A guide to repainting or respraying your car

Back to Motoring
car respray hero image

Whether it’s to repair a scuff or to give it a fresh new look, repainting your car can have a significant impact on its value, but is the hassle really worth it?

Respraying or repainting your car remains low on many people’s list of priorities when it comes to vehicle maintenance, and coming with a hefty price tag, it’s easy to see why.

There are, however, lots of reasons you might consider giving your car a fresh lick of paint. Here, we’ve taken a look at some of the instances where repainting is a sensible option, some of the reasons you may want to avoid it, and what the process might cost. 

Reasons to (and not to) respray

Car being resprayed black

Before launching into the process of repainting, it’s worth highlighting that it is not a catch-all solution to revitalising your car. It’s expensive, time consuming and difficult (if not impossible), to take on yourself, plus it could potentially increase your insurance premium, too.

That’s not to say that it should be avoided at all costs, there are plenty of up-sides to a respray. Depending on the age and mileage of your car, respraying can represent a wise investment thanks to increases in resale and trade-in value. Additionally, a fresh coat of paint can make your car feel like new (and cover up any nasty scratches) at a fraction of the cost of a new car.

Painting pitfalls

black car taped up for respray

While it might be tempting to take on the project yourself (and technically there’s nothing stopping you from investing in your own spray cans for a DIY job) unless you have previous experience, you’re more likely to do damage to your vehicle than good.
Despite what many online tutorials would have you believe, spray cans are unlikely to ever produce a professional looking finish and will probably leave you with an unpleasantly DIY look that could be expensive to rectify. 

Additionally, (and perhaps somewhat counter-intuitively) the DIY method is not a great deal cheaper than paying a professional to give your car a new lease of life either. Once you factor in time and the cost of enough spray cans, tape and plastic to completely cover your car it becomes increasingly difficult to justify financially, particularly given that success is not guaranteed.

Finding the right approach 

spray paint gun

The cost of car respraying and bodywork repairs can vary dramatically depending on the quality of materials and workmanship. Try to seek as many quotes for your car respray project as possible and don't be surprised if some of the costs you receive are up to twice as much as those at the lower end. A one-man-band professional respray will be significantly cheaper than larger businesses (with more significant overheads). It’s worth checking customer reviews of the service before making a final decision.

If your vehicle is not damaged and your reason for changing the colour is purely aesthetic, you may also want to consider wrapping as an alternative. In many cases more cost-effective, wrapping entails covering an automobile with a special type of vinyl that can be removed without damaging the original paintwork. Ideal if you’re looking to do something particularly creative with your colour scheme, the sky's the limit for customisation with a vinyl wrap since it can be easily removed and won’t affect the long-term value of your car. Bear in mind that this is not a permanent solution, most wraps last around five years before they need to be removed or replaced.

Choosing a hue 

multi coloured car

If you’re considering selling your car, or the reason for the repaint is to increase your car’s value, it’s important to be mindful of the colour you choose. Neutral colours, on the whole, are the best for long-term value retention since they appeal to the widest audience. 

The most popular colours for new cars are black, grey, silver, blue, and white, and consequently these are the ones most likely to command a higher second-hand price, (one in five cars sold in 2018 was painted grey, for example). And, though more expensive, metallic paint is also widely sought after by second-hand buyers and will therefore increase resale value later on.

Of course, if the main reason for your respray (or rewrap) is to give your car a fun new look and you aren’t in a rush to sell it on, be as creative as you like with your colour choice.

Costs and overview

taped up car being resprayed

Arguably the most important factor in your decision is cost, and the truth is a professional car respray is not a cheap undertaking, most prices for a small car start from at least £1000; cheaper than a new car, but expensive enough to warrant careful thought before a decision is made. If a full repaint is out of your price range, consider selectively planning a new paint job, it may be that only one panel needs to be resprayed as opposed to the entire vehicle. 

If you do decide to opt for a full colour change, it’s also essential that the DVLA and your insurer are informed for tax and road safety purposes. As most insurers consider altering the colour of your car to be a modification this can mean a new, higher premium for your vehicle. Any alterations to your vehicle's appearance or performance that depart from the manufacturer's specifications (including colour) are considered to be car modifications. This is because these changes have an impact on the value of your car, which is one of the main factors considered by insurance companies when determining your premium. Changing the colour of your car, could make it more appealing to criminals and increase the likelihood of it being stolen, for example.

There are a multitude of factors to consider when deciding whether to repaint your car, and any such job will require careful consideration before a decision is made. Do some research about the value of your car, consider its size, age, how long you expect to keep it and how much the job would cost before making an informed judgement about whether a repaint is right for you.  

Do more with Boundless

To benefit from amazing offers, along with dozens of other deals on holidays, motoring services, experiences, shopping and more, join Boundless today. To find out how, visit our dedicated membership page.

You might also like