How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car?

Car paint gives protection and beauty to your automobile. If you want your car painted or repainted, here are the necessary information that you will need.

The paint on your car provides protection and makes your car look good. Perhaps you want to repaint your car in a different color or revive its look.

Keep reading to learn everything you know about painting your automobile.

We’ll start explaining why painting your car may be a good idea.

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Why You Should Paint Your Car

Fast car paint peeling off
Fast car – paint peeling off

Not only does the paint provide the exterior look of your car, but it also protects it in many ways. Just like the skin of your body, the paint of your car protects against environmental influences.

Most car chassis are made from steel, which in turn means that it is prone to rusting if it comes directly in contact with the environment. The paint hinders this process, leading to greater longevity of the car.

If your car gets damaged in any way that makes the body of the car exposed, you should prioritize getting it repainted. This may for example occur if deeper scratches occur or if you had an accident, where the paint leveled off.

Repairing dents of a car is very common in the automotive business. Thankfully, technology is advancing leading to more effective repairs, without the need to repaint. To find out how much it costs to repair a dent, read our article here.

Another reason might be to repaint your car in another color. The color of your car not only affects your subjective perception of the car, but also the value.

The most popular type of colors such as white, black, and silver, usually do not increase nor decrease the price of the car. Each model may have a few special colors that are sought after.

Painting your car to increase the value is usually not profitable due to the paint job cost. If you have to paint the car for other reasons, you may consider the effect of the overall value. 

Painting The Car Yourself

painting car

Before you get a brush and start painting your car, you should know that it is not very easy. Painting a car is a complex process with a lot of experience needed.

If you are not experienced in painting, it is advised to refrain from it as there is a great chance that the paint job will not turn out how you thought it would.

There are a lot of steps that must be taken and lots of materials and equipment needed. If you do decide to paint the car yourself, make sure that you use quality paint and practice a bit before you start painting your car.

An alternative could be to Plasti Dip your car. It is much cheaper than a traditional paint job, and if it turns bad you can simply remove it.

If you decide to paint the car yourself, there is a great guide on wikiHow, showing you how to do it in a few steps.

Car Paint Composition

car paint colors

Painting the car is not done by simply just applying the paint and be done with it. In fact, the paint itself is composed of many things that add up to the overall quality of the paint.

The cost to paint a car is not only determined by labor costs but also the materials used. The paint consists of different additives, binders, fillers, pigment, and much more.

After reading the following text, you will appreciate and understand everything that goes into making car paint.


A binder makes sure that that paint, or more specifically, the pigment holds together. In other words, it is responsible for the paint to stay on the painted surface, leaving it a smooth finish.


The pigment determines the color and tone of the paint. Not only does it determine the color of the paint, but it also strengthens the paint and some even have properties that additionally protect against rust and corrosion.

The pigment itself is a powder, consisting of many fine-grained particles. Special effects of the car paint such as metallic paint are due to the pigment powder.


The filler is applied just like spackle used in homes to cover wholes in the wall due to, for example, nails.

Depending on the extent of the damage, a different filler is used. Here again, it is important to have great experience in applying fillers as it may show horrible results if not applied properly.


The solvent makes the paint get the consistency it needs by dispersing different components. The solvent evaporates after the paint is applied.

The solvent was very popular before, however, due to environmental and health concerns, water-based paint has been on the rise.

Alternatives To Painting The Car

putting car wrap vinyl foil or film on car door

Plasti Dip was mentioned earlier in the text. It is the cheapest way to change the look of your car and the process is much easier.

The good thing about Plasti Dip is that it is easier to use and if it turns out that the result is dissatisfactory, you can simply just peel away the “paint”.

Another alternative would be to wrap your car. Wrapping your car is a limited option as the paint beneath the wrap should be in good condition.

The cost is very similar to car paint in regard to the volatility. Factors such as what type of vinyl is used, the size of the vehicle, and the look of it. If your car has many edges and hard-to-reach areas, the wrap will be more expensive.

Related:How Much Does It Cost To Wrap A Car?

A good thing about wraps is that they are not permanent. This can also be a disadvantage as a good paint job will outlast a good wrap.

Nevertheless, you can always remove the wrap if you get bored by the design or color. Usually, this is something that is done by those who have a bit (a lot) more money to spend.

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car?

Worker painting blue car.
Painter working with a blue car.

As previously mentioned, a lot of factors exist when painting a car. Depending on what type of color, any special effects, the size of the automobile, and other things, the price will be affected.

It is also important to distinguish if there is only a small part of the bodywork that has to be painted or should the whole car get a new paint job.

It might be tempting to repaint a body panel yourself, but keep in mind that the panel should match the rest of the car. This is one of the toughest challenges even professional car painters face.

The only time it is recommended to paint the car yourself with no experience, is if you really do not care about the paint job of your car or that you want to learn how to paint cars.

Nine times out of ten, it is wiser to let the professionals handle the job. A paint shop with a good reputation and great experience should be chosen.

Cost Estimator

In order to estimate the cost for a paint job, different scenarios are listed down below with an estimated price.

Low Budget Paint Job

The cheapest professional paint job would set you back around $350 to $900. Even though it is professional work, the reason for the paint job being cheap is due to the quality of the paint, the number of layers painted, and the areas painted.

For this type of paint job, do not expect your car to look like it just came from the factory. Some companies avoid painting parts of the car such as the insides of doors, B-pillar, and under the hood, in order to save time and money.

Medium Budget Paint Job

A medium-budget paint job will cost you about $1000 to $5000. This type of paint job befits someone who wants to make sure the paintjob is properly done with no rough surfaces and a proper finish.

This paint job includes all textbook work such as removing any rust and sanding the body. This equals a nicer surface and also a better look.

High Budget Pain Job

There is no limit to how much a paint job can cost. Rolls-Royce made paint with pulverized diamonds. While the price has not been disclosed, it can be left to our imagination.

A paint job that is more expensive than $10.000 is in most cases for those who want the state-of-the-art type of paint job. If you decide on this type of paint job, be extra careful to not get it scratched.

If you’re interested in one of the most expensive types of factory paint jobs, Carbuzz has a great article listing them.


how to buy a car with no title

Painting your car is not as easy as just taking some paint and start brushing. Many components make up the car paint and give its special glow, effect, and aesthetic.

Not only does the paint make your car look good, but it also protects it from rust and degradation. Make sure that you have no deep scratches affecting the paint.

With little to no experience, it is not recommended to try painting the car yourself. A bad paint job is something hard to correct and unfortunately something that will get noticed (especially by yourself).

A paint job that costs $1000 – $5000 is enough to make sure that your car looks brand new when talking about the exterior. As previously mentioned, different factors make up the cost.

Different types of paint with metallic, pearlescent, and matte finishes will be more expensive.

If you decide to repaint your whole car, make sure that color is compatible with the market, so you can sell the car afterward (if you intend to sell your car at a later stage). Colors like brown, pink, and purple usually tend to have a lower resale value, but there are exceptions.

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Bajro Muric
Bajro Muric

Bajro is a big car enthusiast with a love for writing and teaching. He writes about anything regarding cars - from common problems and fixes to racing.