Painting Your Car: Should You DIY Or Get A Professional?

3 min


Money’s tight these days. Everybody knows that. So, when it comes time for your car to get a paint job, it makes sense to do it yourself. Right? Well, maybe but maybe not.

If you have a good DIY spirit and are used to doing things yourself, both to save money but also for the satisfaction of being self sufficient, then this could be a good project. If you aren’t used to doing things yourself, then it probably makes more sense to go to a shop and get it done.

However, sometimes you end up in a situation where you have no choice but to do it yourself. If you feel up to a job that can test your patience, then painting your own car may just be for you.

To give you a better idea of if you should attempt it yourself, this article will go over several of the things you have to know about doing your own paint job for your car.

How much does it cost?

The difference in price between painting the car yourself and going to an auto body shop are dramatic. You’ll spend a fraction of the price of a professional job if you decide to do it at home.

And you also have endless customizations available at very low cost as well. For instance, certain colors are going to cost you more at an auto body shop. Unusual colors cost more because these shops don’t usually keep them stocked. Since they aren’t buying in bulk, those colors are going to raise the price of the job. If you buy your own powder coating color kits then you can choose any color you want no matter how odd or specific it is.

Besides that specific color, you’re going to need some primer. Lots of sandpaper of varying grit and then the paint you want. Total, expect to spend at least $200 on the products and materials up to around $500 depending on the quality and what types you need.

If you go to a shop, then expect to pay a minimum of over $1,500 but likely over $2,000. You may find places that will do it for less, but you are locked in on some of the types of paint colors and they often skimp on some of the prep work which results in an inferior job.

The most basic of paint jobs will be somewhere around $1,000 which will involve less coats of paint and inferior workmanship. A mid level job will cost around $1,500 to $2,000 and they will make sure to sand between coats to leave the finish smooth and will use the required amount of coats to make sure the quality is high.

Then, the high end job is going to be over $2,000 and sometimes even in the five figure range for a truly luxurious paint job. This type of job usually involves stripping all of the pain from the car down to the frame and starting from zero. They will also remove any dents and imperfections from the body before beginning the paint job.

What does it take to DIY it?

To start with, you’ll need to prep the car and remove any of the dents if you can. Also, you’ll have to patch up some of the rusted areas with some fiberglass and then sand it down and smooth it out. Add a coat or two of primer to give the paint a base to patch onto and then you can start painting.

Some people choose sprayers to do this, but you can end up with some heavy spots that look darker than others. If you decide to roll it on to get a more even coat then you are looking at a lot of sanding in between coats. This will give you a professional look though as it will ensure a very smooth finish.

Then, at the end, you have to sand again and do the last coat and check for any imperfections. Hopefully it is all smooth and you can then buff it to get it nice and shiny.

Now, you need time, patience and a place to do the work. This is especially true if you plan to spray it as there will be a big mess around the car. An auto body shop has a special room to do this so it isn’t an issue for them. If you are doing this in a garage, then everything will need to be covered.

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