How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car A Different Color?

Do you love the performance of your car but you no longer like its color?  It can be confusing when you love your car but hate its color as you have to make a compromise. Some people opt to sell the car and buy another one in their preferred color. While this method will solve the problem, it is not convenient as you will have to look for a buyer and then look for a car in your favorite color, which can take time. Instead of going through that hassle, you can easily solve the problem by choosing to paint the car in your favorite color.

Changing the color of your car enables you to keep your beloved vehicle while fixing what you do not like. However, painting a car a different color is not cheap. You must first answer how much does it cost to paint a car to determine whether it is economical. This article will help you know how much it cost to paint a car a different color and whether it is reasonable.

How Much Does It Cost To Paint a Car?

The cost of painting your car depends on several factors, including the supplies, the area that needs repainting and the person carrying out the work. Doing it yourself is the cheapest way to repaint your car as you will only need to buy the necessary supplies. If you are hiring a professional to carry out the job, you should use a car paint job cost estimator to have a better understanding of the cost structure.

The professional painters add several coats of primer, your preferred paint color and a top coat to ensure, quality, shiny finish. Although you will save money by doing it yourself, you will need time and energy to complete the task. You will need specialized tools that can be expensive to buy for a one-off job.

Furthermore, before you can start the process of changing the color, you will need to carry out a thorough car steam cleaning to get rid of tough stains and dirt.  Painting over dirt and stains will make the outcome less appealing. You will further need a well-ventilated area where dirt and dust will not fly onto the wet surface and ruin the new paint while it is drying.

You will also need to invest in sandpaper to remove any rust or grime and masking tape to outline the painting area accurately. The masking tape will further help you cover the areas you do not want to paint. Your painting supplies should also include a spray gun, glossy car paint and primer.

Unless you are an expert or fixing minor scratches, it is better to leave the job to professionals. Nevertheless, if you are going to paint a car yourself, you should expect to use anything from $100 to $1,500 on the supplies depending on the size of the project.

How Much Should You Pay To Hire a Professional To Paint Your Car?

Hiring a professional to paint your car does not have to be expensive. Most professionals are flexible, allowing you to choose the level of painting work that you need. Furthermore, professionals can paint a small section of your car that needs repainting, reducing the cost of painting.

A scratch on your door does not require you to repaint the whole car. A professional painter can carefully paint the door to match the other parts of your car. The repaint will be barely noticeable, giving your car a homogenous appearance.

However, how much does it cost to paint a car differently depending on the underlying bodywork? It will be more expensive to change the color of a car with a body that needs straightening as opposed to a car in perfect body condition. Most pros offer painting jobs at three different levels.

1. Basic Painting Job

A basic painting job is the cheapest, usually costing less than $1,000. Most experts will recommend a basic painting for minor scratches and small patches. Most people go for basic painting as it gets the job done at an affordable cost. The process involves a few coats of synthetic enamel paint, but the painter does not give much attention to detail.

2. Standard Painting Job

A standard painting is ideal if you are looking for a perfect appearance. A standard quality painting is what you see in most cars. The process involves sanding down the car body to remove impurities and ensure a smooth surface for a pretty finish. It takes longer and has a better outcome than a basic painting job. You should expect to pay anything between $1,000 and $3,000 for a standard painting job.

3. Showroom Quality Painting Job

Showroom quality painting is the highest level of painting job. It is preferred for luxury and high-end cars as well as vintage cars. A vehicle with showroom-quality paint will be easily noticeable on the road and parking. This quality work is ideal when you are looking to show off your car. It will last longer and look better than a basic paint job. A showroom-quality painting job will cost anything from $2,500 to over $5,000.

Different Types Of Car Paint

  • Primer: A primer is an undercoat finish that usually comes in shades of grey and black. The primer acts as a binding layer that gets the vehicle surface ready for painting.
  • Basecoat: The base coat is put on top of the primer. It is the actual color of the car.
  • Clearcoat: This coat goes on top of the base layer. It does not have any color pigment. The purpose of the clear coat is to protect and make the underneath layer shine. It has UV inhibitors, protecting the color from ultraviolet rays.
  • Acrylic Lacquer: Acrylic lacquer offers a glaring shine on a car. The paint is common on antique cars and showroom vehicles.

How To Get The Best Deal On a Paint Job?

