How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car?

It can pay—literally and figuratively—to make your old car look almost new with a fresh paint job. First, there’s the psychic pay you get in return for having a good-looking car once again. And then there’s the potential financial payoff when you sell your ride; it should be more valuable. So, how much does it cost to paint a car?

The answer depends on what you want to get from the paint job. How much it costs to paint a car, truck, or SUV varies widely depending on the level of detail in the pre-painting preparation process and the quality of the paint. Are you interested in quickly and economically pumping up the value of your car before selling it? Then a less expensive paint job could be just fine.

At the other end of the spectrum is a restoration project. If you’re repainting a car or refurbishing a ride you want to keep for a long time, it makes sense to invest considerably more. This is especially true if the car is highly valuable; a cheap paint job will detract from its value should you decide to sell.

Factors that affect car paint cost

The cost of paint alone is not the only factor to consider when calculating paint job costs. Several elements impact the overall cost of the project.

Overall Quality

Working with a reputable shop will be much more expensive than working with a shop that is known for doing lower-quality work. However, even if it costs more, you always want to be sure that you are taking your vehicle to a good shop that has a solid reputation.

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car

Look at online reviews for any shop you are thinking of going to and see what other customers have to say about the quality of their work. You can also ask them if they have a portfolio of previous work they have done to see if they will be up to your standards.

Type of Vehicle:

The type of car you have will be a major factor in the price of your painting job. For example, a car that has more doors, such as a sedan or large SUV, will be more expensive than a two-door coupe since there are more door jambs to account for and work around as well as glass to mask.

The kind of car you have and the work that has to go into painting will have a big effect on paint job cost no matter what other factors the painters will have to work with.


The size of the car is also important when it comes to how much it will cost to paint it. A massive truck will almost always cost more to paint than a small hybrid with very little surface that needs to be hit with the spray gun.

Plus, a smaller car will require less work with the sandpaper to get it down to the bare metal, which will cut prep time and costs. If you are thinking about getting a large vehicle painted, it is best to be prepared for a higher estimate.

Chosen Color and Paint Quality

Though a white shirt and a yellow shirt may carry the same price tag in a department store, paint color does not work in the same fashion. Color affects the price, and standard colors like black, gray, and white are much cheaper than specialized colors. Furthermore, you should expect to pay more if you choose rare colors used by premium automakers.

The paint quality will determine the cost of the overall paint job, as well. Higher-quality and long-lasting paint are more expensive than the industry standard. But it’s usually well worth it since you’ll have to repaint your car far less often – if ever again.

For example, one coat of synthetic enamel paint might cost between $300-$700 for an average-sized sedan. On the flip side, multiple coats of high-quality paint can run several thousand dollars or more. You’ll also have to consider any additional paint art or stylistic touches you may want. Looking to add racing stripes? In many cases, you’ll need to pay a few hundred dollars extra.

All in all, the more elaborate the project and the higher the quality of paint, the more expensive it will be.

Any Needed Repairs

If your vehicle has several surface imperfections, like deep scratches, a new paint job will probably cost you more than it normally would. Some paint services will offer to repair any imperfections, but even those who don’t may charge extra for the project since they’ll have to paint around the issue or cover it up.

Some businesses may even refuse to paint a car that has a lot of surface damage because painting these areas without protection can lead to long-term damage.


If you are going to have a lot of finishing work done to your vehicle once the paint is applied, this will also cost a lot more. Applying extra coats for a deeper color and clear coats for a high-gloss look will add to the price of your paint job. Be sure to discuss what kind of finishing work you want to have done on your car so you can make the right decision for your budget and needs.

So, How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car?

Many body shops offer several levels of service to cater to customers with different budgets and requirements.

The main types of paint services are:

Basic: The most inexpensive paint job involves as few coats as possible, using synthetic enamel paint. If your car needs very little prep work or bodywork to apply the paint, you can expect to pay anywhere between $300 and $1,000 for a basic paint job.

Standard: The cost of a standard paint job usually includes sanding the body and removing rust before painting to get an attractive finish. Standard costs range from $1,000 to $4,500.

