Customization is the name of the game for car lovers, but coughing up the cash to do what you want can be a challenge.
That includes car paint jobs. Auto repainting isn’t cheap, even for a normal, everyday redo.
But isn’t it fun to dream? If you’re thinking of repainting, get some inspiration with a few paint jobs that will absolutely blow your mind.
And when you need to break from your reverie and return to reality, we’ll help you better calculate your paint job costs with a scratch and dent insurance comparison for when you need a car paint job.
Best Paint Jobs for a Big Budget
If you could go absolutely wild on repainting your car, would it be an homage to your favorite musician, movie, or TV show, or just one amazing eye-catching color?
Before you go ahead with any plans to customize your car with a new color or cool art, make sure it stands out from the crowd in a good way. First, check out lots of images of what you think you’d like.
Copy a Celebrity or Show
Let’s take a drive down memory lane, delighting in the most infamous paint jobs.
Musicians certainly don’t disappoint in their outlandishness. Standouts include John Lennon’s Romany-psychedelic Rolls Royce Phantom V Touring Limousine, which usually makes a brief appearance every year in the glass lobby of the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, British Columbia.
There’s also fellow Beatle George Harrison’s mystically painted Mini, as well as Janis Joplin’s uniquely muraled Porsche 356 convertible, ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons’ “The Eliminator” featured on album covers and in videos, and even Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker’s custom 1954 Cadillac that was given a gold metallic paint job.
If you want to get inspiration from movie cars, try some of the following, which others have actually recreated with their vehicles:
- Grease’s “Greased Lightning” Ford
- Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1
- The Jurassic Park Jeep
- Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby’s Wonder Bread F1
- Transformers’ Optimus Prime
- The Fast and the Furious’ Mitsubishi Eclipse
- Cars’ Tow Mater
- A replica of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
And don’t forget some out-of-sight paint jobs from TV shows, including The Dukes of Hazzard’s “General Lee,” Starsky & Hutch’s Ford Gran Torino, and The A-Team’s GMC Vandura.
Pick a Unique Color
With silver, white, and black the most popular car colors these days, according to Kelley Blue Book, a red car will really stand out. The standout among reds is “Ferrari Red,” or Rosso Corsa. It’s a classic color for Ferraris. And it’s absurdly expensive for a custom paint job — starting at $28,000.
Choose a Cool Name
If you want a cool name to go with your cool paint job, then here are some dandies.
Dodge outdoes itself on color-naming creativity. Its long list includes Blu By You, Go Mango, Panther Pink (can you tell this name was created in the 1970s?), Plum Crazy, Sub-Lime, Yellow Jacket, and White Noise.
Ford has a few interesting ones, too: Anti-Establish Mint, Bring ‘Em Back Olive, Freudian Gilt, and Original Cinnamon.
Don’t Forget the Extras
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is car beauty doubly so? Some car owners have gone the extra mile, so to speak, in adding textures and other highlights to their car paint jobs.
You may either scratch your head about some of the following — or maybe a light bulb will appear. They include:
- Deep black with electric blue piping (another Transformers fan!)
- A wood effect if you’re pining for those retro station wagons
- Additional streaks of paint if you’re going for that modern-art look
- Aa crocodile or snake-skin effect
- Sticking pennies all over your car
- The always attention-grabbing flame effects
Insuring Your Car’s Paint Job
If you want to get a paint job for your car for simply aesthetic reasons, don’t expect financial assistance from your car insurance company.
In fact, if you’re going high end, you’re adding value to your car, so you should update your car insurance company.
A custom paint job increases the fair market value of your car and the cost to repair it. This means your insurance policy’s comprehensive and collision premiums will most likely increase. It would fall under custom parts and equipment coverage.
While no one wants to incur a higher insurance rate, if you don’t update your insurer to get the proper coverage, you’ll only receive the color as manufactured if you need to file a claim.
Here’s when you can expect an insurance company to pitch in.
Comprehensive Car Insurance Coverage
Note that we mentioned comprehensive and collision insurance. This is the type of coverage you’ll need if your car has been in a wreck and needs collision repair as well as auto painting to restore it to its pre-accident condition.
While there’s no specific scratch-and-dent insurance, if you want to include this coverage for your car, you’ll need to carry more than your state’s minimum insurance requirements, which usually only mandates liability car insurance.
You’ll need comprehensive coverage, which covers damage to your car resulting from vandalism, falling objects, weather, or animals.
Weighing Your Deductible and Your Claim
“Scratch and dent” coverage costs between $300-$500 annually. And when you file a claim, your premium might increase.
So when you’re pondering whether to file a claim regarding car scratches and painting, get an estimate on the repair cost. The greater your repair cost above your insurance deductible, the more likely you should file a claim.
Ensuring a Paint Job Stays Prime
After you’ve spent all that money — even if you were lucky and it was just your car insurance deductible — don’t waste any money by not taking proper care of that new paint job.
Some important tips to keep a car paint job looking like new include:
- Go dark: Reduce cracking and fading by parking your car out of the sun. Parking inside also reduces your chances of bird and sap droppings. If you don’t get to them right away, you run the risk of scratching your paint when you try to scrub them off.
An insurance tip: If you garage your car, ask your insurer if there is a discount for that. If so, it’s usually 5 percent, but it can be more if you live in an area where your insurance company considers your car to be highly susceptible to bad weather, theft, or vandalism.
- Go dry: Did you know repeated washing with water can wear down your exterior paint? In between washings, brush off the dirt and dust from the top of the paint with a microfiber brush.
- Go mild: When you do “add water” and wash your car, steer clear of the typical car wash. They’re convenient, but those places have too-abrasive spinning brushes and too-strong cleaning products. Use a mild soap and a sponge or rag. And dry thoroughly with a chamois or any soft, lint-free cloth.
- Go ceramic: After drying, then wax, of course … unless you want to try an optional protectant: ceramic coating. It’s a nano-coating that provides a higher durability and lasts longer than wax. This coating is more expensive than wax, but it resists heat, UV rays, and environmental contaminants much better than wax does.
Karen Condor is an insurance expert who writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, CarInsuranceComparison.com.