How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car? (2020 Estimates)

Are you wondering how much it costs to paint a car?

You’ve come to the right place!

In this ProPaintCorner.com guide, you’ll learn:

  • The typical cost of DIY painting a car
  • How to save money when painting a car
  • How much it usually costs to hire a professional vs to do it yourself for painting a car
  • The estimated cost of labor and supplies to paint a car

And much more!

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car? (2020 Estimates)

So, if you want to learn how much you should plan on spending to get your car painted, then keep reading for all our tips and insights below!

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car?

The price range for painting a car is anywhere from $300-$2000+ for the most basic of paint jobs, and if you want high-quality, you'll be paying well into the thousands, so keep that in mind when hiring paint services.

Average Cost To Paint A Car If You Do It Yourself?

Painting a car yourself will cost anywhere from $100-$1000 depending on the type of paint you use, and how many materials you need to purchase beforehand.

For example, if you don't have a paint sprayer, you're going to have to buy one. Check out our recommendations for the best paint sprayers on the market.

Can't remember what supplies you are going to need for DIYing your car's paint job? Here's a quick refresh:

Paint sprayer

HVLP paint sprayers work great for painting cars, and you can find them on sites like Amazon for cheaper than ever before.

Paint masker/masking tape/film

The paint masker is your best friend when painting because it helps cover up undesirable surfaces to help you start painting quicker.

Drop cloths

Drop cloths work well at covering up the floor and other cars that you might have parked next to the one you are painting. 

Remember, you don't want to spray paint close to something like your spouse's car that could get overspray on it.

Read More >> How Much Does It Cost To Paint Just A Car Hood?

Average Cost To Paint A Car If You Hire a Professional Company?

An experienced service advisor from North Carolina says the average cost for a fully auto paint job with minimal bodywork costs anywhere from $2-4k, and we can back up those numbers as being relevant. 

And sure, you could go and get the cheapest paint job on the market, but it's probably not going to last you for the years to come as a higher quality paint job will.

Each professional painter will likely bid you slightly(or drastically) different prices for the paint job you are looking to get, so that's why you should get multiple bids from painting contractors to make sure you aren't being ripped off.

Want To Just Skip All This Research And Hire A Decent Professional For Your Paint Job?

Click here to check out our pro painter search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) painters in your local area.

Process Takes About 30 Seconds

How To Estimate The Cost To Paint A Car?

When estimating the cost of painting or repainting your own car, there are a few factors that play into how much it's going to cost. Here are a few:

  • Type of car paint used/purchased
  • Bodywork necessary
  • Prep work necessary
  • Size of the vehicle(in square feet)

Now that you have some data to dig up about your paint project, scroll down for some more info on how to make the most out of painting your car.

$1.50-$20.00 Cost To Paint Per Square Foot?

DIY Cost Per Square Foot Cost

Your typical vehicle has anywhere from 50-150 square feet of the painting surface, but you'll have to whip out your tape measure to be sure.

On the most basic of levels, a single-stage polyurethane coat of paint will cost around $150 for a decent kit. 

Here's the price per square foot when painting a 100 square foot Jeep Wrangler with a cheaper polyurethane option:

$150 total cost / 100 square feet = $1.50 per square feet

Body Shop Cost Per Square Foot

Let's say your car comes back from the body shop, and it cost $2000. 

A Jeep Wrangler, for example, has typically around 100 square feet of surface area to cover.

$2000 total cost / 100 square feet = $20 per square feet

Read More >> How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car's Rims?

Estimated Cost of Paint For A Car?

We did some research to give you some good paint options. You can find the most accurate paint costs by searching for something like 'automotive enamel' on websites like Amazon. 

Remember, the typical automotive paint job is done in three coats:

~2 coats of primer/sealer + ~2 coats of base coat + ~2  coats of clear coat

Note: Every painter has their opinion for how many coats the job will take, and it also depends on what color you are painting over, for example, if you are painting a red vehicle white, it's going to take more primer and possibly, even more, paint to cover the job.

Types of Paint

Polyurethane/urethane

Shops like Maaco use it, and you should too if you want a quick, cheap, and solid solution for putting a coat of paint on a vehicle. 

Synthetic Enamel Paint

Enamel is an oil-based paint that has been used to paint cars since the 1930s.

You'll see a lot of classic paint jobs that have enamel paint, however, urethane paints are a more futuristic option.

