How much paint do I need to paint a car hood?

It is impossible to say exactly how much paint will be used to paint a whole car or a body part, but there are basic principles that will help you understand the amount needed when painting a car body.

On average the car hood needs 200 to 600 grams (7 to 11 ounces) of undiluted paint. The hood is a bigger car part than other body parts and the amount of paint needed is up to 2 times more. It should be borne in mind that the car hood must be painted on both sides.

You will have to take in account that the amount of paint is affected by several factors like:

  • Car size
  • The original paint color on the body
  • Paint quality
  • Spray gun type
  • Painter experience

Let’s take a closer look at each point.

Of course, the larger the car, the more paint it will take to paint it. For example, to paint a small car will require less than 2 liters (0.53 gallons) of undiluted paint, while painting an SUV with a large body area and paint, will require more. It is also necessary to consider whether the openings will be painted. This will also increase the quantity of paint.

Original car body paint color

The amount of paint needed to paint a car or a body part also depends on what color the car will be painted and what the original color of the painted surface is. If the body panel has a color that contrasts with the one being sprayed, then more paint is needed.

Hiding power is the ability of the paint to completely overlap the color of the surface when spraying, to cover the underlying color with the sprayed color. Thus, the more hiding power the paint has, the less paint will be needed to paint the body part.

Colors such as yellow, red, and blue can be harder to hide, so more paint may be needed to overlap the original color. If the paint is slightly overlapping, you will need to apply more coats to paint the substrate.

For example, up to 10 or more coats may be required when painting red and yellow. Colors such as black, white, and bright green are much easier to hide.

If a car is repainted because of numerous small defects and scratches, it means that the car will be sanded off during the preparation of the body for painting, and it will take less paint than when changing the car color. The color of the undercoat will affect the final shade of the paint.

Paint quality

Paint from different manufacturers can have a different composition and, accordingly, different covering ability. High-quality opaque paint can cover the substrate in 2-3 layers.

Spray gun type

The spray gun device significantly affects paint consumption. HVLP spray guns have a high transfer rate of paint and varnish material to the painted surface. For high-quality spray guns of the HVLP system, this percentage is at least 75%. When painting with such spray guns, the paint hits the part to the maximum and does not fly around.

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From my personal experience, I can say that when I take high-quality paint in the amount recommended for painting the parts I need, the paint often remains (sometimes more than half). From my point of view, I am convinced that a high-quality economical spray gun significantly reduces paint consumption.

Painter experience

The amount of paint that is required to paint a car body also depends on the professionalism of the person who is doing this job. An experienced painter will adjust the spray gun correctly and dilute the paint correctly. 

The paint should not be applied in the form of dust, but when it hits the surface, it should spread well. It is wiser to first paint over the repair areas and replaced body panels that are in a different color from the rest of the body. Then you can already proceed to the phased painting of all body parts.

Base paint and varnish

If the car will be painted with paint that requires further varnish, then the varnish may be required more than the base paint. It is necessary to create a certain thickness with varnish since it is a protective coating. 

For example, if it takes about 2 liters or 0.53 gallons of base paint to paint the whole car, then 3 – 3.5 liters (0.80 – 0.92 gallons) of varnish may be required. 

Even if a smaller amount of varnish goes away, it is better to take it with a margin and dilute it not all at once, but as it is consumed. The remaining, not diluted varnish will be useful in the future when painting any car.

In general, the amount of varnish depends on the area to be varnished and not on the amount of base paint. The amount of paint and varnish may be the same.

How much does it costs to paint the car hood?

The average cost for the amount of paint needed for a car hood is around $50 to $150 but this will depend on the car make and model, o shortly on the hood size, and the color. Remember that the hood needs to be painted on both sides.

If you choose to paint the car yourself costs will be significanlty reduced but you will need to know exactly what you are doing and prepare for a job that will last a lot.

If you go to professionals, which I advise you to, the cost for a job well-done will be around $200 to $1200, just for the hood, but this will depend on the workshop, car model, and if the hood has dents, scratches or other imperfections that could raise the labor price.

Personal advice

  • You should always buy more paint and varnish than you need. The remainder can be stored until you will need it for another job. The rest of the base paint can be saved in the container and remember to close it tightly. It does not contain any hardener and will last long enough. Even if the paint thickens after a while, it can always be diluted with a thinner. Before varnishing, you need to dilute half of the purchased varnish and, if necessary, dilute an additional amount of varnish.
  • It must be remembered that the base paint and the two-component acrylic paint are diluted with different thinners. If the base paint (requiring subsequent varnishing) is diluted with a universal acrylic thinner, then painting defects may occur.
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