Showroom quality: This process involves sanding the bodywork down to the bare metal, removing all the rust and dents, and then applying up to 24 coats of high-quality paint. The project may take up to a month, and the showroom-quality costs can run anywhere from $5,000 to as high as $20,000 in some cases.

Things That Increase the Cost To Paint a Car

We hinted at this above, but the amount of what needs to be done to achieve a paint job that you’re satisfied with affects the price.

Rust repair

Spraying over rust and expecting it to never rear its ugly head again is a fool’s errand. To achieve a clean paint job, it’s important to cut out or neutralize those bits of metallic cancer. If you live in a temperate climate, it’s not as much of a concern, but lots of rust spots could up the bill really quickly.

Related Post: How To Fix Rust On Car? (7 Easy Steps)

Cracks or dents

Paint adheres to surfaces, but it doesn’t adhere surfaces together: Any cracks and damage in bumpers require fixing ahead of time, or the whole piece of bodywork might need replacement. Dents need to be popped out, too, and popping them out later could damage the paint.

Related Post: How To Fix A Dent In A Car? (4 Simple Methods)

Optional extras

There are all sorts of extras to add to a paint job: Graphics, pearlescent additions, more flake, pinstripes, racing stripes, flames, and so on. These will add to the labor cost, and most aren’t easily removed as they’re often underneath the clear coat.

Even more extras

A lot of body shops will offer services in ceramic coating and protective wraps. However, these often have to be done well after the finished, buffed, and waxed fresh paint job, as the paint needs a chance to fully harden on its own. They’re great to consider as they’ll help protect your investment.

Wheel refinishing

If you want your ride to look as fresh as possible, you could also have your wheels repaired and resprayed in either the factory or a custom color. Yellow car, green wheels: Why not? But this will also be an added cost depending on how much repair is needed.

Is Painting A Car Worth It?

Painting your car might increase its value or it might not. Steven Lang is a used-car dealer and Capital One Auto Learning Center contributor who has had more than 200 vehicles painted within the last 15 years. He cautions that this doesn’t always help bring a higher selling price, but it can if you keep certain things in mind.

First and foremost, Lang says you need to consider the car’s current condition. Is the clearcoat peeling? Is the paint discolored? Does the vehicle need bodywork? If so, it’s likely worth the effort to have it repainted.

You also need to be realistic about the demand for your car. If it’s a popular or valuable model, invest in a high-quality restoration. If the vehicle is 10 years or older and/or not very popular or valuable, Lang says an inexpensive paint job will probably suffice.

This advice can also apply to anyone who has purchased a used car and felt buyer’s remorse because of the paint. Lang says that if you tend to keep your cars for a long time, it makes sense to refinish the exterior without regard to recouping the money years down the road. You’ll be happier with a better-looking car.


How much does it typically cost to repaint a car?

A more complete paint job, which includes multiple coats of paint and basic wax, will probably cost $1,000 to $4,500 for a similar car.

Is it cheaper to paint or wrap a car?

Generally, paint jobs range between $3,000 and $10,000. In contrast, you can find a high-quality car wrap between $2,500 and $5,000. Since a good paint job can cost more than double the cost of a professional vehicle wrap, many companies with fleets choose them over paint.

What is the cheapest color to paint a car?

Color affects the price, and standard colors like black, gray, and white are much cheaper than specialized colors. Furthermore, you should expect to pay more if you choose rare colors used by premium automakers. The paint quality will determine the cost of the overall paint job, as well.

Can you repaint over old car paint?

Fortunately, you do not have to remove the entire layer of clear coat to repaint your car. If your car has a clear coat, simply scuff the area you want to paint. This promotes better paint adhesion, allowing you to successfully repaint your vehicle without the hassle of removing the automotive clear coating.

The bottom line

When shopping around to have your car painted, remember many factors will ultimately influence the cost you’re charged, including the color paint you select, the finish, and the quality of the paint. The size of your vehicle will also play a role in the price.

Though you may be tempted to go for the lowest price possible, remember the final look of the paint job may suffer. You may end up with paint that doesn’t last as long or key details may be ignored or overlooked. Take the time to carefully review what’s included before making a final decision.