How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car A Different Color? (2023 Estimates)

Last Updated On September 22, 2023

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

You’ve come to the right place!

In this guide, you’ll learn

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

And much more!

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

The cost of changing to a different color paint is as simple or complex as you want to make it, and taking it to a professional for the job is definitely optional.

Of course, if the insurance is paying for it, then it's probably best to maintain your car's value by taking it to a professional. 

In the event that you are a confident and empowered person, you will want to paint your vehicle yourself, and that is perfectly okay also.

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

Doing it yourself will save you a ton of money, but it won't save you time.

We commend anyone who is free-minded enough to put a personalized paint job on their vehicle, and when you do go to paint, here's some supplies you'll need:

Spray gun/spray cans

You can find a decent spray gun for ~$50-$100, and $200+ for higher quality guns. 

You'll need something like 8-10 spray cans to get one or two coats on a car, and something like 6-8 quarts of paint for the average-sized vehicle. 

Masking materials

A paint masker will save you tons of time when prepping the paint job, and you'll want to pair it with quality tape, 24-inch/48-inch masking film, and paper so that you can cover up anything and everything that you don't want overspray to land on.


The extent of your sanding depends on how bad the old paint job is.

In theory, you could rough up the old paint job with some 120-grit sandpaper, apply a sealer/primer that allows the next coat to bond, and just paint one coat of paint directly over the top without having to take the old paint completely off--that's the definition of a cheap paint job.

You could even use a round wire brush or spinning paint remover that hooks into any power drill to remove the paint completely if necessary.

Body filler

A body filler helps to fill in small dents and imperfections in the paint job.

This is what helps make a basic paint job look complete when you are painting the car yourself. Get out there and start filling those holes in your old Chevy!

Drop cloths

You probably don't want to get paint all over the floor. This is where drop cloths come in to save the day every time. Don't skimp on these, you'll thank me later when you don't have to scrub the paint off your garage floor.

Step ladder

Chances are, you won't be able to reach parts on your car without the use of a step ladder. 

Read More >> What Are The Best Step Ladders To Use For Painting?

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

Hiring a professional company is a good move for improving the value of your vehicle. 

After you get multiple bids from different painters(if you have that option--some insurance companies demand that you use a certain company), use your best judgment as to which company is the best price for the best quality. 

Cheap options

It's not necessary to spend a bunch of money painting your used car. Instead, you could hire a chain company like Maaco to do a one-coat job that covers up the ugly spots and keeps your vehicle chugging in style for another pass more on the highway.

We bet you can get away with a cheap paint job for under $500 if you play your cards right.

Body Shop/High-End budget

And if not, of course, there are companies that will be happy to get the job done precisely with a premium price accompanied with a premium quality. 

A good paint job will be covered all the way to the door jams when it comes to bodywork.

Artistic Options

Aside from those hippie vans you always see driving down the right lane that are painted with the 'peace' sign, don't forget that you could even paint your vehicle a two-tone style or something that goes slightly out of the norm. 

If you take your time and do your research, you could still create a quality paint job that is unique potentially attractive to future buyers.

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 To Estimate The Cost To Paint A Car A Different Color?

DIY Cost Estimate

Doing it yourself for a new paint job isn't a bad idea, especially if you use a high-quality paint. Sure, it's common to see rattle-canned vehicles driving on the road while the good DIY paint jobs go unnoticed! 

You can find the original color code for your vehicle somewhere inside the driver's side door panel. Want a different color?

We encourage you to paint your vehicle however you want it? 

Why have limitsIt's nice to give your auto body a new look sometimes.

Most importantly, what you need to figure out first is which paint you want to use, and how many coats you'll need to get the job done; every paint job is different. 

For example, if you are painting over red, you'll have to apply more sealer so that it doesn't bleed through to the new color coat.

To make a scenario, repainting an SUV a gloss black color for an easy color change will require:

3 quarts of base coat(primer) + 3 quarts of color coat + 3 quarts of clear coat might cover your SUV with two coats on each phase, giving the vehicle a slick and thoroughly painted finish from the hood to the fenders. In which case, you're looking at about:

$3.50-$12+ Cost To Paint Per Square Foot.

DIY Cost Per Square Foot

Cost per square foot is going to require you to measure your vehicle. 

Cars can be anywhere from 70-200 square feet depending on which model.

Say we're painting a 60 square foot compact car - it takes about 2 quarts to cover a small car with paint.

If we purchase 2 quarts of primer, and 2 quarts of the finish coat, and 2 quarts of clearcoat 

~$20 per quart X 6 quarts = $120 on paint

We'll say we spent another $50 on masking materials and other supplies needed to get the job done. 

