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how many cans of spray paint to paint a car?

by Peter Morris
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The task of painting a car may be difficult for people who are not accustomed to the realm of automotive DIY. How many spray cans are needed to paint the surface of a car is one of the most often asked topics.

This page strives to offer a thorough overview of the subject, including information on other connected subjects and how many cans of spray paint you’ll need to paint and color a car. We’ve got you covered on everything from the cost, advantages, and disadvantages of painting to commonly asked questions.

So whether you’re an experienced do-it-yourselfer or a novice ready to tackle a new job, read on to learn all you need to know about spray painting a car.

How Many Cans of Spray Paint to Paint Take to Paint a Car?

The number of spray cans needed for car painting varies based on factors like car size, paint type, number of coats and specific areas. On average, 20 cans of paint are needed for the entire car surface, covering 15-20 square feet and requiring multiple coats.

Also Read: Can You Paint a Car Outside?

Can You Get Car Paint in Spray Cans?

Car paint is available in spray cans, thus the answer is certainly yes. Base coat paint, clear coat paint, primer and even specialty paints like Plasti Dip are all available in spray cans under several brands and subcategories of automotive paint. These materials are made to attach effectively to the surfaces of vehicles and survive the environmental conditions that they are subject to. You may choose the ideal paint job for your car from a variety of colors that are offered.

All kinds of car paint spray cans

All kinds of car paint spray cans

Can You Spray Paint a Whole Car?

It is feasible to paint a whole car surface with spray cans, however, it is more typical to utilize a spray gun and air compressor. However, it can be a fantastic alternative for DIY enthusiasts or for smaller paint jobs.

In comparison to utilizing a spray gun, it could take longer and produce less-than-ideal outcomes. The secret to success is perseverance and planning; you’ll need to paint the car in several layers of color and spend some time getting the surface ready.

Painting the car green with a spray can

Car painting with a spray can

Can You Really Get a Good Finish With Spray Cans?

Spray cans can be used to apply paint well, but careful planning, perseverance, and practice are necessary. The quality of the paint job will largely depend on how well you prepare the vehicle’s surface (priming, sanding and cleaning), how cautiously you use the paint (applying several thin coats is preferable to one thick colored coat), and how successfully you complete the job (sanding between coats and implementing a clear coat for shine and protection).

The best spray can paint to color cars, how to make a paint job look good with spray cans, and whether or not it is a smart idea to spray paint a car are all covered in the following sections. 

How Can You Make Spray Paint Look Professional?

The keys to a good spray can paint job are perseverance, skill and planning. Here are a few pieces of advice:

Clean and Prep the Surface

It’s essential to properly clean the car and sand the surface to get rid of any old paint or corrosion before you begin painting. This will end up resulting in a smoother finish and greater adhesion of the new paint.

Clean and Prep the Surface

Clean and Prep the Surface

Use Primer

To increase adhesion and lengthen the lifespan of the paint, a primer ought to be used before painting. Additionally, the primer might aid in hiding any minor flaws in the car’s exterior.

Using primer before painting the car

Using primer before painting the car

Apply Multiple Thin Coats

It is advisable to use many thin coats of paint on the surface rather than one heavy one. This can lead to a smoother finish and the reduction of drips and runs.

Sand Between Coats

It is an excellent idea to gently sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper following each application of paint. This may improve the adhesion of the subsequent coat and produce a smoother finish.

sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper following each application of paint

sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper following each application of paint

Finish with a Clear Coat

To preserve the paint job while providing it a glossy appearance, use a clear coat after the last application of paint.

Which Can of Spray Paint is Best for Cars?

Although there are several excellent spray paint companies to use on car surfaces, Rust-Oleum 2X Coverage Spray Paint is one of the finest. They produce a selection of colors for an automotive enamel-based product that is just meant for autos.

It lasts a long time, dries fast, and offers superb coverage. Other excellent choices are Plasti Dip for people who prefer a removable alternative and Dupli-Color Perfect Match for touch-ups.

All kinds of car paint spray cans

All kinds of car paint spray cans

Can You Paint a Car with Aerosol Cans?

The quantity of aerosol cans required for a car paint job is comparable to that of spray cans. Spray paint in aerosol cans is merely another variety, and it provides about the same coverage and color. Depending on the brand and style of paint, you may anticipate covering 15 to 20 square feet with one aerosol can.

