How Much Paint To Paint a Car

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.

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.