How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Car and Is It Worth It?

by Laura C. Jones

Every car looks its best when it is polished and freshly painted. In fact, a new coat of paint can make even the oldest cars appear brand new. But how much does it cost to paint a car? Can you do it by yourself? And is repainting it even worth it in the long run? Read on to find out!

Why Paint Your Car At All?

Before the article answers the question: how much does it cost to paint a car?, it’s useful to discuss why someone would want to repaint it in the first place.

1. Fading

The majority of people who wish to paint their cars want to do it because the old paint has started to fade. It’s a natural process, especially for cars that are used every day. After about five years, even the best paint jobs will begin to show signs of wear, mostly due to the sun and the salt in the air.

If your car still works perfectly and serves you well, all you will need to make it look brand new again is a great paint job. It will take years off of your car’s appearance, and you’ll be in love with your vehicle once again.

2. Selling Your Car

If you are selling your car privately, you can increase its value by painting it. In some cases, you might even get up to $1,000 more than you would have gotten without the paint job.

You should note that this value increase does not apply to cars sold to a car dealership. In cases like that, the state of your car’s paint will not affect the price at all. But if you are selling it yourself, thinking about giving it a makeover is a good idea.

3. Minor Accidents

A lot of people want to repaint their cars after minor accidents that leave scratches and dents they want to cover up. In most cases, a new coat of paint is enough to make such cars look brand new again and to erase most of the signs of the accident.

Of course, just repainting your car will not be enough if the accident is more severe. But if it’s just a scratch and bump here and there, the paint will cover it up perfectly.

4 Different Types of Paint Jobs

The answer to the question: how much does it cost to paint a car? depends on the type of paint job you want and need. Here are the 4 main types of paint jobs you can consider for your car if you want it painted by a professional.

1. Basic Paint Job

Basic car painting consists of a single-stage enamel paint job. It is often the cheapest option, and it comes with a 1-year warranty. It will give your car a nice gloss and make it look refreshed and new.

2. Preferred Paint Job

Though a preferred paint job also entails a single stage of painting, it is more durable than a basic one due to the quality of the paint used. Namely, professionals use urethane paint for preferred painting, which protects your vehicle and is more resistant to fading. This painting job type usually comes with a 3-year warranty.

3. Premium Paint Job

A premium paint job consists of two stages. Apart from urethane paint, you also get a nice glossy finish that will make your car shine. You will also get a 5-year warranty for the money you spend, which is a great offer.

4. Platinum Paint Job

platinum paint job

Platinum paint jobs are mostly reserved for expensive and high-performance vehicles. These paint jobs consist of sanding, priming, and painting the car.

However, it also takes care of any dents and bumps the car might have. It is the most expensive type of paint job out there, and you should only get it if your car fits the criteria.

5 Factors That Affect The Cost of a Paint Job

Before you get the answer to the question: how much does it cost to paint a car?, check out which factors affect the price.

1. The Overall Quality of the Paint Job

Naturally, basic paint jobs will cost the least and premium ones the most. It all depends on how much time, money, and supplies go into painting a vehicle. If it’s a single-stage job, it will cost less. If sanding and priming are also involved, it will be more expensive.

2. The Size of the Car

The answer to the question: how much does it cost to paint a car? also depends on the car’s size. For example, painting a truck or an SUV will be much more expensive than painting a compact coupe or a similarly sized vehicle. Put simply, the larger your car, the more you will have to pay to paint it.

3. The Color and the Quality of the Paint

If you go to a clothing store, one shirt in different colors will cost the same. However, that is not the case with car colors. Standard car colors such as black, white, or gray are much cheaper than specialized ones.

The rarer the color, the more you’ll have to pay to get it. So, if you want your car to be violet or sky blue, you will need to pay a lot more than for a basic gray car.

Moreover, the quality of the paint will also determine the paint job price. One coat of synthetic enamel paint can cost anywhere between $300 and $700 for an average-sized car. Urethane paint will cost you double that and even more if you want more than one coat.

If you want any additional details painted (racing stripes, for example) you’ll have to pay several hundred bucks more. All in all, the more elaborate the paint job and the higher the quality of the paint, the more you’ll have to pay to get it done.

