How much does it cost to paint a car?

How Much Does It Cost to Paint A Car? Everything to Know

Is your car looking a bit shabby and in need of a fresh coat of paint? Perhaps you’re considering doing it yourself to save money. But how much does it cost to paint a car? In this blog post, E Motor Swest will take a closer look at the cost of painting a car, both DIY and professionally. So, whether you’re looking to freshen up your old ride or are considering having it painted for the first time, read on for some helpful tips and insights.

How much does it cost to paint a car?

Before we get into the cost of painting a car, let’s first talk about how it’s done. In general, most vehicles are painted by hand using several different colors. The first color is often the base coat, which serves as the foundation for whatever bolder colors you want to paint on top of it. Additional coats may be added one at a time, with each coat needing time to dry before another can be applied.

The average paint job takes around 12 gallons, which can add up quickly depending on your vehicle’s size and condition. As an example, if you’re considering painting your minivan (which measures in at roughly 17 feet long), that could mean 6 or more gallons per side if you wanted to cover every nook and cranny. That means your total cost could come in around $1,000 or more if you have it done at a professional shop. At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re looking to paint just one door with a unique color, DIY supplies will likely only set you back around $200-300.

Is it cheaper to do it myself?

If you have no prior automotive painting experience, then hiring a professional is worth the added expense. It can be very difficult for someone with little experience to create an even effect with hand painting. Plus, there are safety concerns involved since most shops use high-powered spray guns that shoot out 20+ pounds of force. And lastly, unless you live close by, it can be costly to drive back and forth to get touch-ups every time you see an imperfection.

However, if you’re already somewhat experienced in automotive painting and have all the necessary equipment (more on that later), then it may be cheaper to paint your car at home. This is especially true if you can convince a friend or family member who’s also into cars to help. Just remember that the savings won’t come overnight. You’ll probably need to invest around $500-$1,000 for supplies, so 500+ hours of labor, plus some wait time while the paint cures before driving the vehicle. If you factor in these costs and average hourly rates for professional painters, doing it yourself might cost upwards of $2,000 if you were to hire out the job.

DIY supplies for painting your car

Before you can give your car a new paint job, you’ll need to gather the necessary tools and materials. This includes automotive primer, spray gun (if doing it yourself), sandpaper (various grits), drop cloth for covering flooring, respirator mask air compressor/paint sprayer. Painting over rust might also require rust remover, filler, sealant, etc. And lastly, don’t forget about thinner for cleaning the spray gun between uses. For most vehicles you should plan on using around 12 gallons of paint.

Picking out a color

How much does it cost to paint a car? Once you’ve gathered all your supplies and made sure everything is in working order, it’s time to pick a color. Remember, the color of your car can have a big impact on how much you pay at the end of the day. While all colors are more expensive than black or white, some tend to be pricier than others. In general, darker/richer colors tend to cost more because they require more paint and time for prep and finishing.

How much does it typically cost to get my car painted?

To help give you an idea of what various projects could potentially cost, check out this chart below:

Car Painting Prices – DIY vs Professional:

DIY PRO Uses 12 gallons of paint 6+ gallons Labor 500+ hours over 1-2 weeks $120 per hour Equipment costs $500 – $1,000 $100 per day (labor only) Spray booth costs N/A Approx. $300 Other supplies N/A Approx. $200 TOTAL COSTS (w/ materials) $700 – $2,400* *Price depends on color choice

Keep in mind that depending on your location and whether you’re doing the work yourself or hiring it out to be done professionally, these prices could vary by several hundred dollars either way. You can click here to find out what the average paint job costs in your area, along with how much it would cost if you were to hire someone else to do it for you.

Car Painting Costs vs Value:

After you’ve painted your car, what is the resale value? You might be surprised to learn that unless you have heavily modified or restored your vehicle, the chances are it won’t have much of an effect on its price. This is especially true if your paint job isn’t 100% flawless. If the color matches and there aren’t any major defects in the paint, then most people won’t notice or care that you’ve repainted. Of course, if everything else is identical on a particular model year, then some buyers wouldn’t want to pay too much more for a drastically different color. Going back to our example, even with all those extra costs listed above replacing the factory original color would add around $500 to the asking price of a used car.

How much does it cost to paint a car a different color?

The same caveats for painting your own car apply here. If you’re repainting it yourself, then using 12 gallons of paint should allow you to cover a mid-sized vehicle with just enough paint to do one coat. Depending on the color you’re going to be painting your car, plan on spending anywhere from $500 – $1,300 just in paint costs. Add another $100 per day if you’ll need to hire someone else to help with the spraying or preparation, and factor in whatever equipment you might have needed in order to get started with this project. This includes items like drop cloths and respirator masks.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint A Car
How Much Does It Cost to Paint A Car

Is repainting a car worth it?

While this is a question that only you can answer, keep in mind that repainting your car could lower its resale value by $500 – $1,000. But if the paint job will be so much better than what’s currently on there, then it might just be worth it. You can always recoup some of that money back when selling it and get more for the vehicle than before if the new color really stands out.

Is it cheaper to paint or wrap a car?

In most cases, certainly. Although prices do vary depending on the make/model and size of your car, a typical paint job for a small to medium sized vehicle should start at around $15 – $20 per square foot. If you’re covering a larger area with wrapping vinyl film, then it could cost anywhere from 30 cents – one dollar or more per square inch. Keep in mind that even though this method might seem cheaper at first glance, you can’t just peel it off whenever you get tired of the design anymore. This means it’s going to be far more difficult to get rid of something if you don’t like how it turns out.

