How Much Is a Paint Job on a Car? (2022 Update)

Article Summary:

Paint job costs can vary depending on the quality of the paint, the color, the finishes, and any repairs that need to be done to the body of your vehicle. A higher-quality paint job, while more expensive and time-consuming, will last longer and look better than a vehicle painted cheaply in order to save money. If you don’t want to get a professional car painting, you can also paint your car on your own, although this might compromise the quality of the paint job and force you to buy tools and paints that are specific to car painting.

Painting your car is probably one of those tasks you’ve been meaning to get around to but haven’t yet, like cleaning your bedroom and washing those dirty dishes in the sink. Maybe you’re afraid of the potential cost or the time it’ll take, but regardless of the reason, it’s worth weighing out the pros and cons before going to your nearest car paint shop.

A good paint job can have your car looking like new, but it can also weigh heavily on your wallet. Many factors influence the cost of car paint services, with the level of quality determined largely by the option you choose, ranging from basic at the cheaper end of the spectrum to showroom quality at the more expensive end.

Why should I get my car painted?

There are a variety of reasons to get your car painted. Not only can it be an aesthetic fix if your car is looking worse for wear, but paint also serves as a level of protection by preventing the steel body of the vehicle from corroding over time or suffering damage caused by everyday driving.

Painting your car can also help raise its resale value if you are looking to sell it. A fresh coat of paint can have your car looking almost new, assuming it’s done professionally and with higher-quality paint and finishes, which can allow you to raise the asking price. Don’t have the cash available to finance a fresh coat of paint? Find out what a personal would cost without hurting your credit score.

When should I get my car painted?

It is generally recommended that you get your car painted every five years or so, especially if you don’t wax it on a regular basis. If your car is a luxury vehicle or a collector’s item, you may want to consider getting it repainted more frequently.

Fall is typically the ideal season to get your car painted. Since most regions experience dry and somewhat warm weather during this season, it gives you the best chance to protect your new paint job from bad weather and humidity.

Pro Tip

If your car’s paint gets scratched or damaged from an incident like a minor accident or bad weather, you can simply get a partial paint job to take care of the damage.

How much work will go into repainting my car?

Although the amount of work that goes into repainting your car will mostly depend on the quality of the service you have paid for, a professional paint job requires a fair amount of time and effort. A quality paint job will involve tasks like sanding off any excess paint, repairing outside damage such as scratches and dents, and removing the glass from the car to ensure it stays clean throughout the painting process.

Cheap paint jobs might not involve the same level of care and attention, and therefore the work will be more minimal. The paint shop might not repair any dings or scratches and could paint over old or leftover paint.

How much does a car paint job cost?

Many auto body shops offer several different options for getting a paint job on your car. The higher the quality of the paint job you want, the more expensive it will be.

Basic paint job

A basic paint job uses synthetic enamel paint applied in as few coats as possible. For this type of paint job, the painters are unlikely to paint areas that are not normally visible, such as the inside of the hood. The cost of a basic paint job typically ranges from $300 to $900.

Standard paint job

A standard paint job usually includes the cost of sanding the body of the car and removing any rust before the painting begins to get a more attractive finish. The cost of a standard paint job ranges from $1,000 to $4,500.

Showroom-quality paint job

A showroom-quality paint job involves sanding the bodywork of the car down to the bare metal, removing all rust and dents, and then applying up to 24 coats of high-quality paint. The entire project may take up to a month. Showroom-quality paint jobs can cost as high as $20,000.

Pro Tip

When looking for a body shop to paint your car, it’s important to keep in mind that you get what you pay for. A bargain paint job might include lower-quality paint and less attention to detail than a paint job that’s more expensive. Before making a final selection, be sure to ask the body shop plenty of questions about what’s included in the price.

What affects the price of a paint job on a car?

There are a number of factors that will affect the cost of getting a new paint job on your car. However, there are some primary aspects to keep in mind when shopping around for your car’s paint job.

Vehicle size

The size of your car will be an important factor when determining the price of a new paint job. For example, painting a large SUV will cost significantly more than painting a small two-door coupe. Essentially, the larger your vehicle, the more expensive the paint job will be.

Paint quality

The quality of the paint used to paint your car is a substantial determining factor in the price. Higher-quality paint will last longer and therefore be more expensive than a paint job using more standard paint. Synthetic enamel paint, for example, will be much cheaper than a more premium paint.

