Paintwork: Why the Expense?

Paintwork can be an expensive cost for your car, but why is it so expensive? Here, we will explain what goes into paintwork and the reason for the price.

1. Cost of materials.
Paintwork doesn’t just include the cost of the paint. Other materials are needed and used such as primer, lacquer, sanding discs, primer, filler, masking, polishing. These materials all cost money and count towards the overall price of the job.

Different colours mean different costs. One of the cheapest colours is white, but if you went for Monogram then that would be a considerable amount more!
Paint is produced all over the world, there are many countries that have very little quality control and therefore can produce very cheap paint under cutting the UK market. The quality reflects in the finished piece and longevity of the paintwork. This can naturally affect the price so do check the origin of the paint.

2. Technique/Skill (Labour)

Dents must be pulled out, filled, shaped and sanded. This takes time (and skill) for this to be done correctly.
If it is a bumper repair (more-so on a modern car), then it isn’t a simple case of unscrewing a few bolts. The bumper can be connected to certain vehicle systems such as lights/airbag sensors/parking sensors, which takes time and effort to disconnect, before the bumper is removed.

Plastic welding is often an area of repair required when dealing with bumpers and trim after an accident has occurred, however, this can be significantly cheaper than replacing for new or second-hand panels. This does add labour costs but can save money overall.

Prices can also escalate when paintwork is not localised to just one panel. Many painters who take pride in the finished job will often blend the paintwork in to the adjacent panels to give a better visual colour match. Rather than edge-to-edge which could appear to be a different colour even though it’s not!

Prep work, before the car is painted, also takes time and skill – it is highly important for a body shop to have great attention to detail, as you wouldn’t want your car to look funny and out of shape. Every trace of visible paint finish needs cleaning, rubbing down and preparing to take new paint.

If you are having a full respray, various parts of the car need to be dismantled to reach the edges. This, again, takes time. You can get cheap paint jobs where someone just masks the vehicle without any disassembly and does an over-coat on the visible bits, but this is likely to have a dry finish on all the least accessible bits (this is where a finish has no gloss or shine and feels like smooth sandpaper). Also, unless it is the same, exact colour as the original then the original colour will be visible in places that are not easy to mask and paint.
All the above equals time, which (yes) does equal money. Labour. Body shops have different labour rates and our advice to you is to get several quotes, look at reviews and if possible view their previous work. The lowest quotes are not always best as the materials may be poor which would affect the quality of the paintwork (and how long it lasts).

3. Top Coats (E.g. Lacquer)

One of the most expensive items on the list. For modern vehicles, today’s modern body shops also incorporate sealants, or clear coat that car makers put on top of paint.
Although clear coats are expensive, they are needed as they protect your vehicle’s paintwork from harmful UV rays, salt, dirt and other chemicals. The finish on a car is most important as it protects the car’s paint and its value.

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