How Much Does Paint Correction Cost? (2023 Estimates)

Last Updated On September 22, 2023

Are you wondering how much it costs for paint correction?

You’ve come to the right place!

In this guide, you’ll learn:

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

And much more!

How Much Does Paint Correction Cost? (2020 Estimates)

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

How Much Does It Cost For Paint Correction?

What is paint correction? It's the mechanical surfacing of your vehicle's clear coat by a detailer to get rid of swirl marks and small scratches. 

Even new vehicles need the paint corrected from being exposed to extreme weather conditions when being shipped.

This usually involves an electric buffer and could even involve wet sanding with 400-grit sandpaper. 

The goal is to make the paint look new again, and it is usually achievable on most paint jobs with a few expectations like:

Paint cracking

If the paint is chipping off in large quantities, you may want to consider a full repaint.


Rust is something you typically want to grind off with a paint and rust stripper.

Other than that, if your paint just looks discolored and there are no issues with rust/cracking, a paint correction will be the perfect option for revamping. Your paint job to look in showroom condition.

Paint correction services vary, but you can plan on spending from low hundreds all the way up into the thousands.

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

Average Cost To Correct Paint If You Do It Yourself?

Paint correction can be done in three easy steps:

  • Car wash
  • Apply correction compound
  • Apply wax

Again, proper paint correction is a multi-step polishing process. Here are some things you'll need for a paint correction job:

Car Wash/supplies:

First, you'll need to wash the car because if you use an electric buffer on dirt/bird droppings, it can damage the paint job. 

Ideally, you'll want to use water that is connected to a water softener (salt pellets) for fewer water spots.

Hand wash: 

Cleaning the exterior of your car doesn't have to be complicated; all you need is a bucket of warm water, a sponge, and some car wash solution. 

You'll also want to dry the car off to avoid mixing water with the correction compound.


You can spend anywhere from $30-$200+ on an electric buffer that will eliminate the need for you to take your vehicle into a shop.

Buffing isn't so hard to do; all you need to do is apply a few drops of correction compound onto the buffer pad, place it flush onto the body panel you are looking to correct, and turn the buffer on. 

You'll be surprised at how well an electric buffer works to clean up your paint job by removing fading, paint defects, light scratches, etc.

Correction compound:

Correction compound costs anywhere from $20-100 for small and large containers.

We highly recommend Meguiar's correction compound because it has done wonders for us in the past.

Note: Did you know that you can easily restore headlights by using a correction compound and an electric buffer? Try it on fogged up headlights covers!


After you apply the correction compound, you'll want to apply wax to protect the paint from dirt and water.

You can even apply wax with a hand-use pad.

Polishing Pads:

You'll need the appropriate paint correction pad for your electric buffer and the appropriate pad for applying the wax afterward.

Ceramic Coating:

A liquid polymer or ceramic coating is a great idea to have done(or do yourself) after you have your vehicle detailed to perfection because it takes your paint job to the next level of protection.

Say goodbye to the need to detail your brand new car by paying the additional cost for a ceramic coating.

Adhesive Film

You might also want to consider applying an adhesive film to the front of your car because that's the area that takes the most damage.

Clay Bar

Having a clay bar kit really helps for removing blemishes like embedded grains of metal and tree sap from your paint job. This is a great tool to have around the garage when correcting paint jobs.

Average Cost To Correct Paint If You Hire a Professional Company?

Hiring a car dealership or body shop to perform a paint correction might going to cost you more than doing it yourself, but you'll also be surprised at the attention to detail that some shops have for giving your vehicle a good detail job. 

Professional paint correction costs anywhere from $200-$1000+ depending on the job.

For example, old cars that need much more labor hours will be bid at a different price--in fact, a professional detailer/body shop might apply a new coat of paint to correct the cosmetic look of the vehicle, and this can easily cost up into the thousands of $. 

Read More >> How Much Does A paint Job Cost On A Truck?

How To Estimate The Cost To Correct Paint?

First, you have to decide whether or not you are going to take your vehicle to a professional for your car care.

Do it yourself or hire a pro. Want our advice? If it's a fancy/expensive car and you don't have previous experience in auto detailing, we recommend that you take it to someone who knows what they're doing.

And then again, if it's a car that isn't worth much we, by all means, encourage you to perform paint correction yourself because car needs don't take rocket science, especially when it comes to auto detailing. You can do it!

$1.40-$5 Cost To Paint Per Square Foot?

We'll say the average car has 100 square feet of painting surface. You'll want to measure the panels on your vehicle to get a more precise measurement.

