple reasons to add aa second coat of base. The main reason is that it adds flexibility to the nail. It also helps for the color gel to adhere to the nail, creating a perfect finish overall.

What is the base paint called? ›

Most DIY projects, including wall painting, start with a primer—a special base coat used to seal off a surface, protecting the new wall color from inconsistency and discoloration the old paint or any pre-existing stains might cause if they're able to peek through.

What are the two types of base coat? ›

There are two main types of base coat available – basic base coats which simply provide a base for the nail polish, and ridge-filler base coats which fill in any lines, ridges and grooves to give your client's nails a smoother looking appearance. Think of ridge-filler base coats as a kind of 'foundation' for nails.

What is the base coat of paint called? ›

Also referred to as an undercoat, a base coat of paint is used on a surface that's been primed, or has existing paint, or potentially both. It needs to be applied as a means to even out surfaces, provide a layer of protection, and to block out any intense underlying colours from shining through.

Is automotive paint expensive? ›

One of the biggest costs of building or restoring a car is paint. Even a simple base coat/clear coat can be anywhere between $3,000-7,000 dollars in the Midwest.

What types of paint is best for automotive? ›

Urethane paint is the most durable auto paint and is also chip-resistant—when properly maintained, a coat of urethane paint will outlast most acrylic paints.

Does a paint job increase the value of a car? ›

Painting (Usually) Adds Value

By investing in repainting, you can get a higher trade-in value for an older vehicle. You can also raise your asking price when selling a used car directly to a buyer.

How many coats of paint do professionals use? ›

As a rule of thumb, you should always expect to apply two coats of paint regardless of what the label says. Colors such as reds, bright yellows, and oranges may require three or more coats.

Is it cheaper to paint yourself or hire a painter? ›

Painting your house yourself will definitely turn out cheaper since you can save on money to hire a professional. However, you certainly have to consider your ability to do the job well, access to high areas, tools and also how high of a value you place on your property (in case you are planning to sell).

How long does a professional paint job take? ›

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 can I leave base coat before clear? ›

Allow 30 minutes after base coat color has been applied to apply the clear coat.

Do you sand primer before painting auto? ›

Also, between primer and paint applications, you should wet sand the vehicle with a 1000 - 1200 grit piece of sandpaper. This will make spraying the vehicle much easier and allow you to use less paint to cover the car.

Do you sand the base coat before clear coat? ›

A correct application of the lower coats of paint, such as polyester putty, will influence the clearcoat's behaviour on the part. Correct prior sanding, polishing or cleaning of the surface is essential for an excellent final finish when applying clearcoat to a car.

Do you sand between base coats? ›

Sanding between coats of basecoat should only be done if there is something wrong with the application. Sanding metallic or pearl colors can destroy the effects and that will shift the color or the pattern of pearl or flake.

How many times do you apply base coat? ›

Applying nail polish properly requires multiple steps. Nail polish application typically involves 1 coat of base coat, 2 coats of color application to ensure full coverage, and 1 coat of top coat for long-lasting wear and shine.

How long does it take base coat to fully dry? ›

let's walk through each step of your manicure. on a clean, dry nail, your base coat will take 1-2 minutes to dry. each thin coat of essie polish (we recommend applying two coats) will take just a few minutes to dry. finally, you can expect your essie top coat to dry within 1-2 minutes.

What does deep base paint look like? ›

Medium base creates a color between light and dark while Deep base produces a more darker color of paint. Take note the using paint base helps in determining how resistant a paint is to dirt and stains.

Is base paint the same as primer? ›

The basic difference between paint and primer is that paint is typically made up of resins pigments whereas primers are resins. The primer's basic function is to provide a sealed and stable surface for your topcoat (paint) and the resins contained in primers seal porous surfaces and provide that bond to the surface.

Does it matter what base coat you use? ›

Choose one that's moisturizing to keep nails in tip-top shape. If the surfaces of your nails are uneven, opt for a base coat with ridge-filling properties. "It will provide a thicker base to even out ridges or indentations in the nail before applying the color coat," says Waldorf.

Is base coat stronger than top coat? ›

Base coats are usually thicker and stickier, which helps the nail polish adhere better. They contain more resins to give the nail added strength. Topcoats are thinner and contain more ingredients that create a durable surface on the nail.

