If your car needs a paint job, the first thing you might wonder is, how much does it cost to paint a car? Although this depends on various factors, the cost ranges from about $300 to over $2,000.
A basic paint job can be purchased for an average of $500, while a complete job will cost $1000. If you have a truck instead and need more services, you can even spend $5000.
This guide will talk about all you need to know about painting your car and how much you will spend. Painting your car isn’t easy, and it will also take a toll on your wallet. But, despite the costs, you’ll feel happy and satisfied when you see your freshly painted car.
Factors that Influence the Auto-Painting Costs
The size of your car greatly determines how much you spend on painting. The color you use also matters.
Different factors influence the price of painting your car, whether you are doing so yourself or purchasing a professional service.
Size of Your Car
The type and size of your car is one factor that determines the price. Painting a large SUV will cost more than a smaller car.
Type of Body Shop
The caliber of the body shop that you choose can also affect the price, that is if you are getting it professionally done. But keep in mind that the quality of the paint job also depends on the price.
Not all car paints are the same, and you’ll realize this when purchasing paint for your car. If you’re using white or black paint, it will be cheaper than the rare colors. Also, industry-standard paints cost less than high-quality choices.
This defines the amount of shine your paint gives. The finish can be matte, gloss, or semi-gloss, depending on the style that you want for your car.
If your car needs any repair before painting, you’ll also spend more than if it’s a simple paint job. Deep scratches and scuffs on your vehicle, for example, will need to be covered up.
Professional Painting vs. DIY
You can decide to paint your car yourself or hire a professional, but the latter is more expensive.
The first thing that influences the price of painting your car is whether you get it professionally done or yourself. To decide between the two, you should first consider why you are painting the car.
Do you want to restore your car? Are you interested in a new look? Do you need a quick coat of fresh paint before selling the car? These questions will determine if you should paint the car yourself or take it to the autobody shop.
You can paint your car, but you’ll need to be patient and have the essential skill of handling car paint. There are also a couple of tools and paints that you need to buy for the job. If you’re restoring an older vehicle or an all-terrain car that is constantly banged up, a do-it-yourself paint job works fine.
But if you’re restoring a collector’s car or a family vehicle, or you don’t think you can do the job right, it’s usually better to purchase the services at an autobody shop. Also, if a paint job is essential in restoring the resale value of your car, so getting it professionally done is a good idea.
Professional Car Painting Costs
Hiring a professional comes with different benefits, but you need to consider the cost which can go as high as $20,000.
The cost of purchasing car painting services at an autobody shop depends on the service level. The services come with different requirements and budgets. Generally, here are the levels of services that you can hire. Keep in mind that they can be named differently.
The basic plan is usually the cheapest paint job you can get from an auto shop. This plan can cost between $300 and $900 and is mainly used with synthetic enamel paint. If you get this service, keep in mind that the painter won’t reach areas that aren’t visible.
The next pricing tier that autobody shops provide is standard. This level usually involves removing rust on the car and sanding the body before painting it. They might also paint areas like inside the hood. It costs between $1,000 and $4,000.
The showroom quality is the most expensive paint job you can get from an autobody shop. In this case, the painters will sand the car’s bodywork down, remove all the rust entirely, and apply up to 24 coats of good paint. It can take up to a month for this to get done, and you can even spend as high as $20,000.
Benefits of Hiring a Pro
When you hire a professional, you can enjoy a high-quality job done faster and more efficiently, with better attention to detail.
There’s no doubt that you’ll spend more when hiring a professional to paint your car. At the same time, there are different benefits to expect when you hire a pro to paint for you.
If you hire a professional auto painter for your car, there’s no doubt that you’ll get the best quality. Since they are trained at this, the painters will give showroom quality to your repainting job.
Attention to Detail
Since they are skilled and experienced at their job, they provide more attention to detail when painting your car. This gives you a vehicle that looks as good as new.
Insured and Licensed
You don’t have to worry about licensing and insurance by hiring a professional to paint your car. Thus, it’s essential to consider this.
Professional painters will also work on painting your car much faster than you would have. It will only take them a few hours for a basic paint job, and you would have saved a lot of time since you didn’t paint it yourself.
DIY Painting Costs
DIY car painting can cost between $100 and $1000, but this depends on the quality of your paint and the other tools you need to purchase. You won’t have to spend money on labor costs, but keep in mind that you will spend a long time on this task.
You can easily purchase the materials needed for painting from automotive and hardware stores. You can learn more about painting your car yourself in this video.
What You Need When Painting Your Car
A paint masker is one of the important materials that you need when painting your car. Although, you can always use masking tape as an alternative.