How long does it take to paint a car?

Plan on anywhere from two – four days if you’re doing it yourself, with an extra day or two for someone else to help. It might be up to a full week before the paint job is finished drying and ready for you to take home, but most people won’t be able to resist driving their freshly painted vehicle right away.

Will auto paint damage my car?

Don’t worry about any long-term harm coming to your vehicle after painting it. The only thing that could go wrong would be not getting all the old paint off beforehand, which could lead down the road to rust spots being formed underneath your new color. If you have everything properly prepared, then there are no concerns here either. Preventing rust on a car is easy – just wax it regularly.

How much paint does it take to paint a car?

This depends on your specific model and what you’re doing with the new finish. If you only need to repaint one or two panels, then you should be able to get away with using under five gallons of paint in total. For an entire vehicle though, this number can easily reach 12 gallons depending on size and color choice. Therefore, it’s important that you shop around for the best deal possible before buying all of the necessary supplies.

How much does it cost to paint the front bumper?

How much does it cost to paint a car? The cost of painting a car’s front bumper is going to depend on what kind of damage it has, how much space the area takes up, and how good the factory finish was. This can make it difficult to determine an exact price point for this, but most people will pay anywhere from $200 – $500 depending on specific requirements and whether professional help is needed.

Does car paint fade over time?

All finishes lose their luster eventually, but this doesn’t make it necessary to repaint your vehicle all the time. Instead, you should focus on protecting it by waxing regularly and utilizing touch up paint to make it last longer. Usually, if done correctly, a single coat of high-quality dark paint could last for well over five years when applied properly. This can be made to look even better when combined with other methods like clear coat finishing or ceramic coating.

Does color affect resale value?

Yes – although not as much as you might think at first glance. While certain colors are more popular than others, they shouldn’t have any effect on what someone is willing to pay for your vehicle. If anything, the only color that might make a slight difference is silver.

Will spray paint damage my car?

How much does it cost to paint a car? Not unless you use something too potent. Most of the time, you should be fine with the standard products found in most hardware stores. The other option would be to hire someone who knows exactly what they’re doing to ensure all mistakes are avoided. However, even then, there’s no guarantee that every single person will give out an equally impressive result, so it’s up to you whether this is worth it or not.

How do I take care of my car after painting it?

The biggest concern here is just making sure you don’t leave any fingerprints, hair, or other objects on the paint to prevent any potential damage. This can be difficult if you’re still waiting for paint to dry, but it’s important that you take care of this before doing anything else. If you don’t, then there’s a risk of color smearing and other annoying blemishes cropping up.

For upkeep with your newly painted car, regular waxing is your best bet. It will help maintain the finish and negate most of the fading effects. Clear coat finishing is also another good option to consider for an even more impressive look.

How much does it cost to paint a car? Keep reading…

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are car paint jobs expensive?

As with most things, this depends on what you’re getting and who is doing the work. If we’re just talking about one or two painted spots, then the price is sure to be low. However, if you’re getting a full car paint job, then it’s almost always going to be more than you thought. This can depend on so many different factors that it would require far too much time to properly explain here.

If I get my car painted does this mean cheaper insurance?

Unfortunately, not. Insurance companies will consider several different factors when determining how likely they are to cover any damages that might occur in an accident. For example, having certain protection plans combined with regular maintenance could help lower your rates overall. However, changing colors isn’t something worth bragging about when trying to impress them.

What is car body paint?

The paint on a vehicle (or piece of machinery) can be defined as either being: “a substance used for coating and decorating objects”. The definition might seem very basic but, there exist hundreds of different types depending on how they’re applied and their function. The most common types of automotive paints are enamel, lacquer, and acrylic.

What happens if I don’t paint my car?

If your goal is just avoiding damages that could otherwise be prevented with a good paint job, then all you need to do is to take care of your car. This includes general upkeep like waxing or having clear coats finished onto the body. However, if it’s just about not spending too much money on something that doesn’t matter to you, then don’t worry at all. There are plenty of ways to save money without even thinking about painting your car ever again if this isn’t something that interests you.

Is car paint scratch proof?

It’s not just about your car paint being scratch proof, but also the clear coat and all the layers in between. If you do manage to damage this in any way, then it will most likely still show up on a dark surface. This is because scratches can be more noticeable against darker colors, no matter how deep they go.

Once again: there are plenty of ways to ensure that you’ll always look pristine (short of never driving). Both waxing and maintaining a good protective coating on your car can help negate future damages as well as hide those that might already be present. So, if your main goal is looking like new for as long as humanly possible, then these steps should be among your top priorities.

How much does it cost to clear coat a car?

It’s important to clear coat your car if you want to maintain that beautiful color and keep it from fading or chipping away. If you don’t, then the paint will most likely wear off over time without proper protection. The best way to do this is: first by sanding down the entire surface using 200 – 400 grit paper and then properly cleaning and preparing it for its new layer. This also includes making sure there isn’t any dirt on the body of the vehicle before applying the base colors which should always be done in several thin layers as opposed to just one thick one.


How much does it cost to paint a car? If you want to get your car painted properly, then it’s best to find out what the average cost is per square foot before contacting a professional. Costs will vary depending on the size of the vehicle, any additional features required or just how complex the design/pattern is that needs to be added. If you’re still not sure about anything mentioned here, then companies like Maaco might have some better ideas on how much it would cost to paint a car with them.

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