Here’s How Much It’ll Cost You To Paint Your Car [Explained]

Last Updated on February 1, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

It is very difficult to guess the exact cost of painting a car but on average, it might cost you between $300 and $20,000. You should keep in mind the cost of painting a car mostly depends on the quality of the painting as well as the type of vehicle.

A Table on the Costs of Painting a Car

Type of Paint Job (Level of Quality)Price Range
Basic Paint Job (Low Quality)Between $300 and $900
Standard Paint Job (Medium Quality)Between $1000 and $3,500
Showroom Paint Job (High Quality)Between $2,500 and over $20,000

In this article, we’ll cover the following:

  • [IMPORTANT] What each type of paint job offers you
  • How much it costs to paint your car in a new color
  • What affects the painting cost of your car
  • If repainting your car is worth it
  • If it’s cheaper to repaint your car or to wrap it

So, before you refresh or change your car’s look, stick with us till the end of the article. Each topic will give you the lowdown on car paint.

Happy reading!

What Does Each Type Of Paint Job Offer You?

It’s crucial to know what you get from a paint job. Here’s everything you should know:

1. Basic Paint Jobs (Low Quality)

Here’s what you get for paying $300 to $900 for painting your car:

1. The auto mechanic will use cheap enamel paint.

2. They’ll only use a small number of coats.

3. They won’t paint places like inside the hood or the door jambs.

4. Instead of taking off removable parts, the ‘expert’ masks them off. And that may spray the paint in unwanted areas and leave harsh masking edges.

2. Standard Paint Jobs (Medium Quality)

A standard paint job is better than a basic one, and here’s why:

1. The auto expert will use brand-name paint.

2. The cost will be specific to your car. Before they charge you, they’ll consider the condition, make, and model of your vehicle.

3. Also, they’ll look at the number of dents and scratches and the rust quantity.

4. Before the job, they’ll do proper sanding to remove those spots.

5. For the painting, they’ll apply 3 – 5 clear coat paints. That will protect the base color and give the car a clean final look.

6. If you want, they’ll paint the engine area and the interior too.

3. Showroom Paint Jobs (High Quality)

For $20,000+, here are the goodies in the basket:

1. The expert will use the highest-quality paint, specifically for your automotive. Some of these paints are expensive, going for hundreds of dollars per quart.

A quart is a unit of measuring liquids. It is equal to two pints, ¼ of a gallon, or 0.94 US liters (1.13 Britain liters).

2. Then, the auto expert will sand your vehicle down until there’s bare metal. Also, they’ll remove all the dents present.

3. In total, they will use up to 24 layers of paint. Of the 24, around 6 – 8 will be the clear coat.

4. Other high-end options included are artist detailing and metallic paint jobs.

5. The only caveat is that the process may take more than a month. But, you’ll be delighted with what you’ll see.

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

To paint your car with a new color, you’ll pay anything between $500 and $5000. But, like with other paint jobs, cheap is expensive. So, do a good paint job for over $1000 to avoid getting poor results.

And since $1000 isn’t something cheap, let’s see why car repainting is so expensive.

Why Is It So Expensive To Repaint A Car?

Car repainting is expensive is because of labor costs. But, unlike refreshing, repainting requires a different approach. And that can be anything from the type of paint to the material making the car.

For example, waterborne paints need auto experts to prep and set curing conditions. That is because they are more prone to under-curing and fisheye. After all, they’re sensitive to moisture.

And what about the materials making the cars? These days, cars come with carbon fiber and other types of finishes. These are unlike the traditional options of aluminum and steel. So, the auto expert will need to know how to work with your car’s finishing. And that requires training.

Since the experts pay for extra training, you’ll pay more for their labor.

What Will Affect The Painting Cost Of Your Car?

Now that I’ve mentioned labor costs, why don’t we look at other factors? So here are some of the things that will shift your paint job budget:

1. The size of your car

2. The color you want

3. The paint and quality preferences

Let’s go through those factors:

1. The Size Of Your Car

If your car is larger and has more body area, don’t fret when the auto expert asks for more. Your high price will cater to the extra quarts of paint and the extra labor.

But if your ride is smaller, they’ll cut you some slack.

2. The Color You Want

If you choose a color like white, grey, or black, it’ll be cheaper for you. That is because those are mainstream colors. And what does mainstream mean? Well, those paints are readily available and easy to handle. I mean, it’s more likely that your auto painter has already done a white repainting job.

But what are the chances that they’ve done a lagoon silver job before or a lantana purple? So if you present those specialty colors, be ready to meet a specialty budget.

3. The Paint and Quality Preferences

Paint preferences include:

1. Number of coats

2. Quality of job (if it includes bodywork or not)

3. And the type of paint

If you want a single coat, you’ll part with a mere $300, $1000 max. But, you may be disappointed with the results. So, always go for many coats, but ones you can afford.

If you want bodywork like rust and dent repairs, that’ll cost you extra. And any expert that doesn’t offer you bodywork won’t do a top-tier job.

What about the type of paint? If you wish to use brand-name paint, you’ll pay more. But, you can compromise and choose cheaper, average-quality products. And don’t sweat – your auto expert will give you the available options.

Is Repainting A Car Worth It?

Well, if you’re all about looks, you’ll want to refresh the paint. You’ll be excited to see your car full of life because of a medium-to-cheap paint job.

As you repaint, ensure your car is in good condition. If it isn’t, repainting it may cost more than its resale value.

And if you’re coming out of an accident, talk to your insurance company. Your cover could pay for the car’s bodywork so that you won’t pay much.

Is It Cheaper To Paint Or Wrap A Car?

The price of a car wrap is anything between $3,000 and $12,000. So if you compare that with the previous figures, it is cheaper to wrap your car than to paint it.

But for $12,000, you want something permanent, and wrapping won’t give you that.

And do you know what wrapping a car is? If not, today’s your lucky day:

A car wrap allows you to change how your ride looks in the short term. It’s like a temporary tattoo that you can undo whenever you like.

When wrapping your car, an auto expert will place decorative stickers (vinyl decals).

The stickers will give your vehicle a new look depending on the option you want.

And what are the options? Well, you could have a matte finish, a chrome metallic color, or even a simple, standard glossy color.


To boil it down, the quality of the paint job determines the cost you’ll incur. Of course, high-end jobs will take much, but you’ll enjoy your car’s new look. 

You may save on cheap jobs, but you’re more likely to come back to the auto expert all grumpy. Or worse, you’ll end up on social media complaining. And that’s something I don’t want to happen to you.

If you have a reasonable budget, you could try car wrapping. It works well, and it will give your car a rejuvenated look. And isn’t that what you want?

To close, here are some related topics that you should read about:

1. The Cheapest Colors And Paints For A Car

2. Main Places To Buy Car Paint

3. How Hard Is It To Paint A Car

4. Famous Paintings Of Cars (A Full List of the Best Three!)