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Breaking Down the Average Car Paint Repair Cost

Breaking Down the Average Car Paint Repair Cost
Austin Kilham
Austin KilhamUpdated October 31, 2022
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
There are a number of reasons you might need to repaint your car. Minor accidents may have caused scratches, dents, and dings you want to cover up. A good paint job can also help prevent car parts from rusting. Or your car’s paint may have become dull over time and you want to spruce it up. Whatever the reason, the price of repainting your car will vary depending on several factors, from the size of the job to the paint color you choose. Here’s what you can expect to pay and ways to help fund car paint repair cost. 

Average Car Paint Repair Cost

How much does it cost to touch up car paint? In general, costs for repainting a car range from a few hundred dollars in paint touchup cost to about $10,000 for something much more involved and customized. For a basic paint job on a sedan that includes a single coat of synthetic enamel paint, you might pay about $300 to $700. A more comprehensive job with multiple coats of paint and wax will run you closer to $1,000. The more elaborate the paint job, the higher the car paint repair cost. Multi-color, custom paint jobs that include features like metal flake or candy coat paint are on the highest end of the cost spectrum. For most people who aren’t entering their vehicle in a car show, paint jobs like these won’t be necessary. You might consider painting your car at home. The process can be involved, however, and you’ll want to make sure that you have a well-ventilated area to work in with little dust and debris. Depending on what supplies you already have, costs for an at-home job can range from $100 to $1,500.

Things That Impact Car Paint Repair Costs

The cost of painting your car can vary significantly. Here’s a look at some of the factors that can have a big impact. 

Location

Where you live affects car paint repair cost. If you’re in a pricey urban area, you might pay more to have your car painted than if you live in a suburban area with a lot of auto body shops to choose from. 

Color of the Paint 

The least expensive paint colors are common shades like black, white, and gray. You’ll end up paying more for specialty colors, especially if they’re rare or from a premium auto manufacturer. It will also cost you more money to change the color of your car, since the painter will  need to do a lot more detailed work. 

Paint Quality

Paint quality has a big impact on price. The higher quality and longer lasting the paint, the more expensive it will be. A single coat of synthetic enamel paint can cost as little as $300 and up to about $1,000. Multiple coats of high-quality paint, on the other hand, can cost thousands of dollars

Size of the Vehicle

The size of a vehicle has a big impact on how much repainting will cost you. There’s more surface area to cover on an SUV compared to a compact car. That extra size requires more paint and more time. Similarly, vehicles with more complicated body shapes may also cost more. For example, a truck, which can be large and irregularly shaped, will likely cost more to paint than a sedan.  

Body Work

If your car has rusted out patches or dents, these may need to be fixed before it is repainted. Body work can add several thousand dollars to the price of a paint job, and can cost as much as $3,500.

Service Provider

The cost of a paint job will vary by service provider. Be sure to get quotes from several paint shops before you decide which one to use. 

Getting the Funds to Cover Car Paint Repair Costs

A new paint job can be pricey. But in many cases, it can be worth it since it can help extend the life of your vehicle and give its value a boost. If you don’t have the cash to pay for your new paint job out of pocket, here are some other options to consider. 

Car Insurance

If you’re repainting your car for cosmetic reasons or to spruce it up after normal wear and tear, your car insurance won’t cover it. However, if you’ve been in an accident and have a good collision policy, your insurance company may pay for the cost of new paint. And a comprehensive insurance policy may cover the cost of repairing a paint job damaged in a natural disaster. 

Personal Loans

Using a personal loan is something you may want to consider for car paint repair. A personal loan is typically an unsecured loan offered through a bank, credit union, or online lender. You get a lump sum amount, which you pay back in monthly installments with interest over time. Get to know the personal loan requirements before you apply. The interest rate you can get typically depends on your credit history and credit score. The higher your credit score, generally, the better the terms and interest rates you’ll be offered. Borrowers with poor credit scores may get higher interest rates. Personal loans for auto repairs can help you cover the cost of a car paint job. Borrowers can usually find loans for anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to $50,000, though it’s important not to borrow more than is actually needed to avoid unnecessary debt. Recommended: Personal Loan vs Car Loan

Credit Cards

Credit cards allow users to borrow up to a certain amount, making payments at the end of the billing cycle. Borrowers who pay off their credit card bill on time will owe no interest. However, if you carry a balance, interest will start accruing, and credit cards tend to carry relatively high interest rates. What’s more, credit card interest compounds, so the longer you have a balance, the more debt your debt will grow. As a result, credit cards may be a good choice if you know you will be able to pay them off on time and in full, or if you can get a credit card with a promotional 0% APR. As long as you pay off the balance before the promotional period ends, you won’t owe any interest.

How Does Financing a Car Paint Repair Work?

To finance car paint repair cost, first check your car insurance if your car needs to be painted because it was in an accident or damaged by a natural disaster. In that case, car insurance may cover it. Otherwise, you can finance the paint job with a credit card by charging the amount and then paying it off later. Or, you can take out a personal loan to pay for the cost of painting the car, which you repay in monthly installments.

Determining Which Financing Option Is Right for You

To decide which financing option is best for your needs, you can weigh the pros and cons of each. If a credit card is convenient and you know you can pay off the balance before the billing cycle ends to avoid paying interest, you may want to consider that option. If, however, getting a lump sum of money you can repay over a longer period of time is more doable for you, you may want to opt for a personal loan.

Using Personal Loans for Car Repairs

To use a personal loan to finance car repaint cost, you apply for a loan with a lender. Once you’re approved and receive the money, which usually happens quickly, you can use it to pay for your car paint job. You then repay the loan over time in fixed monthly installments.

The Takeaway

When considering repainting your car, find out if your car insurance will pay for it, especially if your car has been in an accident. If not, and you don’t have the cash on hand to pay the cost upfront, you may want to use a credit card or a personal loan to pay for repainting your car. 

3 Personal Loan Tips

  1. Shopping around helps ensure that you’re getting the best deal you can. Lantern by SoFi makes this easy. With one online application, you can find and compare personal loan offers from multiple lenders.
  2. If the interest rates you’re being offered seem too high, try lowering the loan amount. Generally, the larger the loan, the greater the risk for lenders, who likely charge a higher interest rate for the increased risk level.
  3. Read lender reviews before taking out a personal loan. You’ll get a sense of how long it can take to receive the funds and how good the customer service is.

Photo credit: iStock/rusak
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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does It cost to fix the paint on a car?
Can you use a personal loan to cover car paint repair costs?
Can you use your auto insurance to cover car paint repair costs?

About the Author

Austin Kilham

Austin Kilham

Austin Kilham is a writer and journalist based in Los Angeles. He focuses on personal finance, retirement, business, and health care with an eye toward helping others understand complex topics.
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