Smart Motorist » How Much Paint Is Needed To Paint a Car?

How Much Paint Is Needed To Paint a Car?

At some point in time, you will need to fix certain paint imperfections on your car. These imperfections result from several reasons. At times, a simple dab of paint in some spots will do the job efficiently.

However, at other times, especially in serious cases, you might require to repaint the vehicle completely. How much paint do you need to paint a car? Well, this post aims to answer that question as well as providing other information regarding just the right type of paint to use.

How Much Paint Is Needed To Paint a Car?

There are several variables to consider to know the amount of paint that you need. This includes the size of the car and the type of paint used. Let’s consider each of these variables.

Size of the car

Size of the car

The size of your car will decide the amount of paint required to coat the vehicle.

  • Medium-Sized cars

If you are a professional painter, a car of middling size will use 96 ounces of paint. However, if this is your first time, you might end up using up to one gallon of paint. For amateur painters, therefore, we recommend that they buy more paint than estimated before embarking on the painting project.

Aside from the level of expertise, if the car being painted has the exact color as new paint, you will need about a gallon. If the plan is to paint the car something different than what is presently on it, then you might use up to two gallons.

Now if you plan on using an airbrush or some other type of spray mechanism, you will need double the amount of paint used in the regular painting method.

  • Big sized cars

Professionals painting a big car like an SUV usually need around 7 quarts of paints. Amateur painters need more paint and can end up using up to two gallons.

As with medium-sized cars, painting a large car with similar colors will require about 2 gallons. But if it is something different, you require 2½ gallons. Furthermore, spray painting, usually with an airbrush, will require more paint.

Whether a big sized or small-sized vehicle, painting other parts of the vehicle like the boot or door jambs will require more paint than usual.

The type of paint required

In this section, we will consider the different types of paints that you can use on your car.

First of all, you should realize that the typical paint that you use in painting the walls of your room will not work for your car. Why? Well, car paint is specially made and is made for flexibility and durability. Unlike your house, a car moves and is subject to high levels of vibration. Hence, using regular paint, while it might look good initially, will result in plenty of cracking.

Hence, if you have any leftover paint, you should not think of putting it on your vehicle.

Paints to Use

Paints to Use

  • Primer

Primers are put on the car to help the paint stick to the body of the vehicle. If a primer is not added, your job will look horrible and terribly unprofessional. While your car will have a layer of paint, a lack of primer will mean that the paint won’t bond consistently.

When you see cars that have flaking or chipping paints, in most cases, this is caused by a lack of primer.

  • Base Coat

The base coat, as the name implies, is the layer of paint that goes on top of the primer. They do not have ant hardeners and are raw paint. You should not use the base coat and think the job is done. It might look pretty for a while, but since it doesn’t protect itself, it will let moisture in, which in turn can cause the surface of the car to rust.

  • Clear coat

The clear coat is paint without any pigments. Its main purpose is to protect the base coat and give it a shiny appearance. These paints are usually made from polyurethane or urethane. If properly maintained, the car can maintain the shine for long.

How to paint the car

Before we proceed in this section, here is a neat video that explains in more detail how to paint your car.

Here are some of the things you need before you embark on painting the car.

First, you must have time. Painting a car isn’t something that should be hurriedly done, especially if you are looking for good results. You will also need a good location like a shed or garage.

Aside from the paint, you will need sandpaper, a sander, masking tape, spray gun or air compressor, safety goggles, and thinners.

Before painting the car, you must prime the surface. You will need a primer for this. You are also required to reduce the color of the paint with a base layer before applying it on your car.

From experience, you will require 2 quarts of clear coat or primer per gallon of paint.

Remember that painting a new color over the previous color will use up more paint than painting the same color over.

For the last layer, we highly recommend that you use the layer of paint and add a clear coat which will serve to protect it and add a glossy shine to the paint.


From this post, you have seen that you should not use regular wall paint for your car. While it might seem like a bright idea and a way to save costs, it isn’t great for your car.

You have also seen the estimated amount of paint you will need for different sizes of cars. Armed with these and more information we have provided, we are sure you can go ahead and give your car a fresh new look!

Do you have any questions or comments? Feel free to express yourself in the box below!