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Is it expensive to paint a car matte black?

Painting a car any color can get pricey, but choosing a specialty finish like matte black typically costs more than a standard gloss paint job. Matte paint has a unique flat, non-reflective appearance that requires extra preparation and materials to achieve properly. While the exact cost depends on the size and condition of your car, on average, expect to spend $2000-$5000 to paint a car matte black.

Factors That Influence Matte Paint Job Cost

Several key factors determine how much you’ll pay for a matte black paint job:

Size of the Vehicle

Larger vehicles with more surface area to cover will be more expensive to paint. For example:

Vehicle Average Cost to Paint Matte Black
Small/compact car $2000 – $3000
Midsize sedan $3000 – $4000
Full-size SUV $4000 – $5000

Paint Shop Rates

Like other automotive services, body shops charge hourly labor rates for painting that average $40-$100 per hour. More specialized paint shops and high-end dealerships cost more.


The cost of living and wages in your region also affect paint shop rates. Larger metropolitan areas are generally more expensive than smaller towns.

Custom Paint Options

Custom paint techniques like two-tone finishes, stripes, and graphics add to your costs. Matte wraps or vinyl finishes are an affordable alternative for custom looks.

Condition of the Surface

Extensive repairs or bodywork required to fix dents, scratches, or rust prior to painting will increase the number of shop hours required for your project.

What is Matte Paint?

Matte paint has a non-glossy, flat finish that eliminates reflections. This subtler appearance is achieved by using a different ratio of ingredients in the paint:

Gloss Paint Matte Paint
Higher resin content Higher pigment content
Higher gloss additive ratio Lower gloss additive ratio

These formulation differences make the matte finish more difficult to apply evenly. Painting a car matte black requires careful technique from skilled auto body painters.

How to Paint a Car Matte Black

Here is an overview of the steps required to paint a car matte black:

Wash and Prep the Surface

Thoroughly clean the vehicle and remove any dents or rust spots that require body filler. Sand the entire surface to rough up the old paint so the matte coating will adhere properly.

Prime and Seal

Apply primer and sealer to the vehicle to smooth imperfections and provide a consistent base for the matte clearcoat. Ensure proper curing between coats.

Spray Matte Paint

Specialized matte clearcoat paint is applied with an HVLP spray gun in controlled, even passes to create the smooth matte finish. Additional coats enhance the non-reflective appearance.

Cut and Buff

The painted surface is shaped and smoothed using cutting compounds applied by buffer. This removes any texture or inconsistencies in the matte paint.

Detail and Clean

Finally, the freshly painted car is washed, detailed, and cleaned up for delivery. Minor overspray or dust is carefully removed.

Benefits of a Matte Black Paint Job

Despite the higher cost, a matte paint finish offers some unique advantages:

Eye-Catching Appearance

Matte black paint attracts attention with its stylish, stealthy look. It can give your car or truck a high-end customized appearance.

Great With Chrome

The muted matte finish contrasts beautifully with bright chrome trim and wheels. Blacking out all chrome components enhances the sinister vibe.

Touch Up Friendly

Small scratches and swirl marks in matte paint tend to be less visible than gloss paint. This makes maintenance and touch-ups easier.

Durable Finish

Matte paint holds up well to regular driving conditions. Keeping it looking clean requires special care though.

Caring for Matte Black Paint

While durable, matte paint does require some extra care to keep it looking fresh:

Frequent Washing

Wash often with soap and water to prevent dust and dirt from accumulating on the surface. Avoid automatic car washes.

Matte Paint Cleaner

Use a cleaner formulated for matte or satin finishes to remove stuck on grime safely. Do not polish or wax.

Avoid Automatic Car Washes

The brushes and material of automatic washes can leave irreparable scratches and swirl marks on matte paint.

Be Careful With Fluids

Rinse bird droppings, sap, and other fluids off the paint quickly to prevent permanent staining.

Touch Up Paint Chips

Use touch-up paint to fix stone chips and scratches to prevent oxidation damage to exposed primer.

Is Matte Car Paint Worth the Investment?

While pricier than a standard gloss paint job, a matte black finish offers a dramatically different appearance that really stands out. It can give your vehicle a high-end customized look when done properly. The extra care required is a fair tradeoff for its visual impact.

Investing $2000-$5000 for a professional matte paint job is worthwhile for car enthusiasts who value aesthetics and turning heads over affordability. It can transform an ordinary vehicle into a showstopper.

For more casual vehicle owners or limited budgets, consider alternative approaches like plasti-dip, matte wraps, or matte vinyl decals to get the flat black look temporarily. Or, opt for painting smaller exterior components like the hood or roof matte black rather than the entire vehicle.

Properly caring for and maintaining your matte paint job is also essential to extend its longevity and look. Avoid automatic car washes, wash frequently by hand, and use dedicated matte paint cleaners to safely enhance the finish.

Overall, matte black car paint provides a stunning, head-turning finish that offers great visual reward for the premium price. While not inexpensive, the added cost can be justified for the right vehicle.


Painting a car matte black typically costs between $2000-$5000 depending on the vehicle size, customization options, paint shop rates, and your location. While pricier than standard paint, it provides a dramatic high-end appearance when professionally applied. With proper maintenance, a matte finish can be a worthwhile investment for car enthusiasts focused on aesthetics and styling. Considering your budget and commitment to care requirements helps determine if it is the right choice for you.