How Much Paint To Paint a Car

How Much Paint To Paint a Car

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In this quick video and blog post I’ll talk about a common question that a lot of newbie auto painters ask themselves. How much paint do I need to paint my car? How much paint to paint a car?

The video above explains it all.

But for the readers, I’ll break it down. You want to ask yourself two questions.

1. What size is your vehicle?

2. What type of paint do you plan on using? Will you use enamel, or will you be using base coat clear coat?

For example: Let’s say we’re painting a small Mazda Miata with  single stage enamel paint. And because the car is small we’ll only need about 2-2.5 quarts of mixed paint to cover the vehicle two times.

When painting an averaged sized car, a one gallon kit (of enamel paint) is usually just enough for a medium sized sedan car or light truck. Most times you’ll have a little extra.

This is why when painting your car, I do not recommend mixing the whole kit at once. I would mix 3/4 of the kit, then start spraying. Most times that will be enough. If you need more, just mix half of the left over, or all of it.

Basecoat Clearcoat Paint- How Much Paint To Paint a Car?

When painting with a two stake paint you not only need the color (base coat) you’ll also need the clear coat, hence base coat, clear coat.

how much paint to paint a car

Example average sized sedan, 2000 Nissan Sentra 4 door sedan:
If painting a car the same color ( maybe you have a few bodywork primer areas) no biggie, Most times, 2-2.5 quarts will be plenty. As you may have already learned on this site, basecoat is always mixed to a 1/1 ratio. So if you have 2 quarts of base, it will make a gallon of sprayable material. If you have a litre of base, it will give you two litre of sprayable material after being reduced with your reducer. Are you with me? if not, just comment below.

If painting a medium sized car a totally different color and you’re doing door jambs, under the hood, trunk etc… 3 quarts will be enough. It will give you 1.5 gallons of paint to spray with. That’s a lot.

The great thing about base coat that I didn’t mention in the video is… You can save and store it if you have left overs. It will not go bad. Just pour it back in a can and seal it up. You can use it a month, or a year later, no problem. Just make sure to check the consistency before using it on your next painting project. Long sitting times may cause the reducer evaporate leaving you with a thicker paint. All you’ll have to do is add a little reducer. Note: you will NOT notice a much thicker paint, it’s almost unnoticeable.

Clear Coat – How Much Paint To Paint a Car?

When buying clear coat get a one gallon kit. It will be more than enough for your complete project big or small. Like I always say, don’t mix the whole thing. Once you mix clear with your activator (hardener) that’s it. You can’t store it and reuse it next week.

It would be a waste if you mixed the entire gallon of clear and only used half or 3/4 of it. Clear can be expensive. Yep, clear can run from $100. a kit to over $300. a kit.

If painting a smaller car like a Miata or a MINI, I would say 2.5 – 3 quarts of mixed clear will be more than enough. Have a gallon of clear ready for painting when painting a large classic Chevy, truck or van.

To learn more about how much it costs to paint a car go here:

To learn about how to mix automotive paint go here:

I hope you learned a lot from this post and let me ask you… how much paint do you need to paint your car?

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26 thoughts on “How Much Paint To Paint a Car”

  1. A very instructive video. It clearly lays down a general guide on much and what type of paint required to do the job. Good Tony when I grow up, I want ta be like you!!

  2. Hi Tony, I am planning to repaint my car its a Nissan March original colour metallic blue, I have to do some body work and then paint, how much of base coat and clear coat i need?

  3. Im painting a 1996 Toyota Corolla DX, changing the color from a much faded “gold” to a slightly darker “grey/silver”…how much paint would I need and which method would you recommend: basecoatclearcoat, or enamel?

    • It depends on your budget. Single stage which is your enamel, is cheaper, faster to spray and will usually last 3-10 years if you care for it. Base/clear is 2-3x more money, and takes double the time to spray, but you can also do a little more with your clear such as adding pearl, or flakes etc… if you choose to. I think you’ll need a 1 Gallon kit for single stage, and have extra left over. Don’t mix all of the paint at once, I would mix half at first. You should have 1 quart of extra. For base, get a 1 gallon kit of clear (you’ll have extra), and 2 quarts of base. When reduced that will give you 1 gallon of sprayable material, and that should be enough. Hope this helps. If you want to learn more of this in step-by-step detail, be sure to check out what we have in VIP for you!

  4. I want to paint my 2008 f250 from white to black. About 6″ along the bottom all the way around the truck will be mostly bondo (I think that’s the correct wording, I am not automobile intelligent) due to damage from off roading. What’s my process for the paint on repair work? How much black paint will I need to cover the bondo and white?

    • Hey Jeff, It’s quite difficult to explain the process here. You can join me in my YouTube live streams so I can directly explain it to you. I do a lot of Q&A and answer my viewers’ most burning questions on their own projects. Or, you can also sign up to The Pub. It’s a FREE forum community where everyone can post their auto body questions: Thanks, man!

  5. I am painting a 2008 f250. Changing from white to black. Bottom six inches all the way around the truck will be repaired with bondo. What is my process for painting over the bondo and painting over the white? How much paint will I need?

    • Hey Jeff, It’s quite difficult to explain the process here. You can join me in my YouTube live streams so I can directly explain it to you. I do a lot of Q&A and answer my viewers’ most burning questions on their own projects. Or, you can also sign up to The Pub. It’s a FREE forum community where everyone can post their auto body questions: Thanks, man!

  6. hey I’m going to be repainting a 4 door 1995 Hyundai accent and I just want one clear coat, and going to be painting it metallic black.

  7. I just a few hours ago painted my 2g dsm with single stage grey. I used about 2qts of paint,that includes reducer. I didn’t paint door jams as it was already very similar color and under hood is a high contrast(aka a very bright green).
    Just to give anyone browsing an idea of how much paint needed.
    I painted over primered body repairs as well. I gave it a very light tack coat and 2 coats after.

  8. I’m painting a 2004 Yukon the original base/clear I replaced rockers lower quarters and both fenders, how much base and clear would u say I need, thanks


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