Here are the materials you need when painting your car:
Most importantly, you need paint for your car. The price of paint depends greatly on the quality. If you want cheap paint that is also solid and quick to apply, you can go for urethane or polyurethane paint.
The most common type of car paint is synthetic enamel paint, used to paint cars since the 1930s. You can easily find this at an affordable price.
Another good paint is lacquer, which will give your car a clear coat. There’s also the choice of buying a vinyl adhesive wrap to change the color of your vehicle without using spray paint.
It’s best to choose a reliable paint sprayer for your car, and these are highly affordable. Since they’re cheap, they’ll barely dent your budget. The HVLP Spray Gun is great for cars and also comes at a low price.
When painting, it’s essential to buy a paint masker. This will help you cover undesirable surfaces and paint faster. You can always go for masking tape if you don’t have a masker. To save money, you can purchase the 3M Hand Masker Pre-Assembled Kit.
Drop cloths are also needed during car painting, as they are used to cover the floor and neighboring cars.
Other tools you’ll need include primer, paint trays, sandpaper, foam brushes, masking tape, and mineral spirits.
Tips for Painting a Car Yourself
It’s a good idea to sand your car before painting it, as this can determine whether the fresh coat of paint starts peeling quickly or not.
If you’re painting your car, here are some tips to keep in mind
You need to be very patient when you are painting your car. To get a clean finish, you need to add different coats of paint to your vehicle. But you can’t apply a new coat without letting the previous one dry. It takes about six hours for a coat of paint to dry fully, which means you’ll be painting for a long time.
Apply Consistent Pressure
To avoid a rough-looking paint job, you should use consistent pressure when using your foam brush to apply paint. If not, the paint streaks will look weird on your car.
Paint the high spots of your car first, like the top of the hood and doors and the roof. Then, work your way down to the vehicle.
Use a Moderate Amount of Paint
With too much paint applied to your car, you’ll have drips and runs when you’re done with painting. So, it would be best to focus on making your coats even when painting.
When Should You Paint Your Car?
There’s no fixed time for when you should paint your car. You can apply a fresh coat of paint on your vehicle every few years, mainly if you use it regularly. The paint on your car isn’t only about providing a great look and preventing corrosive damage and wear and tear.
If you’re unsure, you should paint your car every five years, or if you’re waxing it regularly, you can paint it every seven to eight years. Also, if your vehicle gets damaged due to bad weather or an accident, you can get a partial paint job.
How to Save Money when Painting Your Car
Waxing your car is one way to make your fresh coat of paint last longer, thereby saving you money in the long run.
If you’re working with a budget, you should look for ways to save money when painting your car.
Buy Old Paint or Sell Extra Paint
When DIYing, you can trade paint from other people online and save money. For example, you can buy paint from someone’s leftover car painting project, especially if your budget is tight. Also, if you end up with excess paint, you can sell some of it online and make some money back.
Put a Ceramic Coating on the Paint Job
You can save money in the long run by applying a ceramic coating directly on your car after the paint job. This stops the paint from fading and protects it from scuffs and scratches, meaning you won’t have to spend money on a paint job for a while.
Search for the Right Autobody Shop
Don’t just choose the autobody shop closest to you, but do detailed research on different shops so that you won’t spend more than you should. Consider their prices and customer reviews before doing business with them.
Price vs. Quality in Car Painting
Although you might be tempted to choose the cheapest service when painting your car, it’s essential to ensure you’re getting good value. Cheap paint quotes might lead to a shoddy job or the use of inferior materials. The painters won’t paint the areas you can’t see and will mask off trims. They might also paint over the dents and rust on your car.
So, it’s essential to ask the painters what they will do as you ask for the price. Check what steps the fee covers if they will sand it, and prepare the bodywork. You can also ask for previous jobs they have worked on, to be sure.
Different factors will affect the price when it comes to painting your car. These include whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, the size of the vehicle, and the quality of paint. You can also save money when painting your car, but keep in mind that the quality won’t be as good as getting it professionally done.
Jim Wicks is the founder of MotorVehicleHQ. With over two decades of experience in the automotive industry and a degree in Automotive Technology, Jim is a certified car expert who has worked in various roles ranging from a mechanic, car dealership manager, to a racing car driver. He has owned more than 20 cars over the past 15 years. Ask him about any vehicle you see on the road and he can tell you the make, model and year. He loves the aesthetics of all things cars, and keeps his vehicles in pristine condition.
In his free time, Jim enjoys getting his hands dirty under the hood of a classic car or taking long drives along the country roads. His favorite car? A 1967 Shelby GT500, a true classic that, according to Jim, “represents the pure essence of American muscle.”