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How Much Does it Cost to Paint a Car?

How Much Does it Cost to Paint a Car?

Every new car leaves the factory with a fresh layer of paint and a protective clear coat finish. However, as cars age and are exposed to the elements, the clear coat wears out, and the paint fades, cracks, or chips away. If not addressed, this can expose the car body’s metal elements, putting them at risk of rust and corrosion.

Giving your car a fresh coat of paint is about more than restoring or changing its appearance. It can also protect it from lasting damage. If your vehicle needs to be repainted, you may be wondering: how much does it cost to paint a car?

The cost to paint a car varies widely and depends on multiple factors, including your vehicle’s make, model, and size and the paint job’s quality. Learn about the costs of a typical paint job and why you should contact a professional body and paint shop to give your car a fresh coat.

What is the Average Cost to Paint a Car?

At Harry’s Auto Collision, particularly for our clients in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, the cost to paint a car ranges from $10,000 to $20,000 on average. This premium reflects our dedication to using superior quality paint and offering a lifetime warranty on the paint job, which is exclusive to the original owner/customer. While the general price range for a professional full vehicle painting service in the U.S. spans from $3,000 to $15,000, with most quality jobs averaging between $3,000 and $8,500, Harry’s Auto Collision sets itself apart by prioritizing exceptional quality and customer satisfaction in our specialized locations.

The cost of painting your vehicle varies based on your vehicle type and the specific painting services required. Knowing the factors that influence the cost of a paint job can guide you in setting your budget and choosing the right painting services from a body shop.

Vehicle Size

One of the most critical factors determining the cost to repaint your vehicle is the amount of paint the body shop needs to complete the job. The larger the model and the more body panels that require a fresh coat of auto paint, the more it will cost to repaint a car.

When comparing the cost of a full repainting service, you can expect to spend more on the service if your vehicle is larger than a typical sedan or small pickup truck. For example, if you drive an SUV, such as a Honda CR-V or a Porsche Cayenne, or a large pickup truck, such as a Ford F-250 or a Ram 2500, the cost to repaint your vehicle will be higher.

Painting Service Type

Not every vehicle that requires a fresh layer of paint needs a full repainting service. A well-maintained, carefully driven car may only need touch-ups to fix lightly damaged paint in specific areas.

A professional auto body shop can inspect your vehicle and suggest a suitable service. They can help you avoid overspending and ensure your car only receives new paint and finish to the parts that need it. Typical painting services and average costs include:

  • Touch-ups and spot painting. This service restores small scratches, chips, and other lightly damaged parts of your vehicle. It is recommended if your auto paint has a lot of wear and tear or after a small collision. The average cost of a spot painting service ranges from $50 to $1,000, depending on the number of areas to cover. At Harry’s Auto Collision, touch ups are complimentary for customers.
  • Panel painting. If the damage to your car’s paint is confined to one or two panels, an auto body shop may suggest repainting only those parts. For example, if your car was scratched but the damage is limited to the paint on the driver-side left door, then only that door may receive a fresh coat of paint.The average cost of a panel painting service varies, typically ranging between $400 and $1,200 for doors and hoods. Smaller panels and bumpers cost about $200 to $800 to repaint.
  • New clear coat layer. The clear coat is a protective layer that shields your paint from damage and exposure to the elements. Over time, it can fade, thin, and start peeling or flaking off. Applying a new layer of clear coat, also known as re-clear coating, can give your vehicle its original luster and shine without using new paint.A professional auto body shop may recommend re-clear coating instead of repainting if your car’s paint is still in good condition. The average cost of this service is $200 to $1,500.
  • Full repainting service. A body shop may recommend a full repainting service if your vehicle’s paint is in bad condition overall. This service treats the entire vehicle instead of specific parts, giving it new layers of paint and a clear coat. The service can sometimes include repair costs like rust treatment and removal. Basic respray jobs cost $1,000 to $5,000, but you should expect additional costs for higher-quality paint or special jobs, such as custom paint and graphics.

Paint Color

The production of automotive paint involves various materials, including binders, solvents, pigments, and additives, which vary based on the desired color. Specific pigments or paint formulations may cost more or less depending on their popularity, availability on the market, and application processes.

For example, basic auto paint colors, such as black or white, are less expensive to produce and apply than more colorful or complex ones, such as metal-flake or pearlescent paint. Keep the costs of different pigments in mind before scheduling a paint job, especially if you want to completely change your vehicle’s color.

Work Quality

The more skilled the technicians and the higher the quality of the paints and finishes used, the more the auto body shop will charge for their services. These shops typically have teams with highly accredited and certified personnel, such as I-CAR Gold and I-CAR Platinum recognitions.

While they may charge higher prices for their services, entrusting your vehicle to a premium auto body shop comes with many benefits. The most reputable shops can also achieve superior finishes, handle complex color-matching jobs or custom paint requests, and offer service guarantees to ensure your satisfaction.

Repair Costs

Auto paint requires a smooth, even surface so the paint can stick to the vehicle’s body correctly and protect the metal underneath. If your vehicle’s body panels are dented, bent, or damaged by rust and corrosion, a professional auto body shop cannot apply new paint and clear coat until after proper repairs have been completed.

Because this is a standard practice in the auto body shop industry, you can also expect the shop to provide you with a quote for all necessary repairs before the paint job. The average cost of body panel repairs depends on the type and extent of damage to your vehicle.

Paintless Dent Repair: A Potential Alternative

If your car only has minor dents, a properly equipped body shop may offer a Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) service to keep your vehicle’s original paint. Auto paint shops may offer PDR if your paint and clear coat are still in good condition. This service typically costs $50 to $500 on average, depending on the number and depth of the dents, making it less expensive than a repainting service.

Book Appointment for Paint Repair Analysis

While the average cost of painting services for your car may vary, you should always ensure a reputable shop handles the job. Contacting a highly reputable, properly certified auto body shop is the best way to ensure your car receives the care it needs. Your paint and clear coat will last longer, color-matching services will be of a higher quality, and you are less likely to require a new coat of paint for several years.

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