Are Cheap Paint Jobs Worth the Money You Save?

We have all heard the saying “you get what you pay for,” and when it comes to cars, truer words have never been spoken, especially when it comes to bodywork. For example, if you do a Google search for “car paint job cost,” then you will likely be treated to a range of estimates from different sites. You’ll also notice that some places will only charge a few hundred dollars for a complete repaint, but is going to one of these places worth the money that you save?

Cheap paint jobs can end up costing your more

According to Cost Helper, the average price of a basic automotive paint job is anywhere from $566, with an average range of $400 to $875. That price sounds pretty attractive, doesn’t it? However, they also reported that most of the consumers that paid for a paint job in that price range were unhappy with the results. Which leads to paint corrections and possibly more bodywork later on.

Cost Helper also mentions that you should probably expect to pay somewhere between $1,000 to $3,500 for a “thorough paint job,” while showroom style paint jobs can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000. That might sound like a lot, but again, you get what you pay for and if you value your car, then you should probably do it right the first time.

What’s wrong with a cheap paint job?

Let’s say that you own a car that’s worth $500 to $3,000, in that case, it’s probably not worth getting a higher-end paint job. However, if your car is worth more than that, say anywhere from $10,000 or more, and you decide that you want to get it repainted, then you might be better going with a better quality paint job. Why?

Cheap paint jobs simply won’t last as long. When the manufacturer paints a car, they typically use high-quality paint and layer it on with multiple coats of the paint and clear coat. But if you get a cheap paint job, then the painter will likely only use a few coats and a cheaper paint quality at that. The result is chipped paint and imperfections within only a few years, possibly leading you to get the car resprayed to correct the faults. As you can tell, this will end up costing you more than what you initially bargained for.

men painting a car
XI’AN, CHINA – DECEMBER 25: Workers spray paint a car body shell at the BYD Automobile Company Limited Xi’an plant on December 25, 2019 in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province of China. (Photo by Yuan Jingzhi/VCG via Getty Images)

Prep-work is everything

When it comes to painting a car, what’s equally as important as the paint the shop uses is the amount of preparation work they put into it. Typically, if opt for a better quality job, then the shop will take the time to remove the trim pieces, and possibly even body panels, in order to do an accurate and thorough job, ensuring that there is no unsightly overspray.

On the other hand, if you opt for a cheaper paint job, then the shop might not remove, or even mask off, the trim pieces and just spray over them. Also, you might see a lot of overspray on the underside of the car, or possibly other body panels, as they most likely won’t do a great job in masking the car off.

man painting a car
A young apprentice puts protections onto a car as he prepares to spray paint, at a car bodywork, panel beating, welding and spraying workshop at the URMA (Universite Regionale des Metiers de l’Artisanat, Regional University of Crafts Trades) on September 26, 2014 in Arras. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP via Getty Images)

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You get what you pay for

As you can tell by now, it’s easy to determine if whether or not you should get a cheap paint job. If your car isn’t worth much and you just want it to look decent again, then, by all means, pay the $500. But if you decide that your car deserves something better, then it will definitely be worth it to shell out the extra cash.