It would be expensive to go for a service that you do not need. For example, if your car does not have dents and rust, it would be unnecessary to choose a painting job that offers smoothening as part of the painting. Instead of focusing on the service offered, you can get a better deal if you pay attention to what you are getting.

If you have an older car that needs scratching, you most likely do not need sanding. Knowing what your car work entails will help you get a better deal. You should keep in mind that the auto shop will try to maximize their earnings by enticing you for a more expensive offer that you probably do not need.

Should You Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional To Paint Your Car?

If you are a good painter, the difference will be in cost and time. You will need to decide on what is more critical money or time? If you have time, you will most likely want to save money, making DIY more ideal. However, if you value quality and convenience, you should go for a professional painting job.

A quality painting job will not only make your vehicle attractive but will also offer a protective coat. Paint is usually made out of enamel or polyurethane, which protects the car from moisture and environmental damage. A well-done paint job offers your car three forms of protection.

Physical And Chemical Damage

Gravel and debris can cause significant wear on your car as you drive on rough roads. Your vehicle is also susceptible to road salt and other chemicals that act as a catalyst to tear and wear. Quality paint keeps your vehicle safe as the first line of defense.

Rust And Corrosion

The underlying part of your car is made of steel that is susceptible to rust and corrosion. Paint protects the steel from moisture and rain that acts as a catalyst for rust and corrosion. It is important to fix scratches as soon as possible as corrosion spreads quickly once it sets in.

Structural Integrity

The metal part of your car can weaken over time due to rust and other hazards. By keeping off hazards, the paint ensures the structural integrity and durability of your car.

Why Is It Expensive To Paint a Car?

Painting a car is not cheap when you consider a basic painting job can surpass $1,000, depending on the work needed for a perfect finish. It is not uncommon to get a car painting quote that is almost half the cost of the car for older vehicles. A car paint job cost estimator can help break down the amount you will pay to clearly understand the cost structure.

Several factors affect the cost of painting with materials contributing a big chunk of the cost. Your choice of paint will contribute significantly to how much you will pay to paint your car. On its own, the paint is relatively expensive and depending on the quantity and form of application; the cost can quickly add up.

A smaller car will need fewer cans of paint while spray-on paint is quick and easy to apply, reducing the cost of painting. Furthermore, the work needed before applying a new coat of paint will affect the cost.

A vehicle with significant physical damage will cost higher to repaint as the paint shop will have to fix dents, rust and scratches before painting. It is difficult to paint over physical damage, and the outcome will not be pleasing to the eye. In the case of rust and corrosion, painting over the problem will only make it worse.

On some occasions, the painter may have to remove the original paint before applying a new coat, increasing the cost of labor. The paint shop will also need to do significant preparation work before painting your car. The painter will need to cover over exposed surfaces like door jams, windows and tires before starting the work.

A mechanic may also have to remove some interior features like chairs and dashboards, depending on the nature of the project, adding to the cost. To understand how much does it cost to paint a car, you should ask the paint shop to break down the cost per item.

Things That Can Damage Your Car Paint

Most car owners will think of knocks and accidents as the cause of paint damage, but the list of extensive. You will need to know how to safely wash a car as it can make the paint spill, crack or fade, and create an unsightly seen. Some of the main causes of car paint damage include:

