How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car A Different Color?

Are you tired of the color of your car? Here's a guide that helps you understand just how much you can expect to pay to paint your car a different color.

Are you ready for a respray? Have you got bored with your car’s current color? Or perhaps you need some new paint for rust protection?

Whatever the reason for a new coat of paint, let’s get one thing clear: painting an entire car a different color is expensive!

This is something you’ll probably need to save up for over the coming months rather than something you can impulsively decide to do.

The process is long and laborious and involves unbelievable quantities of paint. It must be done in a unique environment, complete with dust sheets, particulate filtration, and full PPE, including respirators and coveralls.

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

Read on to find out.

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Why Should You Paint Your Car A Different Colour?

A colored car

Unless it’s becoming particularly susceptible to rust (oxidation), aesthetics is the only reason for painting your car a different color.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing – own it!

However, know that it’s unnecessary for your vehicle’s continued health and almost certainly won’t add anything to its resale value.

Paint is actually a car’s best protection against rust. Many components are also now made of galvanized steel. Still, the thick layers of oxidation-protecting paint keep the moisture well away from any vulnerable parts.

That’s why paint chips are actually more of a problem than you might think. As well as visually impacting a car, there’s now a spot for rust to get in and spread.

From an aesthetic point of view, a new coat of paint can really make a car stand out. These days, most manufacturers limit standard colors to incredibly dull blacks, whites, and grays.

A new coat of vibrant purple or orange will make your car stand out from the crowd if that’s what you want!

There are other ways to promote your car. A good clean and wax will likely have a similar impact if your coat is already in reasonable condition.

This will probably cost you a grand total of a few dollars, too – probably around a thousandth of what you’d spend on a full respray.

How Do You Paint Your Car A Different Colour?

Close up of spray gun with red paint painting a car in special b

It’s technically possible to significantly reduce fees by painting your own car at home.

However, if there was ever an essential piece of advice regarding the cost of changing your car’s color, it’s this: don’t do that!

For a start, the environmental body of your state’s government might prohibit it altogether.

There’s a lot more to painting than you might think. The layers of paint must be sprayed on and evenly applied across the entire vehicle.

You’ll have to do this several times before there’s enough paint on the car to create vivid, rust-protecting color.

Before you even start doing this, you’ll have to create a sealed environment filled with plastic sheets. This may involve renting a workshop or garage. You’ll also need to buy the equipment and PPE if you want to avoid respiratory failure (recommended), protect the windows, trim, and lights, and safely remove all the existing paint.

Finally, you’ll need to buy the paint. Expect to pay $500 to $1,500 (yes, that’s correct) just for these materials. If you’re after a unique or manufacturer-specific color, it’ll be on the higher end or even more!

A specialist workshop will already be set up to do this for you. These technicians won’t make mistakes. In the unlikely situation that they do, they should offer guarantees to correct it for free.

The catch?

It’s expensive.

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car A New Colour?

Worker painting a red car in paiting booth using professional to

How much does it cost to get your car painted a different color?

For a professional job – which would be highly recommended – you’ll new a spare few thousand dollars in your bank account.

A careful, professional paint job is likely to cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000.

You might find cheaper options from national chains. However, these most likely only include one layer. This will be very vulnerable to chips and therefore provide little to no rust protection.

If a company is offering a respray for a low price, ask yourself how they’re able to do that. Remember, the paint alone could cost up to $1,000, and even though trades will get it for less, they’ll still be charging labor rates. Does it seem reasonable and legitimate?

One might easily conclude that a cheap respray is even less valuable than an expensive job.

What Factors Affect The Cost To Paint A Car A New Colour?

The following factors can affect the cost of painting a car a different color.

Size Of The Car

Size of Car

Although it might seem obvious, the larger the car is, the more paint is required. Since more materials are needed, the price will be higher.

It’ll also take a technician longer to paint. Therefore, you’ll find more hours of charged labor on your quote and bill.

A large SUV could cost 50% more than a tiny hatchback because of its greater surface area.

Quality And Colour Of Paint

Quality and Color of Paint

As mentioned earlier, higher-quality paints in rarer colors can be much more expensive than standard types. Covering a car in several layers of paint requires a lot of the stuff.

Manufacturer-specific paints can be the trickiest way to go since these will need to be color-matched to the specifications. Expect these paints to be two or three times the price of regular options.

How Long The Paint Job Will Take

Paint Job Time

Of course, the bigger the vehicle is, the longer a respray will take. However, other factors should also be considered.

How many other cars are in the shop? How many days will the job take? How long needs to be left for the paint to dry?

All of these will affect the final price.

Repairs And Prep Work

Repair and Prep Work

Before a technician can start work painting your car, they’ll need to prepare the body. This involves carefully sanding down the old paint and repairing any damages.

Small chips and relatively minor things won’t take much time to fix. The final paint job will look uneven if they aren’t corrected first, so it’s crucial to get it done.

More significant impacts like dents and deep scratches will, of course, also need to be repaired by a bodywork expert. Otherwise, the paint job will hardly be worth it.

Finally, rust. All rust must be removed before paint is applied. It acts as a seal against oxidation but can’t protect your car from it if it’s already in.

This all takes time, and time costs a lot of money.

Is It Worth It?

Worker using a paint spray gun for painting a car

So, is the cost of painting a car a different color worth it? With an average price of a couple of thousand dollars and from a financial point of view… usuallyno.

Exceptions might apply: classic cars, for example, might find their values jumping significantly with a respray. This only applies to the most valuable – think Shelby Cobras, Corvette Stingrays, Ford GT40s, etc.

However, you might want to paint your car a different color just for fun. If you have that much money to spend, why not? Your hard-earned cash is yours to do with as you please.

There are alternatives to painting your car, such as wrapping. This usually works out much cheaper and can be easily removed if necessary.

Is the cost of changing your car’s color worth it? Well, that’s up to you.

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Benjamin Kitchen

Ben is an automotive author from England. With experience in a fast-fit garage, he's an IMI-qualified light vehicle technician. He aims to help drivers worldwide with common automotive problems. You’ll often find him working with his 1.2 Vauxhall Corsa – it may have a tiny engine, but in eight years it's never once let him down!

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