There are lots of reasons why someone would want to paint their car. Maybe it’s lost its luster. Or, perhaps you get into a minor accident and have some unsightly dents and dings in your car. Some people who are looking to sell their car privately decide to paint it first because it can add a lot of value to the vehicle.
Now, if you’re looking to trade your car into a dealership, you don’t want to waste the money painting it. They aren’t going to give you much more for a car with a fresh paint job than they will if you leave it as it. This only makes a real difference if you’re going to sell it locally to a private buyer. If this is the case, you may be able to increase the value of your car by as much as $500-$1,000.
When it comes to painting your car, you have a few decisions to make, such as:
- Do you want to do it yourself or hire a professional?
- If you hire someone to do it, do you use a body shop or the dealership?
- How much do you want to spend?
- What kind of quality are you looking for?
All of these things will impact the price of your paint job. If you’re looking to repaint your car, then you should read this. We’ll talk about the different types of paint. We’ll also talk about the 4 different types of paint jobs. Finally, we’ll look at whether it’s a good idea to try this yourself or hire someone to do the job. (Hint: It is almost never a good idea to try to paint your car yourself!)
What are the Different Kinds of Paint?
Before we talk about the prices of your paint job, we need to look at the different types of paint. This is important whether you’re doing it yourself (again, not a good idea) or hiring someone else to do it for you.
Regardless of what sort of paint you choose, you want to make sure you use a good primer first. Do you remember back in the 1970s and 80s when you’d see a car in a flat black or gray color? That is what primer looks like. It’s the layer of paint that goes on before anything else.
Primer is what makes the other layers of paint stick to your car. Without a primer, the paint simply isn’t going to adhere to your car. This will cause it to bubble. You’ll also be able to see every defect in the paint job. The primer also protects your car from rust and oxidation. Over time, especially in salty climates, your paint will rust. Having a good primer will prevent – or, at least help prevent – this from happening.
Primer comes in a dark grey or black color. The point of using primer is not to match the color of your car – it’s to prepare your car for the next step in your paint job.
Once your primer has been put on and sanded down, you’re ready to apply your base coat. This is just like you would do if you were painting your fingernails. It is actually the same color as the color you’re painting your car. It doesn’t strengthen or harden the paint on your car, however, it does serve as the raw paint for your vehicle.
Once the base coat is on, you’ll still see blemishes. It will also let the moisture in. That’s why it’s usually used with a clear coat or other finish. It’s best to use a base coat with urethane. This will protect your paint, primer and frame.
This is the finishing coat on your car. It doesn’t have any color or pigment to it. Again, the best way to explain it is to compare it to painting your nails or furniture. The clear coat is what makes your car’s paint job nice and shiny. There are also special chemicals in there that help the paint adhere to your car.
Most clear coats contain UV inhibitors to help your car’s color from fading. It also helps keep your paint job shiny for years to come.
For the most part, acrylic lacquers have been discontinued by most auto manufacturers. It just became unpopular over the years. It is still used when you want to paint your antique car though. If you have an older car, made of heavy metal, than an acrylic lacquer is a good idea. They don’t offer a lot of protection. However, for classic cars, that isn’t a big deal. People don’t drive their antique cars every day so they aren’t exposed to the same harsh elements as other cars.
If you’re going to use an acrylic lacquer, it’s a good idea to mix it with paint thinner. This way, you can use it in a spray paint machine. Otherwise, this kind of paint is very thick and has a glue-like feel. It doesn’t spread well if it’s not thinned out. And, you don’t want to apply this kind of paint with a brush. Spray paint is the way to go. This gives you a nice even, smooth finish.
In addition to all of the paints described above, there are also specialty paints you can use. There are three (3) main types:
- One-Stage: This is used on older, classic cars. There is just one layer. This is great because it can be done faster (and cheaper) than other premium paint jobs. However, it doesn’t offer a lot of protection for your car. There is no base and there is no clear coat.
- Metallic: This sort of paint is popular with high-performance vehicles. People who like to show off their cars or enter the into car shows tend to favor metallic paints. All it really does is jazz up an otherwise ordinary paint job.
- Chameleon: This sort of paint became popular in the 1990s. It allows the car’s color to actually change in different lights. For example, when Pontiac still made cars, they offered a dark green color that looked black from one angle and green from another.
Specialty paints are always going to cost more than normal paint. However, if you have a classic or show car, you’ll probably be more willing to spend this kind of money on your paint job. They’re typically not recommended for a traditional paint job.