  1. Sun: Most people tend to leave their cars in open spaces as they head to offices, malls and parks, leaving the vehicle exposed to sun rays. The UV rays are as harmful to your car’s paint as they are harmful to your skin. Leaving your car exposed to sunlight for extended periods will damage your car’s paint by making it fade. It is always important to ensure that your car is not left exposed for long periods by keeping it in a garage, parking it in the shade, or covering it.
  2. Road debris: Driving along a rough road can be fun with a four-wheel drive, but you may end up damaging the body. Stones and road debris will kick up against the bodywork as you drive, causing chipped paint. It is always important to regularly check the body of your car for marks caused by road debris and get them repaired. Failure to spot and fix chipped paint can cause rust. Although road debris and stones are unavoidable, you can reduce damage by driving slowly on rough roads to minimize the impact.
  3. Tar: Driving on recently laid roads or those that have melted in hot weather can damage your car paint. You might flick up pieces of tar that can stick to your bodywork. If you are not careful, removing tar can take away the paint with it. Avoid manually removing tar and instead use a special tar treatment to loosen the tar and minimize the damage.
  4. Fuel spills: You need to be careful when filling up with fuel as drops of petrol or diesel can spill out on the paint, leaving a stain. Take advantage of the filling station’s paper towels to wipe away any drips. Furthermore, waxing can add a protective layer to your car’s paint, enabling you to wipe away fuel spills easily.
  5. Bird droppings: Bird poop may appear small to be harmful, but the seeds and berries in droppings can scratch and stain your vehicle. Moreover, the poop has uric acid and caustic ammonia that corrode the paint. Since you cannot stop bird droppings, you should clean your car as soon as you spot the droppings. Removing the poop with a soft, wet microfiber cloth will get the job done, but you should lift as opposed to scrapping to avoid scratching the paint.
  6. Tree sap: Parking your vehicle under a leafy tree can sound like a good idea to keep it away from direct sunlight. Unfortunately, trees produce sap that can be harmful to your paintwork. The sap can react with your car’s paint leaving a rough patch. Moreover, the sap can bake onto the car in warm weather, leaving a stain. Always clean or wipe tree sap from your car immediately you notice it as cleaning it is more difficult once it sticks. It is never a good idea to park your car under trees.
  7. Insects: Most people have a habit of taking their car for a quick drive after cleaning to dry it a little quicker. Unfortunately, most of those quick drives can be harmful to your car as insects tend to stick easily on the bonnet. You need to get rid of them as soon as possible as the acid in insect blood can eat away at car paint. Removing them with a soft sponge and a bit of elbow grease as soon as possible can minimize the damage.
  8. Rock salt: Rock salt is useful on slippery roads in winter, but it is not good for your car’s paint. The corrosive nature of rock salt will not only damage your car’s paintwork, but it can also rust the undercarriage. You need to clean it swiftly to minimize the damage. Applying a sealant or wax will minimize the effects by creating an additional layer of protection.
  9. Silly pranks: Daft tricks like spraying a car with eggs, shaving foam and silly string may look hilarious pranks, but they can leave a damaging effect on the paintwork. Eggs are acidic and can damage the paint if left for an extended period. Eggs can eat away the clear coat or leave a nasty stain that can damage the base coat. The foamy shaving cream and silly string can cause discoloration if left to stay longer. You can use a general car cleaner with a deep rinse to get rid of the foam residue.
  10. Ice: It is not safe to drive your car if it has snow or ice on top, but you must be careful when getting rid of it. Using a coarse brush or chisel it away with kitchen utensils can scratch your paintwork. If you find ice on top of your car, you can safely remove it by letting the engine run until it melts away or you can use an ice-scraper. Keeping your car in a sheltered area in cold weather can prevent snow from building up on your car.


Painting your car is highly important as it improves its appearance and durability. Quality paint is pleasing to the eye and forms an additional resilient coat on your car, protecting your car from the weather and physical hazards. Nevertheless, painting a car is not cheap. You will need to take care of your car to prevent the paint from spilling or fading.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is it cheaper to paint your car the same color?

Yes, it is cheaper to paint your car the same color. You will only need to buy the same paint color, which means that you will have fewer leftovers. Moreover, the work needed to paint one color is minimal as compared to multiple colors where the painter will need to keep masking different colors. Painting your car the same color takes less time as you do not have to keep cleaning your painting tools to use another color.

Is it bad to paint your car a different color?

If you love your car but hate the color, you do not have to stick with the old color. You can change it to suit your preferences. However, before changing the color of your car, you may need to look at the pros and cons. The cost of changing the color is a big factor as it can easily surpass 25 percent of the car value for older cars. For an older car, the engine should be in good condition before you can think about painting. Changing color can affect the resale value. A car in its original color will likely cost more than a customized car. Furthermore, you will need to consider the cost and process of changing the color of your car on documents as per the rules.

What is the hardest color to paint on a car?

Darker colors are difficult to paint. Black is probably the hardest to paint as the car will need to have a perfect underlying body as it easily shows imperfections.

Which car color fades the fastest?

Most people will tell you that red and black fade quickly, but that is not true. All colors fade at the same rate, but white is not easily noticeable as it does not have pigment.

What car color hides scratches best?

White tends to hide minor scratches and dents better than other colors. The bright appearance helps to minimize the appearance of scratches on a bright day.

CarsPlan Admin

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