How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car?

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Professional painter in protective clothing applying varnish layer and finishing painting of the car.

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Who does not like a car that is polished, speckless, and painted to perfection?

And honestly, a good paint not only adds to the aesthetics but also protects the steel framework of the car from corroding and experiencing daily wear and tear. Having said that, painting a car does not come cheap!

So, when you decide to spend a good amount of money on remodeling your car or fixing the damages, it is only fair to proceed with complete knowledge. We have compiled this guide to ensure that you have all information in hand before deciding what kind of paint is best suited for your vehicle. 

From the factors that affect the paint cost to the kind of painting options you have at your disposal, one can find it all in this guide. So, without wasting any more time, let’s check it out. 

How To Paint And What Are The Costs?

The procedure of painting a car in the service center.

If you are torn between deciding whether you should go for a DIY paint technique or a professional paint job for the car, we are here to help. In this section, we will take a look at these two most common options that people opt for and the costs they involve. 

  1. DIY Car Painting

We recommend that if you have a little time and want to give your old car a new touch, DIY painting is the best bet. This is the most cost-effective manner in which you can restore your vehicle. 

However, you would not want to experiment with your new car and paint it on top of a professional paint coat. And giving your years old vehicle a professional paint coat might be a costly endeavor unless it is a vintage. Honestly, it is best suited for older cars that often face scratches and dents with daily use. 

In such scenarios, we suggest taking it upon yourself and painting it as part of your passion project. You can easily find all the materials you need from any local automotive or hardware store within as little as $250. Apart from the monetary expenditure, the other costs involved are effort, creativity, and time. 

One thing to keep in mind before taking up a DIY project, however, is to find a location to paint your car. You might need to spend a couple of hundred bucks on hiring a professional climate-controlled booth to prevent unwanted dirt and dust from settling on the paint when you are in the process. 

While you are painting, things like dirt or soot are highly detrimental and can easily ruin the finish. So, you need a dust-free environment to ensure that the paint coat is perfect and does not look grainy. Otherwise, all the time and effort that you spend painting will go in vain. 

  1. Professional Car Painting

Not everyone possesses the skills and patience required to paint a car! And as we’ve mentioned above, unless it’s an old car, it’s not advisable to do it. It is because the result might not match your expectations, and you would not achieve a high-quality car facelift. 

In such instances, it is best to call a professional car paint service or take your vehicle to a body shop and check out the painting options that you can avail. 

If you go for the most standard option, your car gets a few coats of enamel paint. This is mainly done to hide minor scratches, and the painters most likely would not paint the areas that are not much visible. For example, they would leave out the interior portion of the hood. 

That’s not a problem because these interior portions anyway do not experience much wear and tear when it comes to paint coat. The sun’s harsh rays also do not reach these areas, which might otherwise cause some amount of color to fade. Depending on the size of your car, you are likely to spend around $400 to $1000 if opting for this basic finish. 

You can also go for a standard touch-up job where professionals would sand and remove dust from the car body before they paint it. The cost for this operation ranges between $1100 to $4000. 

And lastly, if you want showroom quality work, you might have to part with $20,000 or so. Here the color is sanded, and special care is taken to remove all forms of rust and dents, and multiple coats of high-quality paint are applied. For a project like this, it might take around a month to get completed. 

Factors Affecting The Cost Of Car Painting

Before we tell you how much it approximately costs to paint a car, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration. There is no one answer to how much it would cost to paint a car, and you would have to take into consideration a few things to fix your budget. 

These factors would help you get a better understanding of painting cars and thus enable you to make wiser decisions. So, let’s check them out. 

  1. The Kind Of  Paint Job Needed

This is entirely determined by the kind of damage that your car has and the climatic condition. It hardly makes sense to give your entire car a paint makeover if it only has a few blemishes and minor chips. 

You will have to spend somewhere between $200 to $1100 if you want to touch up on the door and repaint and remodel the hood. However, you need to keep in mind that the amount of repair and repaint that a car requires is also highly determined by where you live.

If you are wondering how that happens, let us break it down for you! 

For those who reside in a hot climatic zone, your car’s biggest enemy is the sun. Because of the intense rays of the sun, your car paint has to fight damaging rays and immense heat frequently. This makes touch-up work more challenging as the area that gets affected is mostly large such as the hood, deck, and roof. 

And residents of colder climates have to face a different problem. It is not the heat but the sleet and snow that often causes rust formation beneath the paint layer. Unless you give it timely attention and fix it, it is only going to increase and require more repair. 

  1. Vehicle Size

It is a no-brainer that painting a big car is going to cost you more than what you have to spend on a small one. Coating a compact coupe or a sedan would any day cost you less than painting an SUV or a mini truck. 

Bigger cars have larger surface areas that require more paint and hence the higher price. So, unless you have a big budget for the painting job, we recommend that you go for the basic colors to avoid added costs. 

  1. Color and Quality

In a supermarket, a blue and a white t-shirt might cost you the same. However, when it comes to car paints, things do not exactly work the same way. Color determines the price, and a standard grey, black or white will cost a lot less than unique colors. 

