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How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Car?

By Ryan Wegman
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How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Car?


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A new paint job can transform your vehicle. Whether you want to give new life to a worn and damaged exterior or change things up with a custom paint job, adding fresh colors can improve the appearance and increase a vehicle’s value. While painting a car isn’t always affordable, it can be worth it if you’re planning to sell. As well as increasing the resale value, a fresh coat of paint helps prevent rust and gives your car’s exterior increased durability. In areas near the ocean and beach, sand and salt particles can cause significant damage to a car’s engine and exterior, making a new paint job necessary. So, how much does it cost to paint a car? This depends on a range of factors, including the type of paint, the application method, and whether you take your vehicle to an auto shop or go DIY style. Before making your decision on your paint approach, there are several important considerations.

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Breaking Down Paint Costs

The cost of painting a car can vary, depending on the service provider. Just like with any other business, auto shops charge different amounts for their services. The three main contributors to a paint job’s price are your vehicle’s size, the color you choose, and the paint’s quality. The smaller the car, the more basic the color (e.g., black, white, or gray), and the lower the quality of paint, the cheaper the work will be. According to CostHelper, a standard, single-coat synthetic enamel paint job costs around $300 to $900. For basic paint jobs, auto shops don’t always carry out comprehensive work. Nooks and crannies such as the inside of a hood or a door jam may not be included, reducing the price.

For a higher standard of paint job, you can expect to pay somewhere between $1,000 and $3,500. For this kind of work, the types of car paint used are generally of a higher quality and are brand-name varieties. The more expensive paint jobs in this price range often include preparation and bodywork, such as sanding, rust removal, and dent repairs. Three to five coats of paint are standard. Showroom quality paintwork often includes multiple layers, textured paint, custom artwork, and special designs. Depending on the extent of the work, a specialty paint job can cost anywhere from $2,500 to over $20,000. This type of paint job also includes extensive preparation and bodywork. Over 20 coats of high-quality automotive paint are applied, with options for airbrush and two-tone metallic finishes.


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DIY Paint Jobs

Painting a car is a lot cheaper when you do it yourself. The major drawback is that it requires skill and equipment. If you have access to space and equipment, you can spend as little as $100 painting your car. However, if you need to invest in equipment and expensive paints, it could cost you several thousand. If you want to paint your car as a home project, here are the essential items that you’ll need:

  • ● An air compressor and paint sprayer
  • ● Sanding equipment (sander, pads, and various grits of sandpaper)
  • ● Metal grinder
  • ● Masking tape
  • ● Auto body filler
  • ● Putty knife
  • ● Primer
  • ● Car paint of your choice
  • ● Clear coat car resin
  • ● Paint thinner
  • ● Respirator and filters

Painting a car yourself is no easy feat. Ensure that you have the right equipment and information before taking on such an important job.

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Considerations When Painting a Car

In addition to the price, there are several key factors to consider before painting a vehicle.

Find the Balance Between Quality and Price

With a car’s paint job, you get what you pay for. A quality paint job requires plenty of prep work, good paint, and time. Each of these aspects adds to your auto-bill. Find a balance between the quality of work you desire and the amount you’re willing to pay. Failing to do this may result in disappointment over your car or the bill.

A Paint Job Can’t Fix All Car Problems

Never paint over cracks, dents, or rust. These problems can’t be solved by a fresh coat of paint, meaning your hard work will be in vain. Ensure you get the necessary repairs done before painting. Investing in a quality, custom-fitted car cover helps preserve the exterior of your vehicle, reducing the risk of superficial damage.

Paint Jobs Take Time

Due to the preparation, drying, and curing time, paint jobs can take a week or more in an auto shop. Custom paintwork can take more than a month before it is ready to leave the shop.


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Protect Your Paint Work

After completing a fresh and shiny paint job, preserve your vehicle’s condition by investing in a car cover. A car cover keeps your vehicle in better condition and for longer. is your go-to online store for vehicle protection. Visit and browse our selection of semi-custom and custom products. Each of our covers comes with a market-leading warranty for your peace of mind.

April 22, 2021
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