What should a decent paint job cost?

johnnnycjohnnnyc Member Posts: 166
A very nice person on the street decided that he/she didn't like the appearance of all the cars on our block, and decided to key them all.

Mine was pretty bad - it's scratched on the right quarterpanel, hood, right rear passenger door, left fender, and the roof.

I'm guessing the car in it's entirety needs to be painted. The scratches went down to the primer in all cases, leaving nice white streaks on my maroon paint.

It's a 94 Honda Accord, and it's a family car. It's not like I'm looking for a 7 coat job on a '67 Vette.

What should a decent paint/repair job cost? I'm in NYC - and the only estimate I've had thus far was $600. I thought that was a bit extreme, considering there isn't any body work to be done. Then again, I'm also cheap ;)

Any recommendations?



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    That's a helluva good price if they use anything but a broom on it.

    Well, let's see. Your car is worth maybe what $7,000-8,000 if it's really nice? Now if you put a $600 paint job on it it's going to be worth $3,000 immediately. So you've spend $600 to lose at least $4K.

    On the other hand, if you put even the minimally decent job on it, let's say a real bargain at $1,500-2,000 for anything approaching factory paint, then you have maybe a $6,000 car, if it comes out okay. So in this # 2 scenario, you have spent $1,500 to lose say $2,000. Better but not great.

    Last course of action is to do a paint job that will match the factory work, at about $5,000. Seems ridiculous to contemplate that further.

    Looks like the best thing is to shop for a better paint job than the $600 down and dirty you are thinking about. You simply cannot adequately prep and shoot a car with quality materials for $600. Top quality paint alone, still in the can, could cost near that. And we haven't even talked about primer and materials.

    I'd suggest that you try the $1,500-2,000 budget, and examine other cars the shop has just painted. Look for fish-eyes (round circles in the paint), overspray on chrome, wheels, sharp tape marks, grit in the paint, orangepeel (self explanatory type of texture), "curtains" (drips), thick, gloppy paint (an unskilled hand). Also ask if any chrome or glass will be removed...if not you will see the masking lines...maybe not such a big deal there. Also ask if there's a primer coat, if they do the door jambs, trunk area, wheels, etc.

    I would rather see you not paint the car than do a cheap job on it.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    In the town where I live there are several body shops that do decent work.

    Recently I got an estimate to paint a very small pickup we have.

    No body work is needed...ready? 3500.00 !!

    This includes removing all of the trim pieces, mouldings etc and doing a first class (but not show quality) job!

    Or I can take it to one of the big name chains and have it painted and probably ruined for 600.00.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Not probably, DEFINITELY ruined. Cheap paint jobs do have their place, for beater cars and trucks that need to look a little better. I've seen some cheap paint jobs that actually look fairly okay...but they are not durable and they fade, chip and peel quickly.
  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Member Posts: 166
    I figured the car in it's entirety would have to be painted. This guy is quoting to simply fix the scratches.

    Do I not have a clue what the repairs cost? You betcha. If I did, I wouldn't be asking ;)

    Just out of curiousity - would it be considered the same type of damage if the guy just did spot fixing? Truth be told - last year, I had an accident and the bodyshop repaired it for a little over $700. That involved painting the trunk hood. They did a great job - I couldn't tell the difference. Then again - what do I know? Is what you're saying that these guys did a sub-par repair on my vehicle, lowering it's value?

    I was actually hoping that some kind of service is now available (akin to paintless dent repair), where the car could be touched up by a 'specialist' at fixing these types of dings. Am I naive to think something like that exists?

    Either way - thanks for the advice.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    Are miserable to fix. They can't be simply touched up. The panel must be completely sanded down, the scratch filled and primed and then repainted.