However, it’s vital to consider the fact that the estimate mentioned for one coat of paint color is an approximate assumption. You must double the number of cans by the number of coats you intend to apply, which is often advised for an even, smooth and metallic finish and more longevity.

To paint the whole surface of your car, for instance, you could need about 60 aerosol cans if you’re using three coats of paint.

How Many Plasti Dip Spray Cans Are Needed to Paint a Car?

Spray paint that is specifically made to be easily washable is called Plasti Dip. This makes it a well-liked option for car owners who wish to alter the color of their vehicles without committing in the long run.

Depending on the size of the car and how many coats are applied, a different number of Plasti Dip cans may be needed. To cover an entire automobile with one coat of Plasti Dip, it typically takes 5–6 cans. Therefore, you will want between 20 to 24 cans of Plasti Dip if you intend to apply four coats of paint color, which is the optimum number for durability and complete coverage.

can of Plasti Dip paint for car painting

can of Plasti Dip paint for car painting

We’ll go through how many spray paint cans you’ll need in the next sections to paint various car components, such as the bumpers, doors, hood and top to your desired color.

To Paint a Car Hood

One of the biggest single panels on a car is its hood, which is frequently the area that people focus on first. Therefore, it’s critical to apply a uniform, smooth coat of paint to the hood. To completely color the hood with several coats, you could need on average 3–4 cans of spray paint. This estimate may change based on the hood’s size and the paint you’re using.

To Paint a Car Door

Although car doors are often smaller than the hood, they nevertheless need a lot of paint because of how visible they are. You should prepare the use of two to three cans of spray paint for each door of the car. This enables numerous coatings and guarantees complete covering. You could want additional cans if your car has larger doors or if the paint you’re applying provides less coverage.

Painting the car door with a can of spray paint

Painting the car door with a can of spray paint

To Paint a Car Bumper

Due to their design and the fact that they frequently use materials that are different from the rest of the car, bumpers may be challenging to paint. You could want 1-2 cans of spray paint, depending on the size and style of the bumper (front or rear). You could get better coverage and use fewer cans if you choose a paint made particularly for plastic bumpers and not for metal ones.

Painting the car bumper with a can of spray paint

Painting the car bumper with a can of spray paint

To Paint a Car Roof

Painting the roof of a car can be labor-intensive due to its size and flat nature especially if you want a smooth and uniform finish. Three to four cans of spray paint, on average, could be needed to cover the roof. In addition to a clear coat for shine and protection, this needs many applications to get complete coverage.

Painting the car roof with a can of spray paint

Painting the car roof with a can of spray paint

Pros and Cons of Spray Paint

Spray painting a car has benefits and drawbacks, just like any technique. 

Pros of Spray Paint:

  1. Cost-Effective: The cost of spray painting is typically cheaper than that of hiring a professional painter. Spray cans are inexpensive, so you don’t need to spend a lot of money on pricey equipment for your car’s solid color.
  2. DIY-Friendly: Spray painting your car might be a satisfying DIY project for you. You have complete control over the color procedure and the satisfaction of finishing the work on your own thanks to it.
  3. Versatility: You can create the precise appearance you desire with spray cans since they are available in a broad variety of colors and finishes.

Cons of Spray Paint:

  1. Time-Consuming: It might take a while to spray paint a car, especially if you want a professional result. There will be a need for several coats of paint for moisture resistance, along with drying intervals between.
  2. Skill Needed: It takes talent and repetition to spray paint with an even, flawless finish. If you’re not careful, it’s simple to wind up with drips, runs, or uneven coverage.
  3. Durability: Despite the fact that high-quality spray paints can be fairly durable, they could not last as long as an experienced paint job under the same circumstances.

How Much Does It Cost To Spray Paint A Car?

The car type (Hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs, etc.), the type of paint used, and the number of coats necessary can all have a considerable impact on the cost of spray painting a car. The price range for the paint and supplies is often between $100 and $500.

A professional paint job may cost several thousand dollars, so this is a lot less expensive. However, bear in mind that the worth of your time is not included in this. If you’re doing the job yourself, make sure to be ready to put in a lot of time.

The cheapest car paint sprays are introduced in the video below.

Also Read: How Much Does It Cost to Paint Correct a Car?

How Much Time Does It Take to Spray Paint a Car?

