best body shop to paint my car a different color
June 11, 2019 12:41 PM   Subscribe

Considering having my 2007 Mazda3 hatchback's color changed, as long as I have these scrapes and tiny dings to fix. Would it be a terrible idea to try to get a low price at Maaco? Anybody know the best approach here? In Chicago (North Side but will travel if there's public transit)

I have a couple of small scrapes on my car that need touching up, and some other spots where the paint is having some trouble, plus some small dings elsewhere -- basically, I could just patch the little spots, but I have a creative urge that says to me, "unusual blue color" or "marigold" or even "gray ombre that one could put a design over later".

I want the car to look good and for the paint to last. The car has low miles, it was in the south until recently, and I think I could make it look beautiful, or at least interesting, rather than "art car that otherwise would be junk." So, I care about not just getting the cheapest paint on there -- or at least knowing if I am, so I can take other steps to protect it.

So, looking around at body/paint shops in Chicago, it looks like Maaco _might_ be a super inexpensive option, although their reviews are mixed. If I went, I'd take pictures of all surfaces before leaving the car there, maybe put newspaper on the windows myself, maybe file away the tiny rust spots I can see myself (I'm thinking wire drill bit, YouTube videos, etc.).

The Maaco web blurb says "Overall paint sale starting at $499". One phone quote from another vendor near Cicero and North was around $2500 just for paint.

I get that Maaco would probably try to upsell me, but assuming it still worked out to a much better price -- how bad could it be?

Any recommendations welcome. Thanks.
posted by amtho to Grab Bag (5 answers total)
When shopping around, be sure to find out the details of Color Change. It is relatively easy to do your existing color, but color change involves interior areas like door pillars.

It has been a couple decades since I used Maaco, so I can't comment on their current quality. However, they have never had a high reputation.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 12:56 PM on June 11, 2019

In my experience, color change is much more extensive (and expensive) than just a repaint of your existing color. They have to paint inside the door wells, behind badges and around bumpers and seals and other removable things that then have to be reinstalled. Also when it comes to car paint, you get what you pay for. Maaco is cheap because it's cheap--the quality of the paint, the skill of the painters, the attention to detail. If you go for it, have low expectations.
posted by sleeping bear at 1:15 PM on June 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Alternatively, go ahead and get the touch-ups so as to preserve the car and stop any rust, then invest in a vinyl wrap instead. It's still going to cost more than $499, but it's easier to change when you want a different color next year.
posted by jpeacock at 1:43 PM on June 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

A wrap is how this is done now.

There is no economic logic to repainting the car a new color. Doing it so it lasts more than a couple of years is gonna be $2500+, as you discovered. And that is still not the complete high end job that requires disassembling much of the car.

Arguably it isn’t worth spending the $500-1500 per panel basic localized resprays cost if you just figure recovery of resale value. Touch up paint is cheap and detailing can work wonders.

Mazdas (I own one and have loved several) are notorious for crap quality paint by the way.
posted by spitbull at 2:56 PM on June 11, 2019

Last I looked into Maaco (years ago), that $499 was for a VERY specific color.. and only that color... and it got much more expensive once I wanted to choose the color I wanted.
posted by niteHawk at 7:54 AM on June 13, 2019

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