A car paint job can cost anywhere from $500 up to around $3000 for a standard paint job, depending on the size of the car and the quality of the paint job. Of course, just like anything in this world, if you want some hefty upgrades, you can even spend up to $10,000 or even $40,000 for a custom paint job.
If you’re looking for a high-quality paint job, expect to pay closer to $3000 portion of that range.
However, if you’re simply looking to get your car painted and don’t mind a few imperfections, you can likely find a car painter who will do the job for less.
What are the factors that can change how much a paint job costs?
1. The size of the car
A larger car will require more paint, and will likely cost more to paint. If you have a larger car, expect to pay closer to the higher end of the price range.
For example, a smaller sports car or sedan is going to be much less expensive than a larger SUV. The smaller vehicle will need less prep work, less paint, and far less time than the larger vehicle.
All of these things stack up to being huge savings, driving down the cost of the paintwork on the smaller vehicle.
2. Quality of the paint job
A higher-quality paint job will use better materials and take more time, both of which will drive up the cost. Most paint shops have a variety of different services that they offer, and they all are at different prices.
You might have a single-stage paint job (no clear coat), which can be the least expensive option available, however, it also doesn’t last as long. These are the ones you see advertised as being around $500.
Then you have the more complex paint jobs that offer full preparation of the vehicle (sanding, wet sanding, and more) and clear coat which is quite a bit more. These are the ones I reference earlier when saying it would cost around $1,000 – $2,000.
Finally, you have the most expensive paint jobs! These are the ones where you add in flecks of glass, multi-stage paint jobs, and more, way before you ever even get to the clear coat. These can cost upwards of $10,000 or more.
3. The color of the paint
Some colors are more difficult to match than others and may cost more. For example, red colors are some of the most expensive colors to purchase, as they need a large number of different dyes to get it to that point. Meanwhile, colors like white are considerably cheaper to produce, and are cheaper to purchase (this is why Tesla uses white as their base, no option color).
That said, there are some incredbily expensive paints, including the $24,000 a gallon paint that they used on this Ford GT, and a special run of Mustangs in the past.
4. The location of the car
If you live in an area with a high cost of living, you can expect to pay more for a car paint job than if you lived in a less expensive area.
I’m sure you are highly aware of who you are as you read this article, if you are paying more for other items where you live, it likely will be similar for painting your car as well
5. How much preparation is needed
We alluded to it a bit earlier, however, the preparations of your vehicle for paint is one of the most imperative items to check off the list before paint ever hits the car. It will take plenty of sanding, wet sanding, possibly Bondo, fixing dents, fixing rock chips, and making sure everything is perfect before you put down the primer and then the actual paint.
Even before that, you will also want to be removing all components that will make the paintwork harder! This will be taking out headlights and taillights, removing door seals, possibly windshields, and taping off everything else that isn’t removed.
You can save some money by doing this all yourself, however, if you don’t have any experience in this arena, it is best left to the professional to make sure your car looks the best possible after this expensive paint job is done.
Don’t have that budget? Here are some other options
Not everyone can afford, or at least wants to spend the money it takes to completely repaint their vehicle. So here are some other options for you that might save you a couple of bucks down the road.
Spot paint your vehicle
Not every vehicle needs a complete repaint! You might be able to get away with only painting certain panels on your car, and then blending them into the other panels. This results in far less prep work, fewer components needing to be removed, and much less paint needed to complete the job.
In this case, the shop will color match your vehicle, and do their best to make it look like that panel was not the only one to be painted at that time.
Generally speaking, I would also recommend a complete buff off the paint on the entire car to bring everything back to as new paintwork as possible.
Wrap your car
Don’t be deceived, wrapping your car is still expensive. However it does take less preparation than paint, fewer items to be removed and it can be placed over minimal damage as well. This is a great way to make your vehicle stand out, without spending more money on a more complicated style of the painting process.
When you are done, you can remove the wrap and go on your merry way! Still, count on spending at least $1000 through to have it done right. Wraps will also only last a couple of years before needing to be applied again. It also is less desirable in the 3rd party market, if you ever wanted to sell your vehicle soon (new owners can’t see imperfections).
Plasti-Dip your ride
Finally, this is the least expensive and most forgiving way to change the color of your vehicle for people that don’t have the needed experience. Plasti-Dip is essentially a rubber coating that you can spray over your vehicle. You can easily remove overspray, and you can add as much to the vehicle as you want to make it look right.
After you are done with your color change, you can remove the Plasti-Dip just like you would a wrap!
Now, it isn’t perfect though, as Plasti-Dip doesn’t last nearly as long as paint or wraps, and will need a reapplied more often than the alternatives. Another big downside is the fact that they don’t have a true gloss. Because it is rubber, it only comes in flat or satin colors.
Ultimately, the best way to get an accurate estimate for your car’s paint job is to consult with a few different car painters and compare their prices.
With a little research, you should be able to find a car painter who can give you the look you want at a price you’re comfortable with.