Paint color

Some colors of paint cost more than others, which will affect the price of your car’s paint job. Painting your car a more basic color, such as black or white, will be cheaper than painting it less common or rare colors like lime green or orange.

Paint finish

The paint’s finish refers to the amount of shine the paint has. Finishes that contain a ceramic coating will cost more money than standard options like a regular wax finish. That said, more specialized finishes will help increase the longevity and quality of your car’s paint job.

Needed repairs

If your car has some damage to its body, such as deep scratches or dents, that can affect the cost of painting it. Any imperfections will need to be painted over, if not outright repaired, and many auto body shops will charge more to deal with these. Some might even refuse to paint the car in the first place until the damage is repaired elsewhere.

Can I paint my car myself?

You can paint your own car; however, such a project does involve a certain level of skill and a range of paints and tools that you’ll likely have to purchase specifically for the job. Additionally, the quality of your do-it-yourself paint job may not be as comprehensive as you’d expect from a professional auto body shop. That’s why DIY paint jobs are best suited for older vehicles or all-terrain vehicles that frequently get knocked and scratched.

That said, many of the tools you need can be acquired from your local hardware or automotive store, as well as online, for as little as $200. This means the only major cost to paint your car would be time and effort.

Pro Tip

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to this type of project is finding a location to paint the vehicle. Most professional paint and body shops have climate-controlled booths that limit the amount of dust and dirt coming into contact with the paint. When painting your car yourself, the best option is to paint it in a clean, well-ventilated garage.


Is it worth getting a paint job on a car?

Whether or not it’s worth getting a paint job on your car depends on several factors, including the paint quality, color, finishes, and repairs required on the body of your vehicle, as well as whether you want to get your car painted professionally or paint it yourself.

It’s also useful to consider why you want to get your car painted in the first place. A new car paint job can help raise the car’s value and protect the car’s steel body from corrosion and exposure to the elements.

Is it cheaper to wrap or paint a car?

Generally speaking, it’s cheaper to wrap your car. While a higher-quality paint job can cost up to $20,000, a high-quality wrap job costs only around $2,500 to $5,000. Vehicle wraps are also more durable than typical car paint.

Vehicle wraps aren’t the same as having your car painted. Wraps are large vinyl decals or graphics that are designed to cover the exterior of a vehicle. They can resemble paint or come with specialty graphics on them, such as a company’s logo or branding.

Your car’s paint job should generally be in good condition before wrapping your car, as any dents or imperfections can show once the vinyl is applied.

How can I paint my car cheaply?

Painting your car yourself is the cheapest way to paint your car. However, it is unlikely to result in as high a quality as a professional car painting would. A DIY paint job can be done for as little as $200, but you will likely have to buy specific tools and paints for the job, and it will be a time-consuming process.

The next cheapest option is a basic paint job from a professional car painting service, with the price running anywhere from $300 to $900. The painters will likely apply only a couple of coats and use the cheapest available paint.

How long does paint last on a car?

If cared for properly, the paint on most vehicles will typically last anywhere from 10 to 15 years. For paint jobs on vehicles made before 1960, however, a paint job typically only lasts for five to ten years. This paint is easier to apply and has lower levels of toxicity than paint jobs on more modern vehicles.

Key Takeaways

  • Getting a new paint job on your car can help improve the aesthetic look of your car, raise its resale value, and protect the body of the car from corrosive damage caused by daily driving and inclement weather.
  • It’s recommended to get your car repainted every five years — preferably in the fall, when the weather in most regions is drier and somewhat warm, which can protect the paint from humidity and bad weather.
  • The three main types of paint jobs offered by most auto body shops are a basic paint job, a standard paint job, and a showroom-quality paint job.
  • Your vehicle’s size, paint color, paint quality, paint finish, and body damage are all factors that affect the price of painting your car.
  • Painting your car yourself is a cheaper option than taking it to a professional service shop. However, it can be time-consuming, as well as somewhat expensive to buy all the necessary paints and tools.
  • It’s cheaper to wrap your car than it is to paint it. Vehicle wraps are typically made of vinyl and can be customized to include graphics or images. They can also resemble paint jobs.

Interested in getting the most value out of your car? Check out SuperMoney’s expert guide to learn how auto equity loans can help you use the value of your car as security when you’re in a financial pinch!

View Article Sources
  1. How Much Does a Car Paint Job Cost? –
  2. Should You Paint Your Vehicle? – Auto Trends Magazine
  3. How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car? – J.D. Power
  4. How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Car? – Car and Driver