How Long Does it Take to Repaint a Car? [The Answer]

Your vehicle may be one of many things – a status symbol, a source of transportation, and perhaps even a friend – but regardless of its role in your life, it should look good on the outside. And if its appearance is not up to par, there are several things that can help improve this issue.

One of them is to repaint the car, which requires a lot more than just slapping some new colors on the surface. There is prep work before you start, as well as factors beyond your control once the repainting begins. If you want to learn about these processes and determine exactly how long it takes to refinish a car, read on.

Reasons Why You Might Need To Repaint Your Car

First, let’s talk about the reasons you might need to repaint your car. The most common reason people decide they need to repaint their cars is that they have grown tired of them looking dingy over time.

Examples include paint discoloration caused by sun damage and unsightly scratches from everyday use. Another possibility is children playing with the wheels while driving, causing dents around the spokes.

While these problems are not necessarily permanent, the best thing you can do is to make sure that any problems you have are fixed right away. This involves making sure everything is working properly so that you don’t have problems in the future.

Once you understand what’s involved in preparing for a paint job and getting it done, you’ll find that taking care of your vehicles’ exteriors doesn’t require too much effort.

Now that we have established why you are likely to need to repaint your car, let’s talk about the preparations that need to occur beforehand. As mentioned above, there are several steps necessary before you begin the process. Read on to find out what comes after you decide to paint your car.

Managing Preparation: What Does It Entail?

After deciding that you want to paint your car, you will need to consider several aspects related to the project, such as budget, skill level, and availability.

Here we will focus specifically on the tasks related to prep management, as they are usually at the top of the list. Depending on your situation, you may also encounter other needs that could affect your decision on whether to paint your car yourself or hire someone else to handle the task for you.

For example, if you plan to paint your own car at home, you need to buy enough paint to cover all areas except small trim pieces, such as bumpers, spoilers, and hubcaps.

You also need to figure out how much space you have available in your garage and how big each part of the car will eventually be. In addition, you will likely need access to the tools necessary to complete the job properly (such as sandpaper), along with safety equipment to protect you from exposure to the chemicals used during the procedure.

Last but not least, you’ll need money to pay for materials as you prepare for the project.

Once you have all these elements lined up, you can begin the actual painting process. Read on below to discover some important information related to the time between coats.

Preparing Your Car For Repainting

To prepare your car for paint, you’ll need to remove old layers of dirt, grime, tar, and wax. To do this, use a high-quality cleaner designed especially for cleaning car surfaces. Before applying anything wet to the exterior coating, apply a thin coat of oil-based primer to ensure adhesion.

Whenever possible, avoid using spray cans due to potential health hazards. Instead, opt for non-aerosol products containing organic solvents. These aerosols tend to dry faster and allow better adhesion to the surface of the car.

Next, wash the entire car thoroughly to remove contaminants and mud splatters. Use detergent solutions instead of soap powder to avoid streaks left by water spots. Finally, try to choose a day when temperatures are relatively mild. This way, you won’t have to worry about starting the job and leaving it halfway through because of rain or inclement weather.

What Factors Influence Painting Time?

The time it usually takes to finish painting a car varies greatly depending on the individual driver. However, certain external conditions influence the amount of time it takes to complete the task. For example, temperature affects both how quickly the paint dries and how quickly workers move across the surface without having to wait for the drying time.

In addition, traffic patterns and heavy pedestrian activity can slow progress considerably. In addition, the type of material being applied can affect the end result. While enamel finishes tend to last longer than others, clear paint tends to wear more quickly. In addition, metal parts exposed to extreme heat or cold are susceptible to cracking.

Therefore, the overall condition of the car’s exterior can drastically change the amount of time required for completion. In addition, there are numerous variables that contribute to the time it actually takes to paint a car.

Since a great deal of prep work has already been done prior to paint application, the time frame can extend well beyond the usual two weeks. In addition, the number of coats applied can further increase this time frame.

With multiple coats, the painter has room to add additional elements, such as texture and color, without worrying about falling short.

Finally, the size of the car means a smaller work surface, so a larger vehicle takes longer to paint than a smaller model.

Now you know how long it takes to repaint a car, but when can you expect the results? Read on to learn about the time frame between coats and how to manage expectations.

Paints vary widely depending on personal preference and intended use. Popular brands include Dulux, Rustoleum, Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, and PPG Industries. Each product offers unique features and performance levels. Although similar, different companies’ offerings react differently under different circumstances.

Whenever possible, test samples of new products on previously painted areas. Look for products that offer higher durability ratings and ask salespeople for recommendations specific to your needs.

How Long Does It Take To Repaint A Car?

Depending on the type of vehicle you drive, repainting the entire car usually takes anywhere from a few days to a couple of months. Most manufacturers recommend waiting four to six weeks before washing a freshly painted car. Avoid putting new paint directly over existing coats unless otherwise instructed. Doing so causes discoloration and chipping.

As far as time is concerned, think about how long it took to fully restore your car after it sustained major damage. Now imagine trying to speed up the restoration process while keeping costs manageable. From start to finish, you may find that it takes twice as long to repair your car compared to a full restoration. So remember that patience is key.

Another consideration when painting your car is how often you plan to do it. Newer models are coated with a plastic film meant to withstand the rigors of daily driving. But older ones are made of metal, which can rust and corrode more easily than newer versions.

As a result, more frequent maintenance is recommended for older cars. Of course, a professional knows what he or she is doing and can perform periodic checks to maximize efficiency. Regardless of how often you paint, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Finally, although the time it takes to refinish a car varies considerably, there are general rules to follow to reduce the overall process time.

Steps To Follow To Reduce The Total Process Time

  1. First, plan ahead to obtain adequate supplies. Order extra paint, brushes, rollers, and buckets so you are prepared for each step of the process.
  2. Second, set aside plenty of time for the job. Work hours may fluctuate throughout the week, but never leave a large portion of the day free for painting tasks.
  3. Third, select a good day for painting. Temperatures should not fall below 30 degrees Fahrenheit or exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Fourth, stay organized and clean up immediately after the job. Try to limit trash disposal to designated containers or carts, rather than haphazardly throwing it away.
  5. Fifth, maintain proper hygiene measures to minimize the risk of contamination. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling brushes and rags, and dispose of garbage in the trash rather than depositing it in public places.
  6. Sixth, avoid multitasking. Paintings take priority over other projects. Keep distractions to a minimum, especially phone calls, text messages, and family members.

Next, we’ll look at questions that are often asked about repainting a car.

It’s easy to underestimate the time it takes to complete a given task, especially if you lack experience. Don’t feel pressured to rush through the process, nor spend unnecessary amounts of money on supplies. Remember to have enough time to enjoy your free time after the job is completed.

FAQs Related To Repairing A Car

Q. I live in a climate prone to snowfall, will my car be damaged while undergoing a refinishing session?

A. No problem! Many reputable refinishers are familiar with the effects that snow and ice can cause on automobiles. They strive to provide coverage for accidents that occur during rainy seasons. Request a quote from several providers to compare prices and services.

Liam Dare

As CEO of, my passion for the automotive world motivates me to build online businesses that provide information and entertainment to users. I am proud to contribute in a positive way to the automotive community.