Can You Spray Paint A Car? [With Pros And Cons]

If your car paint is fading and you add sticker shock at a new paint job, you may be considering spray painting your car. Before you go the spray paint route, there are some things you need to know. Let's look at the pros and cons of spray painting a car below.

Here are the pros and cons of spray painting your car:


  • Cost effective


  • Low quality
  • The paint won't last
  • Requires a lot of equipment
  • The paint won't match
  • Time consuming

As you can see, there are a lot more cons than pros to spray painting your car. In this article, we will explain each of the pros and cons in more detail. In addition, we will give ideas of other ways to fix your car's paint job without resorting to spray painting, so read on!

Paint spray can in the hand, Can You Spray Paint A Car? [With Pros And Cons]

Is Spray Painting Your Car A Good Idea?

Over time, your car's paint goes through a lot of wear and tear. Sunlight, rain, snow, and debris all work together to slowly damage and fade your paint job. When your paint starts to fade or chip, it can be a bit of an eyesore.

Painting the car with spray can

You might be considering just getting a new paint job, but that can be quite expensive. A quick and easy solution seems to just spray paint your car yourself. After all, it can't be that difficult, right?

Hold your horses because there is more to painting a car than just spraying paint on it. In fact, there are quite a few disadvantages to spray painting your car that you should consider before you start spraying. Let's go over some of the pros and cons of spray painting your car:

Pros Of Spray Painting A Car

There is only one pro of spray painting a car, in our opinion. Let's discuss it below.

Cost Effective

One of the biggest advantages of spray painting your car is that it is much cheaper than taking it to a professional or buying a new paint job. A professional paint job can easily be thousands of dollars, whereas a can of spray paint is only around $10-30.

However, there are some things you need to consider. Depending on the size of your vehicle, you may need dozens of cans of spray paint. Plus, you will need other supplies like painter's tape, drop cloths, and a respirator mask. All of these things can quickly add up.

The right way to do it would be to buy a paint sprayer. A paint sprayer will give you a more even coat and use less paint overall. However, paint sprayers can be expensive, so it's important to do your research before you make a purchase.

Nonetheless, a paint sprayer will make the process easier. Plus, you can buy primer and paint in one can, which will save you a step. Overall, painting your car with a paint sprayer is still cheaper than taking it to a professional.

Cons Of Spray Painting A Car

Now let's take a look at some of the cons of spray paint your car:

Low Quality

As we mentioned, you can buy a paint sprayer to increase the quality of your paint job. However, even with a paint sprayer, the quality will not be as good as a professional job.

Painter and sprayers

A professional painter has years of experience, and they know how to properly prep a car for painting. They use high-quality paint and equipment to give your car a long-lasting, durable finish.

Plus, a professional knows exactly how close to be to the surface while painting. They also know how long to wait in between coats.

If you don't do these things correctly, the paint could drip, run, or look uneven. In addition, the paint may not adhere properly to the surface, which means it will start to chip and peel within a few months.

The Paint Won't Last

Sun weathered car paint surface

Speaking of paint chipping and peeling, another disadvantage of spray painting your car is that the paint job won't last as long as a professional job.

Professionals use high-quality paint and equipment as we mentioned before. They also bake the paint, which helps it to last longer.

On the other hand, spray paint is not made to withstand the elements like professional paint is. So, it's more likely to fade, chip, and peel.

Plus, if you don't prep the surface correctly or use a paint sprayer, the paint job will look bad and won't last very long.

Requires A Lot Of Equipment

While it is less expensive than going to a professional, you will still need to buy or rent a lot of equipment to paint your car.

In addition to the paint and primer, you will need painter's tape, sanders, drop cloths, a respirator mask, and a paint sprayer. The reason we say this is if you don't have all the right supplies, you won't get a good paint job.

You can try to cut corners and use what you have around the house, but it's not worth it. If you want your paint job to look good, you need to use the proper equipment.

Not to mention you need a place to do the paint job. Paint jobs for cars are always done inside because you need a dust-free and temperature-controlled environment.

So, unless you have a garage or shed that you can use, you will need to rent a space.

The paint Won't Match

The other risk you take is that the paint won't match. Unless you buy your paint from a professional, it's hard to find an exact match.

Even if you think you've found the perfect color, it may look different once it dries. And, if you're painting your car a different color, you'll definitely need more than one can of paint.

If you don't get all of the paint in the exact same shade, it will be very noticeable. Plus, if you don't have an area to do the job and do it outside, the paint can get dirt or other particles in it, which will also affect the color.

Time Consuming

A DIY paint job isn't for the faint of heart. It will take several days—if not weeks—to complete.

You need to prep the surface, which includes sanding, cleaning, and priming. Then you have to paint, which could take a few coats. And finally, you need to let the paint dry completely before you can drive your car.

This can be a problem for people who only have one source of transportation. If you need your car to get to work or school, you may have to find another way to get around while you're waiting for the paint to dry.

So, these are some of the disadvantages of spray painting your car. As you can see, it's not a quick or easy process. Plus, there is a risk that the paint job won't turn out well.

Nonetheless, if you are a person who likes projects and doesn't need your car right away, then a DIY paint job could be a good option for you.

How Much Does A Professional Paint Job Cost?

Car painting procedure in car service

The cost of a professional paint job can vary widely depending on the make and model of your car as well as the type of paint job you want.

You might be able to find someone who will do a simple paint job for $500. However, most quality paint jobs are $1,000-3,500 or more.

If you are interested in getting a paint job for a truck or SUV, you can expect to pay even more. The larger the vehicle, the more paint it will require, and therefore the higher the cost.

The type of paint job you want will also affect the price. If you want a custom paint job with multiple colors or special effects, it will be more expensive than a basic paint job.

You may be able to save some money if you do the prep work yourself. However, we wouldn't recommend it unless you are experienced in painting cars.

Can You Vinyl Wrap A Car?

Mechanic painting a black car in workshop

A popular option for many people is to vinyl wrap their car. This is a process where you cover the entire car with a vinyl decal.

Vinyl wrapping can be more cost effective than painting because it doesn't require as much material or labor. Plus, it's easier to change the color of your car with a vinyl wrap. If you get tired of the color, you can simply peel off the wrap and put on a new one.

There are some disadvantages to vinyl wrapping, however. The biggest one is that it's not permanent. If you want to sell your car or trade it in, the dealership will likely remove the vinyl wrap before they do anything else.

Another disadvantage is that it's not as durable as paint. It won't last nearly as long, as it can peel off easily if it gets scratched or damaged.

Final Thoughts

It's not that we are trying to steer you away from doing a DIY paint job on your car. We just want you to be aware of the pros and cons before you make your decision.

If you are set on painting your car yourself, we wish you the best of luck. Just be sure to do your research and take your time so that you can get the best possible result.

Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might enjoy:

How To Remove Engine Enamel Paint

Caliper Paint Vs. Engine Enamel – Which To Choose?

How To Remove Scratches From Matte Car Paint

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