Why Do People Like to Paint their Cars?
There are all sorts of reasons why someone would want to paint their car. We talked about a few of them earlier. Here, we’ll go into more detail as to why someone would want to pain their car.
If the paint on your car is fading, you may want to freshen it up with a nice, new paint job. After several years of sun and salt, your car may start to look dull. And, sometimes, no matter how often you wax your car, it still looks flat. Getting a new paint job can take years off your car’s appearance. It also makes it look a lot nicer than it did before the paint job.
Selling Your Car
If you’re putting your car on the market, you’re going to want to get the best price. This means you want your car to look as nice as possible. When you post pictures of your car on Facebook or Craigslist, you want it to attract buyers. One way to do this is to invest in a new paint job. If you are selling your car, you won’t want to spend a ton of money. You could probably make do with a basic paint job for under $1,000.
You may want to get your car painted because you just want it to look good. You drive your car all the time. You don’t want people looking at your car and thinking you don’t take care of it. You also want it to look shiny and new for as long as possible. If you plan to keep your car for a few more years, you’ll want to invest in a decent pay job. For example, you can get a preferred or premium paint job for anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500.
If your car was involved in any sort of accident, you might want to get a new paint job. Not only will it make your car look better, but it can increase the value of your car. If you do decide to sell it, you don’t want it to be obvious that you were in an accident. You can’t lie about your car’s accident history. However, you still want to get as much money as possible. Painting your car can increase it’s value by at least $500-$1,000.
So, What Will it Cost to Paint Your Car?
If you are definitely going to get your car painted, you need to know what it’ll cost. A new paint job isn’t covered by your insurance unless you were in a covered accident. You can talk to almost any mechanic and they’ll tell you that a good paint job will run you about $1,300. Here is a breakdown of the different prices for paint jobs, based on what kind of money you want to invest.
Basic Paint Job
This will run you about $300-$900. It averages at about $566. Don’t expect much more here than a single coat of paint. You may still see minor dents with this sort of paint job.
Mid-Level Paint Job
If you have a couple of thousand to spend on your car, you’ll want a mid-level paint job. This will cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500. The average price for a mid-level paint job is about $1,300. This will include higher quality paint as well as minor buffing.
High-Quality Paint Job
This kind of paint job is going to cost you a pretty penny. They usually run anywhere from $2,400 to $7,500. The average price for this kind of paint job is $5,000. Not many people can afford to put out this kind of money for a paint job. In fact, for $5,000 you can buy a used car. Or, you’ll have a decent down payment for a new vehicle.
When looking to get your car repainted, keep in mind that color matters. For example, it will cost about $100 per gallon for white paint. However, if you want red or yellow, it’s going to cost more like $250 per gallon.
You can also get small jobs, like a touch-up, for $150-$300. This will help take care of small chips and scratches. They’ll be compounded, buffed and covered with a fresh coat of paint.
What are the 4 Main Types of Paint Jobs?
There are really just 4 main types of paint jobs. You can call just about any body shop and they’ll tell you the same thing. And, if you intend to take your car to a dealership, understand this – most dealerships outsource a paint job to a third-party anyway. So the same rules will apply.
If you get a basic paint job, you’re going to get a single-stage enamel paint job. This usually comes with a 1-year warranty. It will provide your car with a nice gloss and color matching.
This is also a single-stage application of paint. However, it uses urethane paint which will help protect your vehicle. This is more resistant and typically comes with a 3-year warranty.
If you have a bit more money to spend, you might want to go with a premium paint job. This will be done in two stages. You get the nice glossy finish you crave along with a urethane sealer. These paint jobs usually come with a 5-year warranty.
Unless you have a high-performance vehicle or a very expensive car, you wouldn’t want to opt for a platinum paint job. Not only is it expensive – but it is time-consuming. This paint job takes care of any light chips or dents. It also offers a high-quality primer and sanding. They will use a urethane sealant as well. This comes with a 5-year warranty as well.
Should You Use a Dealership, Body Shop or Do it Yourself?
As we have said a few times in this article, it is never a good idea to try to repaint your own car. Most people do not have the tools or the knowledge to do this. And, if you screw it up, you’ll be spending thousands of dollars to get it fixed. You’re better off investing this money into a quality paint job in the first place.
As for whether to use an auto shop or the dealership, it’s 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. Dealerships typically outsource this kind of work. And, they’ll probably charge a lot more than a body shop. It’s a good idea to call around and see what the price is at a few different places. Pick one in the middle and set up your appointment.
