How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car?

These days there is something you can do rectify this situation. A new paint job works wonders but when you start looking around for an auto paint shop you realise that the cost to paint a car can be prohibitively expensive depending on what needs to be done. Or it can be relatively cheap but remember that old adage – you get what you pay for. There is a big variation in the quality and level of workmanship out there and all these factors directly influence how much it will cost to paint a car.

Decisions That Influence The Cost Of Painting Your Car

The first order of the day is to decide what sort of quality and end result you are looking for in the finished product. Do you want a high-end paint job complete with customized airbrush artwork and two-tone metallic paint using top of the range paint? Or are you just looking for a good basic repaint using good quality, durable paint that will stand the test of time, at least for a few years. Your answer to this question will determine whether you look for a specialty high-end paint shop or one of the more middle of the road ones and whether it's going to cost you a small fortune or somewhere in the vicinity of $ 1000 to $ 5000.

Secondly, can you do any of the preparation work yourself? Before any car can be successfully repainted there is a fair amount of prep work involved and this is where a lot of the expense is incurred. If you have the time, the skills, the tools and the knowledge to do some of this work yourself you could save yourself quite a bit of money. If not, don't even attempt it because you may just create a mess that will cost you more money to have fixed.

What Contributes To The Cost To Paint A Car

Most of the costs involved in repainting a car can be narrowed down to two main components – the quality of the paint and the amount of prep work that needs to be done.

Paint Quality

Auto paint varies hugely in quality and cost so you really need to ask each repair shop what quality paint they use. At the top end of the scale are the expensive ones that usually have reduced chipping and peeling qualities, are very durable, don't fade as quickly and will withstand the elements for a good number of years. These types of paints can cost several hundred dollars a quart and usually come with a lifetime warranty.

More economical auto paints, such as those used by many of the middle range auto shops, still offer excellent value and quality for money. They're durable, have a reasonable life span on the vehicle, can withstand normal wear and tear and generally come with at least a few years guarantee.

At the bottom end are the cheap paints. These types of paints are rarely guaranteed to last, will chip and peel easily and fade relatively quickly. However, they're super cheap in comparison to better quality paints and may 'do' the job if you're just looking to smarten the car up for resale.

Preparation Work

This is the other big expense involved in the cost to paint a car. The old paint has to be sanded back from the entire area being painted, which in a total repaint job is the whole exterior of the car at least. Dents, bumps, rust and scratches have to be fixed before the new paint can be applied and this is labor intensive, time consuming work.

Things on the car like the windows, mirrors, lights, trim, door handles, bumpers, antennas, tires and spoilers also need to be removed or masked to avoid over spray damage. The more upmarket paint shops will often remove what can be removed to give a cleaner, more professional finish and only mask what they can't remove. Again, this is time-consuming work and so the costs mount up. Discount paint shops may cut costs here by simply masking everything rather than removing, resulting in a less professional look.

So the bottom line here is that if a good, clean, professional looking finish is what you're looking for, choose a quality painter.

General Price Ranges For Painting A Car

A bargain basement paint job can cost as little as a few hundred dollars – anywhere from $ 300 to $ 900. However, the paint will inevitably be generic, cheap synthetic enamel and there will only be a minimum number of coats applied. Some areas of the car, like under the hood and inside the doorjambs, may not be painted at all and protected areas will have likely just been masked rather than removed. Dents and damage to the paneling will probably simply be painted over rather than repaired first.

A better quality job will set you back somewhere between $ 1,000 to $ 2,500 depending on make and model of the vehicle, its condition and how much needs to be painted. The paint will be higher quality, usually brand named and there will be enough coats laid to create a quality finish, including several clear coats at the end to protect the colored paint and produce a glossy, smooth finish. More care and attention will be paid to protecting areas that aren't to be sprayed and to repairing panels prior to painting.

Right at the top end is the 'show-room quality' auto paint job, costing anywhere from $ 2,500 upwards depending on the model and make, vehicle condition and how much you want done. The vehicle will be prepped to within an inch of its life, including a complete sand back to bare metal. Every dent, scratch and bit of rust will be repaired if required and everything that is not to be painted that can be removed will be removed. Up to 18 to 20 layers of high quality professional brand name paint will be applied with another 6 to 8 clear coats applied over the top and you can expect the entire process to take a month or more to complete.

How to Correct Your Plastic Model Car Painting Mistakes

"Oh no, now I've done it." You have just applied to much paint and created huge sagging paint globs to your once perfect model. That perfect contest winning finish you were hoping for is now a disaster.

All is not lost however. You can fix just about any paint mistake that you have made on your contest model with just a bit of work. With a careful paint sanding technique, you can create a perfect finish.

Using four techniques; paint standing, re-spray, paint polish and wax, you can fix just about any mistake you make. I will show you how to use these techniques to fix your model and bring it back to contest level.

Paint standing is the first technique we will use to correct and over spray or orange peel situation you have created on your model. Orange peel is just extra paint that is applied to thickly and ends up making the surface of your model looked like the outside of an orange. The easiest technique I've found to correct this kind of situation is just to use sandpaper to grind off the extra paint. The hardest part of doing this is not to stand into the details sticking out of the surface of your model.

There are many different grades or grits of sandpaper. I basically classify sandpaper into two types, rough and fine. Rough sandpaper comes in grit numbers from 100 to 1000. The lower the number the more course it is. For heavy paint removal I typically use number 320 grit. Fine sandpaper runs from 2000 through 12000 grit. This fine grit is one secret to getting to a perfect finish.

Sandpaper comes with different kinds of backing. I prefer cloth backing over the cheaper paper backing because generally I use only a wet sanding technique. Wet sanding is where you use water to help lubricate the surface of the model and generally works better for my model paints.

Your first task is to let your paint mistake dry completely. Then start the uneven paint removal with a rough grit sanding being very careful not to sand into any plastic detail of your model. I will cut the sandpaper into very small pieces and hold them or glue them to wooden "tools" to get into small places. I will also use paint thinner to soften paint buildup around detailed areas keeping in mind that you do not want to ruin the plastic.

Once this is done, re-spray paint the damaged area.

Continue this process of sanding and re-spraying until you are satisfied with the finish. At this stage you are now ready to fine sand the paint.

Fine sanding is really the true secret to a perfect paint finish. I work the paint finish by sanding the paint using these grits in order.

2400

3200

4000

6000

8000

12000

The sandpaper I like to use is sandwiched between foam so that it conforms to the surface of the model more easily. Each step uses the wet sanding technique with water. Change your sanding strokes in different directions and try not to use a lot of pressure. At the end of this paint sanding sequence the surface of your model should be very even and smooth. This will bring us to the next step which is polishing the paint.

Paint polish is the next secret to that near perfect paint finish for your contest winning model. I prefer Novus plastic paint polish. I work the paint to a fine mirror finish by using No. 3, No.2, and then No.1 in sequence. This sets you up for the final step which is wax protection.

Wax protection is the final step in and creating your contest winning the model finish.
I use Meguiar's mirror glaze # 26 professional high tech yellow wax. You can find this at any automotive parts store. I apply it with a soft cloth and buff the paint to a showroom finish.

Well there you have it. It is a lot of work but it is well worth the effort. In the end you have fixed your pain problem and come out with a model that has a complete showroom and contest winning finish.