How Long Does It Take to Paint a Car?

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Painting a car can be an exciting process, transforming its appearance and giving it a fresh new look.

You might be wondering how long this process takes. The duration varies depending on factors like prep work, car size, and paint drying time.

On average, it takes professional automotive painters anywhere from a few days to several weeks to complete the job.

As you embark on this journey, remember to be patient and anticipate the stunning results this makeover can bring to your vehicle.

How Long Does It Take to Paint a Car?

Understanding the Paint Job Process

Prepping the Car

Before diving into the actual painting process, you need to properly prep your car. Begin by thoroughly washing the exterior to remove any dirt, grease, or contaminants.

After the car has dried, you’ll want to sand the surface using suitable grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to.

During this process, keep an eye out for any scratches, rock chips, or rust that may need additional attention and repair.

To protect areas that should not be painted, such as windows, headlights, and trim, use masking tape and plastic sheeting.

Properly masking these areas will save you time and help you achieve more professional results. Find out how much does it cost to paint a car by either DIY or by a pro.

Materials and Tools

You’ll need various materials and tools for a successful car paint job. First and foremost, choose the type of paint that’s best suited for your car.

There are several types of automotive paints, from single-stage to clear coat and base coat systems. Each paint type has different characteristics and application methods.


For the car painting process, you’ll require a primer, which acts as a foundation for the paint to stick to and ensures a smooth and durable finish.


Additionally, it’s essential to have the appropriate sandpaper in various grits for prepping, priming, and painting.

Spray gun

You will also need the proper equipment to apply the paint. A spray gun is ideal for getting an even and professional-looking coat of paint on your car. Alternatively, a paint roller may be used, but this technique may result in a less even finish.

Ensure you have enough paint, primer, and any other materials required for the entire car to avoid inconsistencies in the final result.

By understanding the prepping process, materials, and tools needed for a car paint job, you can ensure a smooth and successful painting experience.

Remember that proper preparation and the right equipment play a crucial role in achieving a high-quality, long-lasting finish.

Factors Affecting the Time to Paint a Car

Extent of Damage

If your car has damage such as dents or rust, additional work may be required before painting. This can include repairing dents on the hood and addressing any rust spots.

The more extensive the damage, the longer the body work needed, and the more time it takes.

Type of Car

The time required to paint your car also depends on the make and model. Smaller cars generally take less time than larger vehicles, as there are fewer doors and panels to paint. For example, a two-door car might take less time to paint than a four-door one.

Quality of Paint Job

A high-quality paint job entails multiple steps: priming, buffing, and curing the paint.

With this in mind, achieving a showroom-quality finish takes longer due to the thorough preparation and drying time involved, as posisted by a local company, carpaintexperts. The total time varies depending on your desired level of quality.

Handling Different Car Parts

When painting a car, handling various car parts requires special attention, as each part has different properties and may require specific techniques.

Car Bumpers

Car bumpers, particularly the front bumper cover, often accumulate more chips due to their position on the vehicle.

Make sure you (i) smooth out any damaged areas by sanding and (ii) apply primer before you repaint. Allow sufficient drying time to achieve professional results.

Car Glass and Plastic

To avoid paint damage, shield glass and plastic areas by using masking tape before starting the painting process. Carefully tape off the edges and ensure full coverage to prevent any accidental paint splatter.

Car Fender

The car fender plays a crucial role in protecting your car’s exterior. Address any dents or scratches, and properly sand and prime the fender before you apply the new paint.

The Hood

Due to its large surface area, the hood might require extra care. Ensure a smooth, even paint job by working in sections, gradually blending the paint across the entire surface.

The Door

The door, like the fender, plays a significant role in preserving your car’s exterior. Address notable damages by sanding and priming before painting. Pay attention to the edges of the door to ensure a seamless finish.

Car Exterior

When working on the car exterior, always make sure to (i) prep the surface by removing dirt, grease, and wax; (ii) sand any imperfections; and (iii) apply primer before you paint. By following these steps, you’ll achieve a professional-looking result.

Car Paint Types


Urethane paint, known for its durability, is a popular choice for car painting. This type of paint offers your car protection from harsh weather conditions and daily wear and tear.

It also has a good thickness, ensuring a solid coverage on your vehicle’s body. The composition of urethane paint includes pigments and additives that make it long-lasting.