Moreover, if you decide to go for colors that premium automakers use, the chances are that it will cost you a fortune. 

Now that we have talked about color let’s move on to the paint quality. For the ones who do not like rushing their car to the garage for a quick paint fix, it is better to opt for a high-quality variant that lasts for a long time. They are a little expensive as compared to industry-standard paints but will last you for a lifetime. 

To give you an estimate, a single coat of enamel paint cost around $350 to $700 for a mid-sized sedan. However, if you decide on getting a high-quality paint coat, it will cost you a few thousand dollars. And in case you are feeling experimental and want to add a few stripes for extra effect, you will have to part with another couple of thousand dollars. 

  1. Finishes

How good your car looks after it is repainted is not just determined by the color and the paint quality but also the kind of finish that is applied.

A finish is mainly used to ensure that the paint stays perfect for a longer time, to preserve it from daily exterior damage. A standard wax finish will add another $100- $250 to your bill. However, if you want the auto body professional to add a ceramic coating, you will have to spend a little more. 

Even though they seem a little expensive, it is better to go for them since their durability is excellent. For high-quality paints, it is always advisable to use a finish that is premium and can protect the color for a long time. A finish not only extends the longevity of the paint but is also essential if you like the extra luster and the smooth texture. This will spare you the trouble of repainting your car anytime in the near future. 

  1. Keeping A Realistic Budget

A lot of times, we get stuck with an old vehicle, and parting with them just makes our hearts heavy. Maybe it is still running on high mileage but looks a little tired. What is to be done in such a scenario?

Well, here, your major outlook should be to give it a makeover but not re-invest too much money in it. Selecting a cheaper repainting option in the existing color is a good idea as it will provide a quick freshening for a minimum expense. This is excellent if you are planning to sell the car. It will enhance the look and help you bargain better for a couple of thousand dollars extra. 

But it is altogether a different ballgame if you have a vintage or a classic, something of a higher base value. Be careful not to bring down the car’s worth by putting a cheap layer of paint on it. If you put a low-quality varnish, the chances are that you will be stuck with a finish that is nowhere close to what it was when new. 

Different Types Of Paints And Their Costs

Depending on your preferences, there’s a wide array of painting options that you can choose from. Here, we discuss a few of the most common types of car paints that you can opt for depending on your likings and budget. 

  1. Matte

Matte finish has gained quite a popularity in the last decade and is sought after by many even if the price is little on the higher end. If you are a DIY painter, you can easily achieve the look by mixing paint with a good amount of epoxy primer or PVC. This formula enables your color to absorb more light than it reflects, making the finish look a little dull but beautiful. 

However, there is a slight downside to it. Honestly, unless you are very careful and take good care of the car, this paint option is not for you. You have to be cautious and immediately remove bird droppings and any other dirt to prevent them from causing any irreparable damage. 

  1. Solid

This is the most basic option that you can go for, and most standard cars come with it. If you are new to car paint and not feeling too experimental, a solid finish is a good choice. 

When maintained well, your car will gleam and glisten in natural light, making it the talk of the neighborhood. More often than not, this finish requires 2 to 3 layers, first a primer, then the paint, and a final lacquer coat to wrap it up. 

Nowadays, some manufacturers are known to mix the paint and the lacquer into a single layer, saving you extra effort and money. To sum it up, we can say that this is one of the most affordable and safest bets you can make! 

  1. Metallic 

To give you an estimate, for a small car, a metallic finish would cost you somewhere between $650 to $850. To get a metallic paint coat, all you need to do is mix some aluminum powder with paint and apply multiple coats on your car. This is what increases the cost of painting considerably. 

However, as compared to solid paints, it undoubtedly leaves your car more shining and glamorous. It does not matter whether the sky is clear and dull with heavy clouds; your car will be sparkling nonetheless. 

  1. Pearlescent

If you want an upgrade to your metallic car finish, a pearlescent coat is the one to go for. Simply put, it is a step up from basic metallic paint. Instead of mixing aluminum powder, what you mix in this formula is colored ceramic crystals. Yes, you heard us right!

These ceramic crystals add a unique luster to your car and make it look brand new. And when the light falls on it, the colors refract and appear different when looked at from different angles. The finish is exceptionally smooth, and with regular light cleaning, dust will not collect on it. However, this is quite costly, and you should take note of your budget before deciding on getting it. 

Car painting and automobile repair service. Auto mechanic in white overalls paints car with airbrush pulverizer in paint chamber

Final Words

That’s all we have for you today, folks. 

The bottom line is that whatever paint type or technique you choose, the range of repainting your car varies between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Depending upon the car size, its condition, and mostly your preferences, you will have to decide on a budget before proceeding with it. 

The challenge is to find a perfect balance of a moderately priced but good-quality paint job. And for that, we hope this guide is of some help to you. We also hope it has helped you understand what all to look for and the pitfalls to avoid when painting your vehicle. 

With that, it’s a wrap. Let us know about your experiences in the comments section below. And if you have any questions for us, feel free to put that in too.

Until next time, adios!

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