Depending on the size of the car, how many coats are used, and how long it takes for each coat to dry, spray painting a car can take a long time. Spray painting an automobile will typically take at least two to three days.

Included in this is the time needed for planning, painting, drying and finishing. But this is only a ballpark figure. It can take longer if you’re new to applying spray paint. Never forget that taking your time and being patient are the keys to a great paint job.
How Long Does Spray Paint Last On A Car?

The quality of the paint, the application and preparation procedures, and the environmental conditions the car is subjected to are some of the variables that affect how long a spray paint job on a car surface lasts. When sprayed correctly, high-quality spray paint can endure for several years.

However, if the car is frequently subjected to inclement weather or significant wear and tear, the paint color, regardless of whether black, white, blue, green or other type of custom colors, could not be as long-lasting as a professional paint job. Regular upkeep, including washing and waxing the vehicle, can help the paint job and color to last longer.


The DIY project of spray painting the surface of a car may give your car new life at a reasonable price. An automobile that you’re pleased to drive may be the result, even though it calls for some time, planning and talent. Spray paint is a flexible option whether you only want to touch up a few places or want to alter the color of your car surface entirely.

The preparation is the secret to a great paint job, keep in mind. For optimum effects, take the time to thoroughly clean and sand the surface of your car, use primer, then apply many thin coats of paint. For a glossy color finish and additional protection, don’t forget the clear coat.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much spray paint do I need if I want to paint my car?

20 cans of spray paint, on average, are required to paint the surface of the car completely. To achieve complete paint job coverage, this needs many coats.

How many liters of paint is required to spray my car?

The quantity of paint needed can vary, but on average, 3 to 4 liters of spray paint may be needed to cover a whole car in many layers of color.

How much can 1 Spray Can paint?

Spray paint usually covers a surface area of 15 to 20 square feet per container. The kind and brand of paint will have an impact on this.

Is 3 coats of spray paint enough?

Spray paint may be applied in three layers of color for optimum coverage and durability. However, the kind of paint and the color of your vehicle may affect how many coats are needed.

Will spray paint last on a car?

High-quality spray paint may survive for several years on a vehicle, especially if the car surface is well-maintained. The paint job might not be as long-lasting as one done by a specialist.

Can I use spray cans to paint my car?

Yes, spray cans can be used to paint cars. Although it is a cost-effective way, getting a nice outcome calls for talent and patience. It is also a good idea to look for a product that has environmentally friendly materials.

Is 2.5 liters of paint enough?

Depending on the number of coats and the size of the car, 2.5 liters of paint may be sufficient. You could need extra, though, if your car is larger or if you have several jackets.

How many hours does spray painting a vehicle take?

Depending on how big the automobile is and how many coats there are, spray painting a car surface can take several hours. Due to drying time, the treatment may take a few days to complete.

What size spray gun do I need to paint my car?

When utilizing a spray gun in place of cans, it is normally advised to use one with a 1.3mm–1.4mm nozzle for base coats and a 1.4mm–1.6mm nozzle for clear coats.

How long does automobile spray paint need to dry?

The total amount of time that it needs for spray paint to become dry to the touch and to completely dry could vary dependent on the type of paint used and the location, but usually speaking, it takes roughly four hours.

Is spray painting a car easy?

While spray painting a car needs some talent and perseverance, many DIY enthusiasts can complete the process with the appropriate planning and execution.

Can I drive a car after spray paint?

After the last coat of paint, it is advisable that you wait for a minimum of 24 hours before operating the vehicle. As a result, the paint may completely dry and solidify.

What is the best paint for beginners’ cars?

Aerosol spray cans are an excellent choice for novices because they are simple to use and don’t need any extra tools. For the greatest effects, choose high-quality car paint.

Can I apply acrylic spray paint on my car?

Absolutely, you can paint your vehicle using an acrylic product.

How durable is urethane paint?

Most modern cars feature urethane-based paint. This Urethane product has a lifetime of around 15 years since it does a great job of deflecting UV rays. Although, it is strongly recommended that due to its extreme toxicity, no one should actually use it.

How many solvent-based lacquer coats are required for a car?

Three to five typical wet coatings of solvent-based lacquer are applied, with enough time between each coat for flash-off.

Can I use an HVLP gun to paint a car?

Many users have come to love the HVLP gun. It is perfect for painting details on body panels, bumpers, fenders, and other tiny places.

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