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How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car?

There are many different cases for comparing costs of painting an automobile. And many different kinds of outfits for performing the skilled paint work, ranging from national discount chain outlets to local paint body shops.

Discounts at Franchise Auto Painters

For the most cost conscious, there are nationals like Maaco and Earl Shieb [with Shieb discontinuing its national leadership as of July 16, 2010 with each outlet now independently operated]. Some of the lowest prices can be had with minor repaints starting around $275 to $350 and this would be for partial/spot painting and not the entire vehicle. The painting of a whole vehicle could cost $500 to $800 and even at this, you could expect to pay more for body work.

More Expensive Dealers/Local Shops

Many locally owned and managed shops charge more which may or may not be evident in their work. Sometimes it greatly exceeds other shops but when it does, you typically are charged for it, as much as $1,200 to $1,600 on up.

The factory franchise shops such as for Acura, Lexus, Ford and GM charge upper tier rates with a lot of overhead to support - you can readily spend $2,000 to $3,500 for a whole car painting. Based on hourly billable rates that can exceed $70 per hour, for body and paint technicians. One advantage here though is their accessibility to factory brand name parts (as well as sometimes secondary market parts) such as for mouldings that could need replacing at the same time.

Of note is that new factory parts may not always be required and should be evaluated. The local indepdendent shop may have access to hoods, doors panels, mirror covers and more that might in essence appear the same as the remainder of the car anyway given a new paint job while the wearability of those parts could end up being another story.

Comparing Paint Job Prices

The fact is, most customers receive vastly different end products when going from one auto painter to the next. Points to consider are preparation: are moulding to be removed or simply masked off prior to shooting the spray, is the old finish to be prepped, and what portions including partly-hidden areas are to receive paint? Will all the inner door jamb sections, the engine compartment, and the undersides of the front and rear hood to be finished? Will the interior panels and outer light fixtures be removed so that the new paint finish will cover continuosuly rather than leaving a distinct mask line?

Body work does add to the price, beginning from minor dents and scrapes, about $125 per area on up. Then there is panel replacement, both fiberglass and metal, that can easily start at $350 to $500 for new, and possibly less for locating pre-owned sections. Keeping in mind also that there can be different grades of replacememts, on hoods for example, some which may be less prone to holding their shape.

Abilities with color matching are an area that reflects a quality painting and especially for faded vehicles, as few painters are true colorists. Although they may utilize a computer color matching system or factory codes. With the quality of the paint itself potentially adding quite a bit to the total bill. Another factor that could add, and which may be excluded under the paint shop warranty, is the correction of rust. Even minor and seemingly contained areas of rust may have to be removed by cutting, then patch welded and smoothed which is all expensive, costing $400 to $1000 and greater.

Some of the telltale signs of an upper-grade finish are the exactness of the masking, prior to painting, a total absence of overspray on unwanted surfaces, indiscernable bodywork, and a fluid top coat free of any signs of sagging to the trained eye, which may indicate proper buffing and successive numbers of correctly applied coats in a proper clean environment. Customers can spend $5,000 to $7,000 plus and quite a bit more in aims of getting an ultra-smooth durable finish.

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