How Much to Paint a Truck?

Small bronze pickup truck on dirt road

Trucks can do a lot of things: haul construction materials, transport umbrellas and toys to the beach, or simply get the driver to where they need to be. But just because a truck is functional doesn’t mean it can’t look good, too.

Sometimes a fresh coat of paint is all that’s needed to make an older truck look like new. A fresh paint job can even add to a truck’s resale value! To get started, all you need is to choose a color and buy the paint in any color you like.

But, how much does it cost to have a truck repainted, and how much paint is needed? 

When Does a Truck Need to be Repainted?

Repainting a truck can be done purely for aesthetic reasons, but when does it become a necessity? Here are some indicators that a truck may need to be repainted to keep it in good condition.

The Clear Coat Has Thinned or Peeled Away

Most vehicles have a clear coat over the paint to protect the finish and keep the vehicle looking good. A truck that has peeling paint or has faded color–something that’s most common with red and black trucks–may need to be repainted to prevent additional fading or damage to the paint.

Rust Spots Have Appeared

A small rust spot might not seem like a big deal, but if it’s left untreated it can easily spread and impact the integrity of any vehicle. 

According to CarFax, rust is a problem because iron oxide is brittle and cannot absorb an impact as well as unrusted metal. Anything that can affect the ability of a truck to withstand a collision is something that must be addressed immediately, and that includes rust.

The Truck is Scratched or Dented

Scratches and dents may occur for a variety of reasons. If a truck has been in a fender bender or was banged up off-roading, it may be time for a new paint job.

If left alone, dents and scratches can develop into rust because they may leave metal exposed to the elements. Remember, rust is brittle and may put occupants of the truck at risk in a collision.

The Shine Has Faded

A truck might not need to be shiny to be useful, but a lack of shine may indicate that the truck is in need of repainting. Most of the shine on a vehicle comes from the clear coat and when that fades, it leaves the paint exposed.

Repainting may be necessary to refresh the paint and reapply the clear coat, leaving the truck protected against the elements.

How Much Paint to Paint a Truck?

Some truck owners may opt to have a professional paint job, but anybody who wants to do the job themselves will need to calculate the amount of paint needed to repaint their truck.

Here are some things that can affect how much paint is needed.

  1. The size of the truck. A large pickup truck will need more paint than a small one, and a van has more surface area than a small pickup.
  2. The area being repainted. Only a small amount of paint is needed for spot repairs, but repainting an entire truck will take a significant amount of paint.
  3. The type of paint being used. Some truck owners like metallic paint but it’s important to note that metallic paint doesn’t cover as evenly as non-metallic paint and may require additional coats to get a consistent appearance.
  4. The application method. Using a spray mechanism to repaint a truck requires twice as much paint as using a brush according to Vehicle Scene.

The most important calculation to make is the area of the truck being painted because the area will help you decide how much paint to buy. In most cases you’ll need about 2.25 gallons to paint a truck and an additional two quarts for a van and, as noted above, you should multiply that number by two for spray painting.

Vintage Chevy pickup painted sky blue

DIY vs Professional Painting

Anybody who wants to repaint a truck should understand the differences between DIY and hiring a professional.

DIY Painting

DIY painting may be less expensive than hiring a professional. However, it’s important to know the risks of DIY truck painting.

Some of the pitfalls of DIY painting include the following.

  • Cost. Car paint can range from $35/gallon for basic paint to $100/gallon or more for custom paint and that doesn’t count the equipment needed.
  • Curing. Car paint may take days to cure properly and driving before it’s cured may ruin the paint job.
  • Mistakes. A sloppy paint job may cost far more to repair and redo than it would cost to hire a professional in the first place.

The biggest benefit of DIY painting is that people who do it well can save money even if they opt for custom colors.

Professional Truck Painting

Professional truck painting may cost from $500 to $1,000 or more depending on who does the work and what kind and color of paint is used.

Custom paint colors will always cost more than standard colors. Anybody who has their heart set on a lilac or emerald green truck should expect to pay extra for the paint.

The benefits of professional painting are that the job will get done right the first time and there won’t be streaks. Anybody who doesn’t have experience with truck painting should hire a professional for the best results.

Give Your Truck a Makeover

A truck that’s been on the road (or off road) for a while may not be looking its best. A new paint job can take a dilapidated truck and make it look like it just rolled off the production line. Whether you DIY the paint job or hire a pro, your truck can look like new after it’s been repainted.

This entry was posted in DIY, Lifestyle and tagged , . By Aimee Parrott