Professionals generally use paint spray guns to evenly apply automotive paint. It is important that the colors are properly mixed and applied smoothly, and in layers; an auto paint job can include 12-24 coats of paint, or more. Fineshinedetailing.com.au car paint protection has as an anti-corrosive sealant for painted and metal surfaces.
Some shops offer a paint job for about $300-$900. In this price range, a shop typically uses an inexpensive synthetic enamel paint with a minimum number of coats; they might not paint areas like the door jams or inside the hood; and, in some cases, they may simply mask off rather than take off removable trim and parts (which can result in harsh masking edges or paint in unwanted areas). CostHelper readers report paying $400-$875 for a basic auto paint job at an average price of $566; about a third of these readers say they are unhappy with the results.
Expect to pay $1,000-$3,500 for a more thorough paint job using higher-quality, brand-name paint, with costs varying depending on the make, model and condition of the vehicle (the amount of rust and number of dents or scratches), and whether any interior or engine-area painting is included. In this price range, the process typically includes additional prep work (sanding, removing rust spots and dents) and ends with three to five applications of clear coat car paint to protect the base paint color and to create a smooth, glossy final look. CostHelper readers report paying $1,000-$1,800 for a mid-quality paint job, at an average cost of $1,316; most are happy with the results.
A showroom-quality custom or specialty auto paint job can cost $2,500-$20,000 or more, depending on the make, model and condition of the vehicle, the location, and what is included. This typically includes the highest quality automotive paint (some of which can cost hundreds of dollars a quart); sanding the vehicle down to bare metal, removing any dents, and applying 20-24 layers of paint, including six to eight applications of clear coat; and high-end options such as details by an air brush artist or a two-tone metallic paint job. The process can take up to a month or longer. CostHelper Readers report spending $2,400-$7,500 for high-quality auto painting, with an average cost of $4,975; all report they are satisfied with the final results.
What should be included:
Before painting, the surface of the vehicle should be cleaned, sanded and primed. Professional auto painting is typically done in a well-lit (and sometimes climate-controlled) paint booth, to minimize dust and debris that might mar the paint finish. Precision Restorations in Saint Louis, MO, provides a video demonstration of auto painting techniques in a paint booth inside an auto body repair shop.
Warranties can vary from six months to a year on low-cost paint jobs with basic paint, to five years or a lifetime warranty for custom paint jobs with high-end materials. The warranty terms will vary depending on the shop and the materials used; always ask what is covered.
Auto paint shops may periodically offer discounts of $50-$150 or more. For example, One Day Paint posts its monthly discounts online.
Some consumers save up to $200-$300 or more by doing the prep work themselves — sanding the vehicle, and removing or masking the parts that aren’t going to be painted. AutoMedia.com has a photo gallery illustrating the steps to prepare a vehicle for painting.
Do-it-yourself auto painting is possible, but it can be time-consuming and exacting work. Supplies can cost $100-$1,500, depending on the quality of paint ($100-$1,000) and the need to purchase tools like an automotive paint sprayer ($40-$600) or sander and sandpaper ($40-$250). Mopar Muscle Magazine explains how to paint a car.
Shopping for auto painting:
Auto painting is typically done by shops specializing in auto painting and body work. Many are small, local businesses, although there are regional chains like 1 Day Paint & Body Centers (in California, Nevada and New Mexico), and Maaco Collision Repair & Auto Paint is a national chain of locally-owned franchises (policies and procedures vary between franchise owners). Always check for any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau for a specific shop or franchise location.
Before selecting a shop, look at recently painted cars in its parking lot, to see the quality of work done; ask which level of work was done on each vehicle. DoItYourself.com lists tips for finding an auto paint shop or you may get in touch with us.