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Should I Repaint My Car?

Brad Tucker
New paint job

Most of the time, people aren’t focused on how much auto body repair costs. After all, in most cases, an insurance company is paying for the collision repair. The vehicle owner’s cost, if any, is limited to their collision or comprehensive deductible. One big exception to this rule is getting a car completely repainted.

Auto painting is usually paid for out of the customer’s pocket, and the car involved is often an older model, so cost is a significant priority. Because of this, we’d like to discuss a few things to consider before getting your car repainted.

Why Are You Considering a New Paint Job?

Whether or not to repaint your car, as well as how much to spend, depends on your goals. It is almost always better to have paint on your car than not. Besides being an aesthetic consideration, paint is an important rust inhibitor that will extend the useful life of your car.

People have many different reasons for getting their cars repainted. Here are the most common ones, from utilitarian to aesthetic:

  • The paint has deteriorated or come off — delaminated — and bare metal is exposed. The goal is to protect the body from rust and and/or improve its appearance.
  • The paint has faded or is scratched and the car no longer looks new. The goal is to restore the car to the appearance it had when it was first purchased.
  • The vehicle owner desires to change the color of the car. The goal is to make the car look like it has always been the new color.
  • The car is a restoration project or a custom vehicle. The goal is to apply a show quality finish, apply multiple colors or effects, add graphics, and other custom touches.

The cost of a repaint job varies widely based on your intent. Simple protection is a less intensive (and less expensive) job than painting a car to show quality, which is a helpful consideration when deciding whether to paint your car.

How Much to Spend Depends on Resale Value

If you decide to have your automobile repainted, the amount of money you should spend should be influenced largely by the age and value of the car. It is probably not a good idea to spend $4000 to paint a $1500 car!

Your car’s resale value will only improve so much with a fresh paint job, so you should avoid spending more than you could gain in additional resale value, especially if you intend to sell the vehicle. If the math is all wrong, it would be better to sell the car with the paint as-is.

As With All Major Purchases, Do Your Homework First

It is a good idea to research different options before you commit to having a complete repaint job. Not all paint is created equal, nor are all paint and body shops. Check references and reputation, ask to see examples of the same types of paint jobs using the same materials, and find out how long the body shop will stand behind their work.

If you are only considering a new paint job just because you’ve seen advertisements for $299 paint jobs, think again! A full repaint job can be had for just a few hundred dollars, if the paint technician uses the cheapest possible paint, fails to adequately prepare the surface for paint, applies no primer coat, and leaves non-painted areas unprotected — you didn’t want to see out of that windshield, anyway! Skipping steps may lead to bubbles or dirt in the paint, and you won’t be offered a warranty on the paint finish. Your automobile will have paint on it, but the result will be unattractive and the finish won’t last. Even worse, the car could be worth less than it was with the old, faded paint finish!

It’s impossible to “un-repaint” your car if it is painted badly, so choose your paint shop carefully and with your eyes wide open. The results will be with you for as long as you own your car! Contact us to learn more about our car painting services, and check out our next post, “How Much Does it Cost to Paint a Car?