(Do You Have A Spray Gun? You might want one!)

We'll even purchase a decent automotive spray gun like this Neiko for ~$40. 

That would put our total cost at $210 for the DIY paint job.

$210 / 60 square feet = $3.50 per square foot.

Check out this Dupli-Color paint that you can easily purchase in a 2 pack off Amazon.

Pro Cost Per Square Foot

Let's say you went with a reasonable $700 bid for painting the same 60 square foot vehicle.

$700 / 60 square feet = ~$12 per square foot. 

Read More >> What Are The Best Automotive Paint Sprayers For Beginners?

Estimated Cost of Paint For Painting A Car A Different Color?

Different Types of Paint For Car Painting 

What paint are you going to use in your vehicle? There are many different types of paint you could go with. Here are some examples:

Acrylic Lacquer

Acrylic lacquer is a decent paint that dries hard as a rock to protect the paint job from rock chips.

Rustoleum makes an affordable acrylic lacquer that would be a great DIY option for a high-quality finish on your ride.


Urethane paint has abrasion resistance and flexible properties that make it ideal for applying onto the body panels of a car.

Urethane is said to be the highest tier for paint quality, so you can bet it's going to look good when sprayed onto any car that is prepped correctly.


Waterborne enamels are another classic choice for car painting, and you'll be 

Enamel dries to a hard, glossy finish that will turn old rusty automobiles back into their classic look that you would expect to see in the showroom. 

Clearcoat finishes

Pretty much all professional auto paint jobs involve applying a clearcoat finish in phases of 1+ coats after the basecoat has dried. This further protects your paint from small scratches and dirt.


There are some people who like to plastidip on their panels because it provides a relatively cheap and easy way to change the car a different color.

One great thing about Plastidip is that it is easily removable, so if you don't like your DIY job you can peel it off after and be left with what you started with.

Truck bed coating

Offroaders are keen for spraying truck bed coating onto their paneling because it gives the exterior a rugged and super-durable surface, and it also gives SUVs a meaner look.

Want to put truck bed coating on your car? We say go for it.

Paint Costs:

In general, automotive paints will cost you anywhere from $5 for a cheap aerosol spray can to $50 for a quart of high-end paint that is designed to last years and years.

Paint color also plays a part in how expensive the paint is, for example, some colors are more popular and run out of stock faster while other colors use more expensive ingredients.

Paint Style Options

Cars are typically painted with two different sheens: gloss and matte


The majority of all cars on the road are painted with a glossy paint job that glimmers in the sun and has transparent qualities when the clearcoat is applied on top.


Matte is a flatter color that is typically saved for those special high-end vehicle models because of its attractive flat and bold style. 

You'll notice a matte-colored vehicle immediately after reading this if you live anywhere close to cars; look closely!

Read More >> How Do Airless Paint Sprayers Work?

Estimated Cost Of Labor For Painting A Car A Different Color?

DIY Labor Cost

When estimating DIY labor costs, you must also consider the time it will take you to complete the job.

What's your hourly wage? Is it worth it to hire yourself for the job? Or will you save more time and money in the long run if you hire a professional? 

Paint Shop Labor Cost

The very cheapest price for a repaint from a company like Maaco or another cheap paint job will cost ~$300+.

More expensive painters will care more about the quality of the paint, and they'll do a better job prepping and finishing up. That's why they'll charge anywhere from $600-$2000+ on a quality paint for your vehicle.

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

How To Save Money When Painting A Car?

Paint One Coat

Painting one coat will save you time, but you will also be sacrificing quality on the paint job--and you'll most likely have to use a sealer beforehand.

Companies like Maaco have a one-coat formula that makes for a cheap and fast paint job. 

Use The Internet To Your Advantage

Search anything and everything paint to make your job move smoother. Everything from using cost helpers to purchasing the products that are shipped to your doorstep within a couple of days - now that's a good way to save time and money. 

Online Reviews are a great way to know if a company knows what they're doing. Just go look at what people say about them.

Prep Work Efficiently

Prep work always takes the longest when painting. The faster you can get your car sanded, masked, and ready for paint with no rust spots will save you time - and time is money.

Find Old Paint

You don't always have to use brand new paint. Are you really trying to save some money? Then go check out some classified ads, and look for people who are trying to get rid of their old paint. 

Hire A Handyman

So you don't want to paint the job yourself, and you also don't want to hire a professional that is going to cost you. There's one alternative! Hire a friend, neighbor, or someone who needs a few bucks but also knows what they're doing.

Get Multiple Bids

The free market works how it does, and that's why you should shop around when looking to change the color of your car.

Remember, painting materials are always cheaper than labor. And don't forget to ask all of your paint questions on Pro Paint Corner!

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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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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