What should I use as a base coat? ›

Ingredients such as vitamin E and castor oil can be hydrating for the nails, while keratin and calcium strengthen them. Look for base coats that contain soy protein or bamboo extract to strengthen and nourish nails.

What is the difference between base coat and paint? ›

The base coat is the first layer of paint applied to the surface after the primer, it provides the base colour, complexion and usually influences the finish of the topcoat. Typically, base coats do not use a gloss finish.

Do I need a base coat paint? ›

If there are existing stains on the wall, or a dark paint that might show through the new topcoat paint you picked out, a primer coat will hide it. If you're painting over a high-gloss or satin painted wall, the new topcoat will not have a rough surface to cling to and will likely require more work.

How much does base paint cost? ›

While the cost of paint per square foot depends on the paint and the painted surface, a gallon of paint typically covers about 400 square feet or 200 square feet, if you're applying two layers. With average costs between $15 and $60 per gallon, that works out to a cost between $0.75 and $3 per square foot.

How long does it take to undercoat a car? ›

Applying an undercoat to a vehicle usually only takes a single day, so long as sufficient time is given for the applied coating to fully dry and adhere to the vehicle.

Do you sand after base coat on a car? ›

The base coat and its many layers can be sanded, but very carefully so, and only when you need to rectify errors in the paint job. Even then, you should reapply that entire layer of the base coat once more to maintain the look of the paintwork. The clear coat, meanwhile, should be treated the same way.

How much does it cost to sand a car before painting? ›

Sand the paint either to the bare metal, the original primer, or at least sufficiently for the new paint to adhere. Dry sand using 180-grit sandpaper to remove rust or surface damage before moving on to a 320-grit paper to remove your previous 180-grit scratches.

How long does base paint last? ›

In particular, an unopened can of latex or acrylic paint lasts up to 10 years. For unopened paints that are oil-based or alkyd-based, the shelf life could be up to 15 years. Additionally, chalk paint has a shorter lifespan from 1-3 years, and milk paint only lasts 1-2 weeks after its mixed.

How much does 1 gallon of paint cover? ›

How Much Paint Per Square Foot? One gallon can of paint will cover up to 400 square feet, which is enough to cover a small room like a bathroom. Two gallon cans of paint cover up to 800 square feet, which is enough to cover an average size room.

What is a base painting? ›

Base is a solid substance in a fine state that forms the body of paint. It forms the bulk of paint. It conveys the character of the paint.

How much does it cost to spray undercoating? ›

If this service is applied at the dealership, it may cost up to $1,000, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Some dealers include it in a package of services that are priced even higher. When you do the job yourself, then the cost can be less than $100 for cars and under $150 for trucks and SUVs.

Is underbody coating worth it? ›

In Indian road conditions, a cars underbody is most prone to corrosion. Underbody coating provides long term protection from corrosion to car's underbody. It also protects parts like internal body panels, frame rails and other inner cavities that are not physically accessible but are prone to corrosion.

Is undercoating worth the money? ›

Prolong Life of the Car

Applying proper undercoating can increase the lifespan of your vehicle. Keep in mind that corrosion does not only impact the metal's integrity but also affects the metal wires and cables. To protect it, you must apply an undercoating every five years or as recommended by the car manufacturer.

Should I use 600 or 800 grit before base coat? ›

600 to 800 Grit – This sandpaper grit range is perfect for sanding surface imperfections in the primer, prior to paint application. It is recommended to start at the low grit end and work your way up to 800 grit. 1000 to 1200 Grit – When you need to remove base coat imperfections, this grit range will do the job.

How many coats of base coat should I apply? ›

You should always apply one coat of base coat, two coats of polish, and two coats of top coat for an optimal manicure. The key to a salon-like mani is covering your nail in three strokes - any more tends to result in streaky, clumpy nails.

Is it cheaper to paint a car yourself? ›

How Much Does It Cost To Paint Your Own Car. Painting your own car, on average is going to cost you somewhere between $200 and $300 dollars. Which is around 10% of the cost of a professional paint job that is done well. You can save a ton of money painting your car yourself, but it will be a laborious job.

What happens if you don't sand car before painting? ›

New paint will not easily stick to a smooth surface. Thus, if you don't sand the paint job (at least a little bit), your paint will begin to flake and peel in no time at all. A little bit of surface roughness will provide the traction that is needed for the paint to stay in place.

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.


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