    No comprehensive insurance?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Panel blending is a lot easier than painting an entire car.....but yes, if they painted one panel and it was noticeable, sure, it would lower the value of the car somewhat.
  • seeligseelig Member Posts: 590
    still think this was the work of a "very nice person?"........be fun ta catch em in the act eh?

    what everyone is telling you is that basically, the cheap paint jobs are for people that just want to cover up an eyesore, or to sell it off to someone that hasn't got a clue.
    i work with a fella that just bought a 9yr old used Explorer, and came in a couple weeks later with it after going to a place called Maaco. it not only has all the trademarks (paint flaws) that Mr. shiftright has pointed out, but it still had bug traces to boot. all for the low low price of 1,100 bucks. Baaaaarf......the decision to make is, how much do you care for the car, and is it worth doing.
  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Member Posts: 166
    are insurance salesmen?


    I do have comprehensive. I had an accident last year, so this would effectively raise my premium. Furthermore - I have a $500 deductible - so I'd pay the first $500. Probably not worth it to raise the insurance on my 3 cars for the next 4 years.

    Too bad that the guy who last repaired my car is no longer in business. He did a nice job. Was his work 'noticeable' - could the repair be noticed? I'm no expert - but I couldn't tell.

    I do care about the car - especially to the point where I'd like to protect my investment. But knowing that this can happen all over again, I don't want to break the bank fixing it.

    Thanks guys,
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well, maybe you could have them paint one panel and see how it comes out?
  • urchin34urchin34 Member Posts: 70
    It's my understanding that most insurance companies don't raise rates for comprehensive claims. At least none I've used have.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Same here. The companies I've used don't raise rates for comp claims but may raise the deductible amount for future claims.
  • a_l_hubcapsa_l_hubcaps Member Posts: 518
    I think the outcome of paint has a lot to do with the preparation. My 1986 Pontiac Parisienne Safari has a $400 Maaco paint job that still looks great more than a year later. The key is, I spent most of June 2000 removing all the trim, sanding the whole car smooth down to the metal one panel at a time, and spraying over the clean metal with Rust-Oleum primer. Once I had finished and the whole car was that nice dull brown color, I washed it down carefully, checked to make sure there was no more rust forming anywhere, and drove it to Maaco for the color coat. I then put all the trim parts back on and the result was admirable for $400. I mean, no, it's not a perfect factory-quality paint job, but it's not peeling off or rusting out, either.
    -Andrew L
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yeah, but think about this....good paint, I mean, just the cans of paint, cost more than $400 for one car. Prep is important, but so is the quality of the paint. You can glob lousy paint on the car and it will stick for a while, and really, for $400 a person could hardly complain it if looks halfway decent and lasts a few years. What you'll notice with cheap paint is that it will oxidize and discolor/fade quickly and chip easily.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    When the estimate to paint my tiny Dodge Rampage was higher then the estimate to paint our two story 2700 square foot house!

    And it's a hard house to paint too...Four dormer windows etc.

    Can anybody explain the logic in that?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    For one thing, the EPA doesn't require that your house be bagged, dusted and water-filtered and that the old paint brushes placed in steel containers, all the scrapings and drips collected and taken to a special disposal facility, and your house-paint doesn't have to be a special water-borne mixture and the house-painters don't have to wear moon-suits. Also, you don't have to take the windows out of your house to paint it, and you don't have to strip the old paint down to bare wood.

    But seriously, it's all about labor costs and materials costs. Cars are higher per square inch or foot or however you want to measure it.
  • prophet2prophet2 Member Posts: 372
    Isell, must be the lower unit cost of the paint and the process. Home Depot, Sears, and other large retailers sell the better house paint @$20/gallon. I had my home painted 7-1/2 years ago for a few grand after I re-modeled - also a two-story with 2900+ sq. ft. + garage, balconies, and patio, but no dormer windows.

    Auto paint costs a lot and the process is also more precise. I know some auto painters who also re-finish guitars. I had a vintage electric guitar refinished last year in a period-correct custom color that cost $475, more than the Earl Schieb and MAACO "specials" for cars!
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