Plasti dip

You could always apply plasti dip on 4x4 vehicles that protect the body panels with a rubber layer that can be peeled off in the future. Plasti dip is also a relatively inexpensive option.

  • Lacquer/Clear lacquer

Lacquers are good for automotive painting, especially for a clear coat.

  • Vinyl Wrap 

That's right, you don't have to apply a high-quality paint--you can apply a vinyl adhesive wrap quickly and easily that changes the color of your vehicle instantly without the hassle of dealing with spray paint.

Truck Bed Liner

Want to try a new look? Older vehicles and offroad vehicles look great with a heavy-duty truck bed liner sprayed onto the body panels. 

This is another great way to avoid having to detail the outside of your vehicle - instead, you can just spray it down with water and it will look good as new.

Note: The quality of the paint really does matter, so if you care about your ride, you'll get a professional paint job or at least use high-quality paint.

Read More >> How Much Does It Cost To Paint Just A Bumper?

Want To Just Skip All This Research And Hire A Decent Professional For Your Paint Job?

Click here to check out our pro painter search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) painters in your local area.

Process Takes About 30 Seconds

Estimated Cost of Labor For A Car?

Estimated DIY Cost Of Labor:

It typically takes car owners anywhere from 10-40 hours to paint the entire car themselves. 

Car paint jobs and car painting isn't cheap when doing it yourself, but it is a time-consuming task without any doubt. 

Estimated Pro Cost Of Labor

Quality paint jobs on repaints are going to cost you significantly more than doing it yourself, but hiring a professional might save you time in the long run. 

For example, professionals remove all the doors to paint the door jambs/jams, and they also have to remove or mask trim pieces which can sometimes be a lot of work. 

Some pros might even take off the hood of the car for it to be painted on both the outside and the inside. 

Like we stated earlier, the average cost is anywhere from $2-4k for hiring a pro for the job.

Why Hire a Pro?

  • More attention to detail

Professional autobody painters know sanding and body filling techniques that take years of experience. Your car will look like a show car once a good body shop gets ahold of it for some paintwork.

  • Saved time

Chances are a pro painter will really only take a few hours to paint your vehicle despite the number of labor hours charged for the job--the good part about this is that you saved a lot of time by not having to paint yourself.

  • Licensed and insured

Nobody wants to talk about legal situations, but it's something that you should always take into consideration.

  • High-quality paint job/showroom quality

If you hire a high-rated pro painter for a basic paint job, you can be sure to expect showroom quality on your respray.

Did you know: A typical car paint job costs anywhere from $1000 to $3500. But, in some cases the value of the car will increase more than that with a new paint job which is a great reason to DIY!

How Can You Save Money When Painting A Car?

Sell extra paint on the web/purchase old paint from a leftover project

Depending on the quality of your project, you are either want to buy double the paint to ensure you have enough OR purchase paint from someone else's leftover project to stay on a tight budget. 

Either way, trading with other people who are DIYing saves both parties money in the long run.

Read More >> How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car Door?

Use The Internet To Find The Best Option

The internet is your best friend when getting auto bodywork, touch-up paint, a new paint job, or basically anything else when auto painting. 

You can search for different companies, read cost helper guides, and more just by pulling out your cell phone for a quick search.

Go check out our painting supplies and tools page for some great recommendations on what to buy. 

Ceramic Coating/Clear Bra?

Putting a ceramic coating on directly after the paint job is a great way to save money in the long run because it protects the paint from scratching and fading.

Customers who purchase ceramic coating care the most about their vehicles, and you basically never have to detail a paint job that has ceramic coating placed over the top. 

Questions? Ask Our Page

Don't hesitate to ask us any questions you might have. We hope your car looks awesome!

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

Ryan Nichols

Ryan Nichols

I first painted professionally in my late teens. I have painted everything from long military base walls to spraying cedar wood siding on cabins in the mountains of Utah. I am also an automotive technician with plenty of auto body and paint experience. In my spare time, I even enjoy artistic oil painting.

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Got Paint Questions? Search For In-Depth Answers Below!

Ryan Nichols

Ryan Nichols

I first painted professionally in my late teens. I have painted everything from long military base walls to spraying cedar wood siding on cabins in the mountains of Utah. I am also an automotive technician with plenty of auto body and paint experience. In my spare time, I even enjoy artistic oil painting.

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