DIY Cost Per Sq Ft

Okay, let's say we purchased an electric buffer for $100 and a decent container of correction compound for $30 for a DIY paint correction. 

Add $5 for some microfiber towels to wipe the vehicle off, and another $5 for washing the car beforehand.

That would make our hypothetical total DIY cost add up to $140.

DIY cost = $140 / 100 square feet = $1.40 per square foot.

Professional Cost For Square Feet

We decided to be lazy and hire a company for a paint correction. 

We went for a decent quality company that has 5-star Google reviews, and the cost is $500.

Pro cost = $500 / 100 square feet = $5 per square foot.

Estimated Cost of Paint Correction?

DIY Cost

At the minimum, you could correct the paint on your vehicle with a cheap electric buffer (~$50), a bottle of correction compound (~$20), and a microfiber cloth (~$5)

So that would put you at a total cost of $75 for DIY paint correction. The higher price for that would be around $200 we'll say. 

Professional Cost

Pro cost would start at $200 and reach up into the thousands for complex detail jobs. 

And if it's something simple like a touch-up on your family SUV, then don't complicate things - a pro might charge you just $50-$100 for touching up small spots on your vehicle's paint.

Estimated Cost of Labor For Paint Correction?

DIY Cost

All you need to do the job yourself is an electric buffer, some buffer pads, a microfiber towel, and a correction compound. 

This price could vary anywhere from ~$50-$300 depending on the products you purchase. We recommend checking Amazon for products that have multiple 5-star ratings.

DIY Time

How much time do you want to spend on your paint correction? 

It could be anywhere from 2-8 hours.

Estimated Professional Cost

On the most basic level, hiring a car dealership for $200-$500 for a full detail that includes paint correction and usually involves steam cleaning the carpets and a full interior detail also.

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

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 Save Money When Correcting Paint?

Do It Yourself

You can save a bunch of money on your paint correction by doing it yourself, and you'll be surprised at how relatively easy it is to get the job done. 

Online Research

From getting the right professional bid to learning how to do the job yourself, doing online research will give you a step up in your quest for paint correction.

Hire A Handyman

You don't always have to hire a professional for all of your vehicle's services. In fact, automotive detail is one job where it's safe to hire an amateur in some cases because of its low-risk nature.

Purchase Products Online

Purchasing all the products you need for paint correction off Amazon will make the process that much easier. 

Just sit at your desk at home, and wait for the delivery truck driver to show up with everything you need for making your paint job look impeccable!

Ask us any other questions you might have concerning your paint correction on our Pro Paint Corner page.

How To Save Money When Painting A Car Door?

Paint It Yourself

Painting yourself is the best way to save money when painting a car door. 

Just make sure you have all the right tools, and anything you don't have will be another painting tool to have around for other paint jobs.

Besides, it's better than spending money at the paint shop right?

Find Old Paint

You don't always have to purchase new paint when painting your car.

The alternative would be to search for places like Facebook Marketplace, Craigs List, and other local classifieds sections to find local sellers who have paint leftover from other projects.

Get Multiple Estimates

Getting multiple bids for car paint jobs professionals is as easy as doing a quick Google search for body shops in the area, and asking them how much they would charge you to paint a car door.

Chain auto body businesses like Maaco might bid you for a lower price for an original paint replacement on your car door or even your entire car.

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

Watch Instructional Videos/Read Instructional Information

Youtube and other videos will help you to get your paint job dialed in, and they could even help you with advice when hiring a professional. 

You'll be surprised at how pro your paint job turned out after doing a bit of research beforehand.

You could also try a costhelper to help give you a good idea when it comes to pricing.

Questions? Why ask the body shop when you can ask an experienced source for free that will give you the right answer? We'll give you all the hints for getting a showroom-quality paint job.

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.

Got A Paint Question? Ask Your Pro Painter!

Learn More Expert Paint Tips

Painting shouldn’t be this hard. Check out some of these other helpful guides to help you nail the perfect paint job!

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Bumper?

Are you wondering how much it costs to paint a bumper?You’ve come to the right

Read More »
How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Ceiling? (2020 Estimates)

Are you wondering how much it costs to paint a ceiling? You’ve come to the right

Read More »
How Much Does It Cost To Remove Lead Paint? (2020 Estimates)

Are you wondering how much lead paint removal? You’ve come to the right place! In this

Read More »
How Much Does It Cost To Paint A 2000 Sq Ft House? (2020 Estimates)

Are you wondering how much it costs to paint A 2000 Sq Ft House? You’ve come

Read More »

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.

About Pro Paint Corner

You’ve got painting questions. We’ve got the best painting answers from a network of seasoned painting pros.

Recently Published Guides