4. Any Necessary Repairs

any necessary repairs

If your vehicle has some scratches or dents, the paint job will cost more. Certain paint services will offer to fix those imperfections for you and add them to the paint job price. However, even those that don’t will require a higher payment.

They will have to paint around the dents and cover them up as much as possible, which will make the job more difficult and, therefore, expensive.

Some services might even refuse to paint a car with a lot of damage, as the paint would only make matters worse. However, that will only happen if the surface of your vehicle is severely damaged.

5. The Finish

If you want the painting service to wax your car or give it any other type of finish, you will have to pay more. Luckily, these types of additional services usually don’t cost too much. Most wax finishes don’t exceed $100-$200, which is not too crazy.

While wax finishes are pretty affordable, specialized ones are not. For a ceramic coat, you’ll have to pay up to $500. So, consult your budget and think about which finish you can afford before you make any decisions.

Still, make sure you do get a finish. Even the cheapest ones will make your car shine and protect the new coat of paint from sunlight and other outside factors. Having your new paint last for a year or so longer is worth the extra hundred bucks.

So, How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Car?

Now that you know about all the factors that affect the price of a paint job, it is time to finally answer the question: how much does it cost to paint a car?

· Cheaper Options

The cheapest paint jobs can cost anywhere between $300 and $900, averaging at about $566. Though this price might look appealing, you need to bear in mind that such paint jobs are often of low quality. They take place in a single stage, and they usually do not include any type of finish.

If you opt for a cheaper paint job, you will most likely have to get a new one within a year. The paint will fade or rust quite quickly, and any contact with the surface of the car could result in the paint coming off.

Of course, a cheaper paint job is the way to go if you plan to sell your car and just need it to look good when you present it to your buyer. It could boost the value considerably while still not requiring too big an investment.

. Mid-Level Priced Options

A paint job that is neither too cheap nor too expensive can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500. Such paint jobs will include both painting and priming the car, as well as some minor buffing. Most of them will also include a wax finish.

If you want a pro to paint your car, this is the type of paint job you should go for. It might appear like too big a price in the short run, but the durability and quality you will get will be more than worth it.

Apart from using paint of higher quality and giving your car a finish, the painting service will also give you a certain warranty (up to 5 years). That means that even if the paint fades or rusts, they will help you fix it within the agreed time.

· The Most Expensive Paint Jobs

expensive paint jobs

The average price for premium paint jobs is about $5,000, but they can be as expensive as $7,500. If you think about it, you can actually buy a used car for the same amount of money, or at least have a nice down payment for a new one. If you aren’t big on cash, this type of paint job isn’t really worth it.

However, if you do have the money to get this kind of paint job and have a high-performance car, go for it. You will get a fantastic, durable coat of paint done in multiple stages. Your car will truly look and feel brand new, and you won’t have to think about painting it again for at least ten years.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Car: 4 Useful Tips

1. Hire a Pro to Do It

Though it might appear easy and quick, painting a car is a difficult process. You lack both the equipment and experience to do it, and the result will never be as precise as that of a pro.

Thus, it is best to find a good painting service and let them do the job for you. You’ll know your car is in good hands and that your money is well spent. What’s more, you’ll get a warranty for a certain period, which is always a good thing to count on.

2. Be Patient

If you leave your car at a paint shop, do not expect to have it back the very same day. Paint jobs take time, especially the more expensive and high-quality ones. Usually, painting services need around two to three days to finish a job. However, premium paint jobs can take up to a week.

3. New Paint Won’t Fix Everything

While it will make your car look new and refreshed, a coat of paint and a shiny finish will not fix any other underlying issues. If you have quite a bit of surface damage, be it scratches, bumps, or dents, you will need to repair the car first and then get the paint job.

Still, if the damage is minimal, painting over it can indeed help. It is best to consult the guys at the service you choose and see what they have to say about the matter. Have them inspect your car and help you come up with a plan best suited to your needs and the state of your car.

4. Choose Your Painting Service Carefully

Before you commit to a painting service and let it near your car, you should do some research. Ask them any questions you may have, from how much does it cost to paint a car at your service to can I see any previous paint jobs you’ve completed.

Doing so will ensure you only put your car in the hands of someone reliable who will take good care of it. Painting a car isn’t cheap, so making sure you cover all your bases is quite important.

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