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How Much is a Car Paint Job?

New coating of a black car with red lamps behind for drying.

Sometimes, you want to repaint your car to increase the resale value. Other times, you want a change of pace or some self-care by getting a new look for your wheels without paying for a whole new car. Regardless of why you want to paint your car, you’re probably thinking of how much you’ll have to budget for the change. After all, a pretty paint job on your car could cost a pretty penny.

Although there are many factors that determine how much a car paint job costs, you can get a rough estimate based on what you know. While a paint job for your car could rack up to $20,000 in total costs, it’s likely to be far less. Unless you’re choosing very expensive paints and finishes in a high-end detailing shop, you’ll probably pay between $300-$4,500. But we’ll delve further into how much a paint job costs and related topics in the article below.

Related: 9 Different Types of Paint for Cars

How much does a car paint job cost?

Infrared lamps for drying of a red car body parts after applying save gloss coating.

As shares, there are several different aspects of determining the cost of your car paint job: “Size: The size and type of vehicle you drive will greatly impact the cost to paint it. Painting the body of a large SUV will cost more than painting that of a smaller coupe.

Paint color: Not all paint is created equal; the color and quality of the paint will range in cost. Painting your car a basic color such as white or black will be cheaper than a less common color.

Paint type: The price range for one coat of synthetic enamel paint is anywhere from $300 to $700 for an average-sized sedan, according to J.D. Power. High-quality paint, on the other hand, may cost several thousand dollars.

Paint finish: Paint finish refers to the amount of shine that the paint has. Depending on your style, prices vary for matte, gloss or semi-gloss finishes. Paint finish costs may also include adding a coat of wax or sealing your car’s paint job. The cost of a regular wax is about $100 to $200. A specialized ceramic coating will be more expensive.

Caliber of body shop: Through research you may come across very inexpensive paint jobs, but beware: Price and quality of work go hand in hand when it comes to getting your car painted. If you opt for a bargain body shop, the work quality is not likely to include the same level of care and attention.”

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Can you paint your car yourself?

The short answer is yes, you can paint your car yourself. It is complicated but technically doable. Of course, if you plan to do your paint job yourself, you can save a decent amount of money. If you have zero experience painting cars, though, you’ll pay with your time researching and completing the job. Also, if you botch the job, you might end up paying even more for the professionals to redo your work.

As shares, “There’s nothing “beginner” about painting your own car…painting your own car is no cakewalk. If you’re going to properly paint the car, you don’t just slap some color on the body and call it a day. In fact, you don’t even put a drop of paint on until you’ve disassembled the vehicle.

Now, you could repaint the outside of the car by simply covering up the headlights, taillights, and windows. Then, you’d proceed as normal. But that’ll leave the inside of the car, such as underneath the hood or in the door frames the original color. If you’re going from one color to another, or the shades don’t match, not disassembling the car will mean you have two different paint colors. Not only does it look funny, but that can tank a car’s resale value.”

If you want to take on a small part of the car as a paint job, such as the rims, you can do that with little training or experience. Painting the whole car, however, is a huge task. There’s a reason why people have to go to a trade school or training program to do it.

It’s like learning how to paint in art class. Everyone can smear paint on a canvas, but not everyone can paint a realistic portrait. And even then, it’s rare that a novice will do an outstanding job without serious instruction. Flubbing up a canvas in art class is one thing. Messing up your car so that it becomes a reminder of your inability to paint cars is another.

Painting your own car is not impossible if you are determined to do it right. Still, it could be a full-time job learning how to do it properly. In the end, if you run into issues while trying to paint your car, you’ll have to consult the experts anyway. You might as well save yourself time, money, and embarrassment by leaving it to the professionals.

If you can’t afford to pay for labor and the materials, consider seeing if your local technical school offers discounted services for training car detailers to practice painting. If nothing else, grab some car mechanic friends who know how to paint cars before going to town spray painting on your vehicle.

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Is it cheaper to paint or wrap a car?

To save money or achieve a patterned look, you might consider wrapping instead of painting. If you have a company and want to be a walking (or rather, driving) advertisement, wraps can be an effective portable marketing tool. Painting your car a solid color can be nice. But for those with bigger ambitions or smaller budgets, wrapping the car might be a better choice.

Of course, getting a high-quality car wrap will come at a cost. Still, the pros might outweigh the cons. If you have a larger budget, the wrap might get you the most bang for your buck.

According to, “Generally, paint jobs range between $3,000 and $10,000. In contrast, you can find a high-quality car wrap for somewhere 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.”

How long does a paint job on a car last?

When you’re investing all this time and money into a paint job, you probably want to know how long it’ll be before you have to fork over this kind of cash again. The good news is, a quality paint job should last up to 15 years. Usually, paint jobs on modern cars will last between a decade and a decade and a half. After that, you’ll need to repaint to maintain the value of the car. There might be some scuffs or scratches along the way. Still, those will be way cheaper to repair than fully repainting the car.