Some Final Tips
If you’re thinking about getting your car repainted, there are a few things to keep in mind. These tips will come in handy when you take your car to get it painted.
- It takes time – Don’t expect to get your car back the same day. It can take days or weeks to get a quality paint job.
- A new paint job doesn’t fix everything – While a paint job will make your car look better, it won’t solve all your problems. If you have a lot of cosmetic damage to your car, a paint job will not fix that.
- Value – A new paint job will add value to your car. So, it’s never really a bad idea to do this.
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.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.
Material costs have risen significantly over the past decade. This is in part due to VOC regulations, and also in the production costs of the paints themselves. Pearls, flips, glass, flakes all have become more common but that also adds a significant cost to the paint.What is the cheapest way to change the color of your car? ›
Car re-painting process and difficulties.
- Can Be Expensive.
- Have to Remove Everything.
- Requires a Lot of Prep Work.
- Can Take a Long Time to Complete.
A complete vehicle paint job will take between 40 and 80 hours, depending on the size of your vehicle and the bodywork that is needed. Read about the different factors that go into how long it takes to paint a car with Eli's Collision Repair below.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.How long will a repainted car last? ›
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.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.
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.How much should I budget for paint? ›
The two main categories are latex-based and oil-based paints. Latex-based paints cost an average of $15 to $50 per gallon. Latex-based paints can hold up for a long period of time and perform well in bedrooms, living rooms and hallways. Oil-based paints cost slightly more, with an average of $20 to $60 per gallon.What color adds the most value to a car? ›
According to the iSeeCars report, yellow is the most valuable colors among convertibles and SUVs, while orange does it for coupes, beige is best for pickup trucks, and purple, being among the rarest of colors in any segment, boosts the value of sedans the most.What color is best for 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.Is it cheaper to repaint a car the same color? ›
If you're looking to save money, keeping your original color is usually the less expensive choice. However, this decision is up to you. You can paint your car any color you want it to be.Do you have to sand off old paint before repainting car? ›
Things You Should Know
If the old paint on your car is solid and uncracked, you don't need to sand before repainting. Just add a coat of primer before applying the new paint. If you do need to sand your car, use a power sander. Go over your car once with 180-grit sandpaper, then again with 300-grit sandpaper.
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.Can you drive a freshly painted car? ›
Avoid unnecessary drives
Taking your freshly painted car for long, unnecessary rides will open up your new paint job to harsh environmental conditions before it is fully cured. 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.
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.
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.How long does a full 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.Can I repaint 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.What is the hardest color to paint on a car? ›
Black and red are—by far—the hardest colors to care for.What color car is easiest to keep clean? ›
The easiest car colors to keep clean are white, gray, silver and blue. They're easier to keep clean because they don't show dirt as easily as other car colors. The hardest car colors to keep clean are red and orange because they show stains very easily.What are the hardest car colors to keep clean? ›
The truth is white-colored cars are the number one most common car paint color, and most people believe that it shows dirt and grime the most quickly. Contrary to belief, black cars or darker colored cars have proven to be the hardest to keep spotless.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.What does a good paint job look like? ›
Smooth, Consistent Walls
A budget paint job will either paint right over those flaws, or patch them halfheartedly, in a way that still shows through the paint. To see if a wall has been expertly prepared, look at it from an angle so the light reflects off it. This will show you the quality of the surface preparation.
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.
According to car color statistics, the least popular car colors include gold, yellow, and purple. This probably isn't much of a surprise, as these bright and dramatic colors are some of the least common car colors, you'll see in parking lots and on roads.What color car gets hot the most? ›
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.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.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!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.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.Is it better to get a car repainted or wrapped? ›
When it comes to a quick turnaround, wraps win over paint. Paint jobs require prep time—sanding, primer, curing, coat application—in addition to drying time for the paint itself. A good, thorough paint job can leave your car in the shop for up to a week.How often should I get my car repainted? ›
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's cheaper Respray or wrap? ›
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!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.
Most variations of gray or silver are the lowest maintenance colors, followed by whites and other lighter-shade hues. Gray and silver colors don't show dirt, swirl marks, or scratches.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.Do you have to remove all old paint before repainting car? ›
To avoid the headache of trying to match the paint you want to apply to the existing paint on the car, you'll need to remove the primer and expose the bare metal. The paint on older cars may be incompatible with modern water-based paints and gel coats. Better to be safe than sorry – do it right and do it once.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.
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.