Acrylic Urethane

Acrylic urethane combines the properties of urethane and acrylic paints. This paint type is an excellent choice for cars due to its quick-drying nature – making your paint job efficient.

Acrylic urethane’s composition provides a balance between protection and appearance, giving your car a stunning look while ensuring its longevity. Keep in mind that the durability of this paint may vary based on the quality of materials used.

Additional Considerations and Tips

Preparing for a Freshly Painted Car

When planning to paint a car, it’s essential to research the proper color code for your vehicle to ensure the new paint matches.

Also, consider discussing with your insurance provider about any coverage options for potential collision repair work that may be necessary before painting.

Color Sanding and Buffing

After applying the fresh paint, you’ll want to perform color sanding followed by buffing to achieve a smooth, glossy finish. This process can take some time, so be patient. Remember, the ultimate goal is a professional-looking result.

Aftercare and Maintenance

Once your car is freshly painted, be mindful that it takes some time for the paint to cure before you proceed with washing or waxing.

Avoid exposing your vehicle to direct sunlight or rain damage during this time. According to autotrader, regular maintenance, such as washing and waxing, ensures your car’s paint remains vibrant and protected against external elements.

Choosing the Right Auto Body Shop

When you’re looking to get your car painted, finding the right auto body shop can make all the difference. Here are a few tips to help you make the best decision for your situation.

Budget and the cost

First, consider your budget and the cost of the paint job. Different body shops may offer varying price ranges. It’s essential to find a shop that can work within your budget without compromising on quality.

Keep in mind that estimates from different body shops can vary due to factors such as labor rates and materials used. Don’t be afraid to shop around and compare prices.

Scope of work

Next, think about the scope of the work involved. Are you looking for a minor touch-up or a complete paint job? The time it takes to complete the project will depend on the size and complexity of the job.

A full paint job on a car can take on average 3-4 weeks, while smaller jobs, like painting a door or bumper, may only take a couple of days.

It’s important to find a shop that can accommodate your timeline and cater to your specific needs.

Transparent auto body shop

Additionally, look for an auto body shop that provides transparent and thorough information about the repair process.

Make sure they explain any necessary pre-paint repairs or body work, as this will impact the final result and longevity of the paint job. Body shops should fix any prior damage before starting the paint process, so don’t overlook this step when choosing a shop.

Warranty offerings

Finally, inquire about the shop’s warranty offerings. A reliable auto body shop should stand behind their work and offer a written warranty that covers repair work, parts, and the paint job. Aim for a minimum warranty of one year, but a lifetime warranty is even better.

How Long Does it Take to Fully Cure Car Paint?

Painting your car requires patience and attention to detail. It may take 24 hours for the paint to dry enough for you to drive your car, but the actual curing time is between 30 to 90 days.

Factors like temperature, humidity, and ventilation play a crucial role in the drying and curing process. To get the best results, ensure optimal conditions during application and make use of high-quality paint materials.

Always remember, waiting for the paint to fully cure will help protect your car’s finish and maintain its appearance in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the duration to repaint a car door?

Repainting a car door typically takes a couple of days to complete. This duration includes surface preparation, painting, and drying time. However, the actual time may vary depending on factors like the extent of damage, paint type, and workload at the auto body shop.

How much time does a paint job on a vehicle last?

A quality paint job on your vehicle can last up to 10 years or more if you take proper care of it. Regular cleaning, waxing, and parking in a garage or shaded area can extend the life of your car’s paint. Remember, environmental factors and daily use can impact the longevity of the paint job.

Can a car be painted within a day?

Generally, a full paint job on a car cannot be completed within a day. Proper painting requires time for surface preparation, application of multiple paint layers, and drying time between coats. A standard full-body repaint can take anywhere from several days to a few weeks.

How long does car paint repair generally take?

Car paint repair jobs, such as paint touch-ups or small scratch repairs, may take as little as a few hours to a day, depending on the extent of the damage. For larger repair jobs, your vehicle may be in the shop for multiple days. Always consult your auto body shop for a more accurate time estimate based on your specific situation.

What is the typical time needed for Maaco to paint a car?

Maaco, a popular paint and collision repair provider, usually completes a standard paint job within 2-3 days. However, the actual turnaround time may vary depending on factors like the condition of your vehicle, the complexity of the paint job, and the specific Maaco location’s workload.


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