How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car?

painting a car

Whether you’re interested in making your old car look new, or just need to paint a damaged vehicle, one thing is certain – a new paint job on your vehicle will give you one good looking ride.

Even if you’re getting ready to sell that automobile, a fresh paint job can increase the value of your used vehicle. But you might be wondering if your budget can handle the cost of a new vehicle paint job.

Factors That Affect The Cost Of Painting A Car

The truth is that how much you’ll spending getting your entire car painted will vary depending on several factors. Some of those things include:

  • The size of the vehicle
  • The quality of the automobile paint you want to use
  •  The level of detail in the pre-painting preparation process

Additionally, what is your end goal with this new paint job? Do you just want something quick and cheap that is good enough? Or are you looking for something more quality, such as a restoration project or refurbishing your favorite vehicle?

When you look for information on how much it costs to repaint a car you’ll find quotes that range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. But before you get too excited by those cheap prices, take a moment to consider the true cost of going cheap.

A cheap automobile painting quote means:

  • the paint quality might not match what was originally on the vehicle
  • you probably won’t get that clear coat finish that most new automobiles have
  • any small dings or dents on the vehicle won’t be repaired before being painted

Basically, if you go for a cheap car painting quote, then you’re not going to get the quality and care that you will from a more expensive option.

Price Ranges For Vehicle Paint Jobs

According to national price tracking website CostHelper, the price range for auto painting is $300 to over $20,000. Yup, that’s a hell of a price range right there and it really does nothing to tell you what to expect from a quote.

So, let’s dig into this in a bit more detail.

Low Priced Auto Painting Jobs

In the USA, the national average for vehicle painting jobs on the low, or cheapest, end of the spectrum is the $300 to $900 range. And the average paid is around $550 for automobile owners who choose this price range.

Here’s what you can expect in this price range:

  • inexpensive synthetic enamel paints
  • the minimum number of coats of paint applied to the car
  • areas like the door jams and inside the hood don’t get painted
  • removable trim and parts is masked off for the painting instead of removed

CostHelper notes that around 33% of consumers who opt for this price range are not happy with the results.

Mid-Level Priced Auto Painting Jobs

In the USA, the national average for vehicle painting jobs on the medium, or mid-level, end of the spectrum is the $1,000 to $3,500 range. And the average paid is around $1,300 for automobile owners who choose this price range.

Here’s what you can expect in this price range:

  • higher-quality, brand-name paint
  • three to five applications of clear coat car paint for protection and a glossy finish
  • interior or engine-area painting may be included
  • sanding, removing rust spots and dents is typically included

CostHelper notes that most consumers who opt for this price range are happy with the results.

Expensive Priced Auto Painting Jobs

In the USA, the national average for vehicle painting jobs on the highest, or most expensive, end of the spectrum is the $2,500 to over $20,000 range. And the average paid is around $5,000 for automobile owners who choose this price range.

Keep in mind that this price level is considered to be a showroom quality paint job. So, it’s the best that money can buy.

Here’s what you can expect in this price range:

  • highest quality automotive paint
  • application of 20-24 layers of paint, including six to eight applications of clear coat
  • high-end options available, like details by an air brush artist or a two-tone metallic paint job
  • sanding the vehicle down to bare metal and removal of any dents
  • process takes one month, or longer

CostHelper notes that 100% of consumers who opt for this price range are happy with the results.

Things To Keep In Mind

Before choosing one of the price ranges and calling up a local auto body painter in your area, there are few things to consider.

What Type Of Paint Job Do You Really Need?

Though you may like the idea of refreshing your old automobile with a full fresh coat of paint, you should top and consider if you really need to do that.

Are there only a few problem areas on the vehicle that need repainted? Or does a large majority of the auto frame need the paint refreshed?

Of course, if you live in a really sunny area, then you may have no choice other than a full paint job. This is because the sun’s rays fade and damage the paint, which makes it a challenge to only touch up the paint in areas.

Or, you may be in a cooler climate where your vehicle frame has a lot of rust spots due to road salt, or salt from the sea if you’re in a coastal region. In such instances, you’ll also have to go with the full painting job instead of the touch up.

Knowing this in advance lets you make a more informed decision as to the best price range for your needs.

Does Your Budget Meet Your Needs?

Now that you know what type of auto painting you really need, it’s time to see if your budget can meet those needs.

It’s a good idea to go with a cheap option if the vehicle is really old and you don’t want to sink a ton of cash into the painting project. But if it’s something like a classic car that you’re restoring, then you should pony up the cash for the top of the line paint restoration.

Are You Using The Paint As A Coverup?

Does your car have problems that are far worse that it’s current paint job? If so, definitely don’t spend time and money getting it painted instead of addressing the real issues.

Ever heard the phrase, “it’s like putting lipstick on a pig” – cause that’s that you’d be doing in this scenario.

Plus, that shiny new paint will probably just make any visual problems even more noticeable than before – and you don’t want that, do you?

Know What’s Included In The Quote

Not all auto body painters include the same services in their quotes, so make sure that you know what is included before you agree to use the company.

For instance, if you have some dents and dings that need repaired, then make sure that is included in the quote that you receive from the vehicle painting shop.

This way, you know what you’re paying before in advance and there won’t be any surprises once the project is done.

What’s The Warranty

You’ll also want to know the warranty offered on the paint job before you agree to move ahead with the painters.

On the low end, you can expect a warranty of six months to a year on the cheapest car paint jobs. The more expensive quotes typically cover you for five to 10 years. And right in the middle you can expect around a three year warranty for the medium-priced quotes.

Check Their Work

You’ll also want to get a look at other cars that the auto painting shop has done before you agree to use them. It’s best to visit the shop in person and check out the already completed vehicles that are on the premises.

You can also ask them for references of past customers that you can contact. This will let you know what people think about the work who have actually used the company.

What About DIY Auto Painting Costs?

If you’re handy when it comes to vehicles, then you may be tempted to go the DIY route and paint your vehicle yourself. While this is not advisable for most people, it can be done.

And yes, it is cheaper than paying a place like Maaco to paint the automobile you. In fact, your biggest cost will be the time that it takes to complete the project.

Materials that you might need include:

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

You’re also going to need a suitable location to do the actual painting of the vehicle. And unlike auto body shops, you probably don’t have a climate-controlled garage that is designed to limit the amount of dust and dirt that come into contact with the paint and ruin the finish.

As you can see, we do not recommend that you paint your car on your own.

Why Is It So Expensive To Paint A Car?

After learning about the price ranges for getting a car painted, you might be wondering why it’s so expensive to get it back to showroom quality. This is especially true if you have an old vehicle where the cost to paint it is greater than the value of the automobile.

There are a few things that come into play here that makes the cost so high.

  • A lot of paint is needed, so the materials cost ads up
  • If the car has any damage, then it costs extra for the repairs
  • The original paint may be removed, which takes a long time
  • Parts of the vehicle may need to be taken apart, which is time consuming

As you can see, there is a lot more to getting a car painted than just the cost of the paint and the time spent spraying the frame with the new color. In addition to the cost of the materials, there is a lot of time involved and quotes include the labor cost.

 

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