How Much Does it Cost to Paint a Car?

How much to paint your car

If your considering having your car repainted the odd\’s are your wondering what it will cost to have your vehicle sprayed. With so many shop\’s all charging you such different prices it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to take your car. Your freind rick tells you it will cost you at least $5000 while dave say\’s ricks out to lunch it should only be $800. So who\’s right, well I guess they both are. The fact of the matter is that the quality scale is so different in what you can get in a complete respray. You can classify the shops into about 3 different levels which I will go over in a minute. Please note that these prices are estimated for your average mid sized car, add on another 20%-30% for trucks and larger vehicles. This is also assuming you have a few odd nicks and scratches, if you require addition repairs count on at least $50 per inch of damage (Damage with depth or rust will cost much more).

One more thing worth mentioning is that the prices below do not include repainting the interior jambs such as underhood, inside the doors, trunk..etc. You can count on another $1000-$3500 if it is required.

Very High Quality Body Shops

This would be the shop giving you an estimate anywhere from $6,000-$8,000 for a complete respray. It may sound like a lot, but they will put in the time to deliver a flawless paint job. They will not want to spray over damage such as dent\’s as they likely take great pride in the kind of quality their shop puts out the door. The kind of finish you would expect would be quite similar to OEM factory paint. They will likely follow the paint manufacturers recommendations 100% using epoxies, activating base coat and taking the time after the paint job to remove each dirt spec or minor flaw that may find it\’s way into the paint.

These shops tend to use high end paint & offer a lifetime warranty on the paint job against fading, chalking, peeling, chipping and other common paint problems. They will also remove all necessary parts such as door handles, bumpers, mirrors..etc. This allows for thorough sanding and proper paint access. At any rate these kinds of shops invest a great deal of time and effort delivering your a perfect paint job.


Moderate Quality Body Shops

These shops typically will be charging  between $3000-$6000 for a complete paint job. They typically deliver good results that the average guy or gal is happy with. They may use a lower end paint job but not the bottom of the barrel stuff. They may or may not issue a warranty with the paint job but usually follow the procedure to some extent. They may not be as inclined to use activators in there basecoat because of the added cost and it makes the base no longer re-useable. They may also skip epoxies and use an inferior urethane primer over metal, the may also use it in place of the sealer or non at all. This will affect the quality of the job giving you a less durable finish.

Moderate quality shops will sometimes wet sand and polish the job completely but more often just focus on the more obvious flaws or skip polishing all together. They will remove most trim but may elect to leave certain moldings on if they prove too challenging or require replacing once removed (some moldings stretch when you take them off and can not be re-used). These shops are a happy medium but if your a bit on the particular side you\’ll likely find something you don\’t like about the paint job.


Lower End Body Shops

The first thing that comes to most peoples minds would be Maaco. While they have made a poor name for themselves there is still a few around that deliver great work. Since they are all individual owned (usually by investors rather then tradesmen) the quality can vary a lot. But Maaco’s for the most part belong in this bracket along with the other shops providing quotes under $3000. So where does the quality break down?

Materials are usually the cheapest of the cheap. From the pigments in the paint to the protection of the clearcoat, your paint job will be inferior. They will often try to use single stage paints, think of it as a 2 in 1 shampoo-conditioner, you just cant beat doing it 1 step at a time. Some Maaco’s even charge extra for a second coat of clear or the use of a sealer. These are steps that are mandatory, the paint manufacturers don\’t suggest a second coat but demand it for holdout. Any shop willing to send a car out the door like this is not looking out for there reputation.

Ok materials are covered but more importantly come the prep work. More often then no more trim is removed then they can get away with. All handles, mirrors, bumpers, moldings stay on while painting and prepping. What happens is you can not get in to sand the groves thoroughly and the paint usually peels from that spot over time. But that\’s alright they must give a warranty right???? wrong, that\’s it with these shops, poor quality and a tail light warranty (once your tail lights are out of sight your warranty expires).

One other signature of the low end shops is overspray. They will likely get overspray all over your black moldings, your glass, emblems,…you name it! They will make little effort to remove it and may not even clean there mess out of your cars interior. You can pretty well forget about polishing, no dirt specs are likely to be removed. Sometimes they will even get a run in the job and just send it out that way too. You are often left with a finish that does not hold up well against the sun or the road. It is meant to look half descent going out the door but will quickly stone chip, peel or fade.


Now there are always exceptions to these rules. You can absolutely find somebody willing to give you a first rate paint job for under $3000, but they are very, very rare. With that said you will also find somebody charging you $8,000 and giving you a $100 paint job. These rules are not really rules, just some guidelines on how the shops usually price there work. Always do your homework, ask around, have a look at the work the shop your considering puts out. The best word in this trade is usually word of mouth.

How Much Does it Cost to Paint a Car?

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