How much will it cost to paint my car?
December 16, 2010 4:19 PM   Subscribe

How much will it cost to get my car painted?

I have a 2001 Honda Accord EX that is a hideous "rental car" tan color. I hate it and wish to get it painted another color. How much do you guys think it will cost me? I know there is a big range on these types of things, I am looking to spend under $1,000.
posted by arveale to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There's no way you will get a decent paint job on a car when you are changing the colour for under $1000. It'll look like crap and, when the next prospective buyer opens the bonnets and the like, will assume it is of dodgy origin.

Full changes of colour require a lot of disassembly and reassembly to make sure all the shut lines and internal areas (inside boot edges, door closures and the like) match and this sort of labour is not cheap.

You may find some back street shop somewhere that will say they can do it. But I'd almost guarantee you'll be disappointed with the results or lose money on eventual resale because of it. You'd be better off (if you hate the colour so much) to consider $1000 as the budget for changing the car (ie resale cost versus change of ownership cost + new car).
posted by Brockles at 4:53 PM on December 16, 2010

Crappy link, but the information is true. MAACO will cost under $500 for the lowest quality paint and no repair work. Some of the time dents need to be filled in, which will kick it up towards that $1k mark. If you skip on the repairs for dents, etc. expect to have bubbling or chipping in a few years' time.

A quality custom paint job where they do the full disassembly/reassembly to make it "showroom quality" will push $4-5k. Anything else can be found somewhere in between.

Check for quality of work on other vehicles from the shop before you commit. MAACO's in particular are known to vary greatly from shop to shop.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 5:01 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sell your car and with the $1000 buy a car the color you like.
posted by rhizome at 5:08 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Anecdotally, I paid $2000 flat at a MAACO auto paint shop in Boston a couple years back for a complete "showroom quality" repaint on my Integra, including all doorjambs and other interior bits except the underside of the hood. They wanted $2400 initially but I talked them down. This amount also covered quite a few small dent repairs before they applied the new paint job.
posted by killdevil at 5:26 PM on December 16, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks all, thats kind of what I figured, the car is probably only worth around 4-5k so going nuts would just be irresponsible. (The color isn't that bad, and I wouldn't sell it because I do love the car.) I appreciate the advice though!
posted by arveale at 5:42 PM on December 16, 2010

Weird - I actually checked your profile because I have a music student, a teenage kid, who asked me about the same question about a very similar car he's about to "inherit," except his '01 Accord will be silver instead.

Yeah, it's not going to be worth it. Even repainting to the same color will cost minimum $2-3K, and will raise the value of the car $500 TOPS. Save your money and buy a car you like better down the road.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:04 PM on December 16, 2010

A very good, minimal to no flaw (orange peel, etc) paint job from a reputable shop can be had for roughly $1500. This would include masking trim, windows, and the like. The proper way to have a car painted to get a "showroom" level job is to have all trim removed, and all glass. You've just doubled the price, and then some, depending on paint. Pearlescents and other exotic, multi stage colors can get rather pricey.

Going back some 15 years I did a frame-off restoration of a 1967 Alfa Romeo Boat tail spider (The car Dustin Hoffman drove in the Graduate). The final part of the resto was a trip to a well known higher end paint shop. I spent about $6000 on the paint work, but this was for a numbers matching, "looks like it did on the showroom floor in 1967" restoration. When I sold the car about 8 years later I got about double what I invested in it.

But that was an Alfa Romeo. Any mid 80's back Alfa Romeo that isn't a rust bucket can arguably be a nice investment as a collector's item.

A 2001 Honda Accord, like 98% of cars ever made, is an expense, never an investment. You get anything other than a $300 Maaco paint job on a car like that, you do it for the love. Sure, it's an illogical decision to spend a lot of money on a car like that, but then again, love often bumps heads with logic. But here's the question; If you do love this car, why wouldn't you want to get a paint job done right, that looks great from day one, and for years to come?

You can't get that paint job for what you want to spend.

If you don't love this car, and you absolutely hate the color but can't afford buying another car, spend $300 at Maaco. But never look at the paint up close, and be ready to either sell it or get a repaint in a few years. Because a cheap paint job only ever looks passable, and won't even stay looking like that for long. Good luck!
posted by chosemerveilleux at 8:03 PM on December 16, 2010

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