How Much Does a Car Paint Job Cost?

Car Paint Job

A paint job is a necessity when your car starts to age and shows signs of wear.

The reasons for a paint job vary, but the main cause is fading. When you use your car, harsh climatic conditions cause the paint to fade and become dull. This can make your car look very old. You may also be forced to repaint your car after a serious accident.

The cost of a complete car paint job depends on the type of paint and the size of the car. Most small car owners spend between $500 and $1000, so the average paint job costs $750. Higher quality paints cost between $1,000 and $3,500, while premium paints are expected to cost $2,400 to $7,500.

The paint job depends on the damage caused to the car; expect to spend an average of $200 on the bumper and minor scratches to the car body.

Materials used

The materials used depend on your budget. If you have only a small amount of money, you can have a simple paint job done with single-step enamel paint. This type of enamel paint does not last long; you should expect it to last for a year. A two-step enamel paint is urethane paint, and it comes with a three-year warranty.

A urethane sealant could also be applied on top of the two-step paint, and this should last for about 5 years. The most expensive type of painting starts with a scratch repair with primer. All surface areas are treated by block sanding and finally, a urethane sealant is applied.

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How long does it take to paint a car?

Car Paint

Since you cannot force the paint to dry, expect it to take one day to paint the car and an additional day to dry. The first part is applying the primer, and this should take 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the car and the primer used. In the beginning, the painter will apply a lighter primer for lighter colors and a darker primer for darker colors.

After applying the primer, the trim is removed. You should ensure that you have covered the reflectors, windows, door handles and wipers with tape or a removable material. After applying the primer, you can sand the car with 300- or 400-grit sandpaper.

You can use a paint roller to apply paint to the car. In some cases, acetone and Rustoleum are mixed to achieve a similar thickness with water. Painters often sand the car after each application of paint. With your type of car, you may have to sand several times. Before applying another coat of paint, wait 30 to 90 minutes for it to dry. This means that the paint job will take a day or two.

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Tips for a car paint job

If you have never done a paint job before, it would be advisable to remove the car parts that you do not want to have painted. These may include lamps and windows. If it proves difficult to remove the parts, tape will do the job. You should choose tape that is easy to remove and does not damage the car.

Surface preparation is crucial as it affects the final result of the car. You should start with sandpaper of 80 to 300 grit. The sandpaper is important to remove dirt and ensure a smooth surface. It has been found that those who spend a lot of time sanding achieve perfect finishes.


You may be in a hurry to paint your car in the shortest possible time, but that only makes the paint job look rushed. If you want a good paint job, coat your car with several layers of light color. This means that you should paint your car from a distance of 10 to 12 inches. Take your time and practice with even strokes.

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When you spray, do it from front to back instead of top to bottom. If you missed a spot instead of going back to the surface, wait for the next spray layer.

Wait about 15 to 20 minutes after each coat of paint before applying again. This will give your paint enough time to dry.

When applying the primer, wait 24 hours before applying the base coat or paint. In addition, after applying the primer, you should wet-sand the vehicle with 1,000 to 2,000-grain sandpaper.


If your car has experienced a collision, the painter will start to straighten out the dents. Straightening ensures that you get a smooth surface when painting. Newer cars do not need to be straightened.

Putty is often applied to uneven surfaces after sanding. The putty dries quickly and you have to sand again to further smooth the surfaces.

To ensure that your car looks brand new after painting, the painter will polish the car. This will make it look shiny.

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Over time, your car starts to look dull due to overuse. The paint may begin to peel off and the shiny appearance it once had after purchase will diminish. The cost of a car paint job depends on the quality of paint you use. Most car owners will spend an average of $500, but high-end paints can cost up to $3,000.

Before you paint your car, you must first prepare it. This includes removing dents that may have been caused by the collision. The next step is to sand down the car and apply the paint. Painting is a slow process and you should do it from left to right instead of top to bottom.

If you apply several coats of paint, wait until the first coat has dried before applying another coat. A final polish is applied to give the car a shiny appearance. The painting exercise is intensive and should last two days.

Written by:

Magnus is the owner and main author of MechanicBase. He has been working as a mechanic for over 10 years, and the majority of them specialized in advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting. Certified Automotive Diagnostic Technician.