Person respraying a car

How much does it cost to respray a car?

Last updated August 25th, 2023

There are numerous reasons why you may want to respray your car. Perhaps polishing your vehicle no longer produces a desirable shine – or maybe your car has recently been repaired and you want to complete the transformation by removing those stubborn scratches.

Your reason for wanting a respray may not be purely cosmetic; a new coat of paint can provide additional protection against rust – and may also increase your car’s resale value.

However, respraying a vehicle is a considerable undertaking and can work out expensive. In this guide, we will break down the costs involved for a full respray, then explain what a respray entails – and whether it is worth your while.

We’ll also cover the various options available if your budget won’t stretch to getting your car resprayed professionally.

Value your car in under 30 seconds

How much does a respray cost?

Work required Total cost of work*
Full respray for a car in good overall condition with only minimal repairs required. £2800
Full respray for a car also requiring some remedial repair work (e.g. dent removal and 2x small rust patch correction). £3200
Bumper respray to match original paint colour. £290
Respray for one side panel to match the original paint colour – and minor panel repair (small dent removal). £425

How much it costs to respray a vehicle will vary depending on factors such as:

  • The area you live in.
  • The vehicle’s size.
  • The complexity of its shape.
  • The condition of the existing paintwork.
  • Whether the vehicle has been modified.

It is estimated that the average cost of a full body respray for a car in the UK will run between £2,700 and £5,000.

This is broken down into materials and labour, with the latter often accounting for most of the cost. (Resprays can take anywhere from 15 to 30 hours to complete).

What happens when your car gets resprayed?

  • Firstly, the car will be thoroughly cleaned.
  • Next, the paint technician will use a sanding sponge to scrub the car’s paintwork down to the primer or the bare metal (depending on the desired finish).
  • From here, the technician will cover or remove any panels or parts that are not being resprayed (e.g. the windows, tyres and trimmings).
  • Now your car is ready to be resprayed. This may be done by hand or with specialised machinery depending on the garage.
  • The technician should respray your car one coat at a time, leaving adequate drying time between each coat so that the next layer of paint will stick.
  • Once the re-spray has been completed, the technician will add a final layer of lacquer to provide further protection - and an attractive sheen.

Is it worth getting a car resprayed?

Having your car resprayed is often a worthwhile investment if your vehicle is in reasonable condition but the paintwork is starting to look chipped and worn (or polish is no longer providing the shine it once did).

If your car has mild rust, a respray could breathe new life into the vehicle. However, it is important to remove rust from the affected areas prior to painting.

Please note: If your car has too much rust in certain prescribed areas, this can indicate significant structural damage that should be addressed as a priority before the paintwork.

If you are looking to sell your car, a full respray could boost its market value. (Bear in mind that some car colours have a better resale value than others.)

However, it is also important to note that respraying a car will not always add to its value. For instance, if your car’s value is already relatively low, you could effectively lose most (or all) of your investment after a full respray, particularly if the car has unresolved mechanical issues. In this scenario, you could potentially recoup more money by replacing any damaged parts.

Can you respray your own car?

Having your car professionally resprayed can be expensive, largely due to labour costs. Therefore, you may be able to save money by doing the job yourself.

However, you’ll need to have enough time, space, equipment and expertise to get the job done properly. Mistakes can be costly to rectify, so you should proceed with caution.

Practice makes perfect. Before you get started, make sure you find out your car’s colour. This will help to ensure you achieve a seamless finish. For added peace of mind, try out your paint on a piece of scrap metal to ensure it matches before starting work on the vehicle itself.

When respraying your car, take care to avoid the following pitfalls:

  • Failing to prepare your workspace for respraying.
  • Not applying enough paint.
  • Failing to properly blend the new paint with the old coat.

Is it cheaper to spray or wrap a car?

A wrap is a self-adhesive vinyl coating that is applied to a car’s body. Wraps come in a vast array of colours, styles and finishes. The cost of wrapping your car depends on its size and shape complexity.

In the shorter term, wrapping is usually a more affordable option than getting a full respray. However, you should bear in mind that wraps have a limited shelf life. Therefore, it’s likely you’ll need to have your car re-wrapped at one time or another. As such, wrapping will often have a higher lifetime cost than respraying.

Do I need to remove the old paint before repainting my car?

Whilst you don’t have to remove the old layer of paint before repainting your car, it is strongly advisable to do so.

If you do not remove the old layer, the new layer will increase the depth of paint, making it virtually impossible to blend paint on the surface.

As part of a SMART (Small-to-Medium Area Repair Technology) repair, the paint technician should always remove the old paint prior to respraying the vehicle.

Informing the DVLA about your car respray

If your vehicle changes colour due to a respray, you must inform the DVLA. They will then change the details of the car and issue a new V5C logbook with the updated colour information. (If you choose to wrap your car instead of respraying it, you should also notify the DVLA.)