Contemplating a Color Change

pink car
Be sure you are committed to your car's paint color. Getty

Having your car painted is a huge decision. First and foremost is the matter of cost - painting a car is expensive, even if you try to keep things as cheap as possible. But a new paint job can really make you feel like your car is exciting again. It's up to you to decide whether the expense is worth it. Once you've made the decision to paint your car, you're presented with a new quandary.

Wouldn't it be fun to paint your car a different color? A new shade would really make it seem like you have a nice new ride. You really loved that deep shade of wine when you bought your car, but now a bright yellow car would really put your mood in the right place on the way to the office. Before you make the leap and commit to a color change, there are some things to consider.


Repainting a car or truck is an expensive endeavor regardless of the specifics. But adding a color change can almost double the cost of some paint jobs! No kidding. Why does it cost so much more to change the color of a vehicle than repaint it in the same color? When you repaint a car the same color, you can usually just paint the parts of the vehicle that are regularly exposed to weather. You paint the top, sides, front and back. But the hidden bits, the parts that don't get baked in the sun and pounded by rain, usually still look fine. These are things like the door jambs (the surface of the door openings that carry the latches), inside the trunk, inside the engine compartment -- literally all over the place. Next time you're poking around your car, take a look at how many parts of it are painted. If you change the color all of these should be changed, too. 

As with most things, there are corners you can cut to save a buck. A paint shop will usually charge you a specified amount per added area you're painting. Depending on how drastic your color change is, and how picky you are about the details of your paint job, some or all of these areas could be skipped. Some people will opt to change the color of the door jambs so you don't see a sharp contrast every time you open the door, but they will skip the engine compartment and the inside trunk to save a few hundred dollars (or more). 

There are some people who try to paint their own trunk or jambs before the pros get to work. It's possible, but the results are mixed. Matching the paint is especially tough. 


The decision on whether or not to change the color of your car during a repaint should depend a lot on what car or truck you own and what it's worth. The value of your vehicle can be greatly affected by any repaint, but a color change can really swing the resale value in a direction. Unfortunately this direction is usually negative. No matter how ugly your color was to begin with, a repaint with color change will almost never increase the value of the car. In the case of higher dollar or antique vehicles, the value can suffer as much as 20 percent! Another consideration is how long you plan to keep the vehicle. If you're in it for the long haul, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy your new paint job without worrying about the value of the vehicle. If you plan to sell or trade it in soon, you may want to suffer through the original color a little longer. All this being said, if your vehicle isn't especially valuable - which could very well be the case considering your paint is so shot - you may want to go for it.

There are always things to consider when you're going to be spending money on your car, make a decision you're comfortable with!