How Long Will a Repainted Car's Paint Job Last?

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New paint job on classic car (Photo: @AZ.BLT via Twenty20)
Getting your car repainted might feel like a hassle, but it’s a great way to breathe new life into your vehicle. A new coat of paint can take your car from looking old and boring to new and exciting. What more could you ask for?
But a lot of people who get their car repainted are worried that they’ll just have to turn around and get it painted again in a year or two. So how long exactly does a new paint job last? Read on to find out.

How long will a repainted car’s paint job last?

There are a lot of factors when it comes to the lifespan of a repainted car’s paint job, so you can’t put your finger on exactly how long a repainted car’s paint job will last. However, a good ballpark is 10 to 15 years. Most repainted cars will have their paint last for about that time.
However, if you have a poor paint job and don’t take care of your car, it might not last as long as 10 years. Similarly, if you get a high quality paint job and take great care of it, you can often blow past the 15 year mark while still looking relatively new. That spectrum is just for reference; there are plenty of repainted cars that fall outside of that range.
But most cars, and most paint jobs, will last somewhere in the 10 to 15 year range, so it’s a good barometer to use when evaluating how often you might need to repaint your car, or when you might expect to see it start to fade.

What impacts the life of a repainted car’s paint job?

There are two huge determinants when it comes to the lifespan of a repainted car’s paint job.
The first determinant is the type of paint being used. It should go without saying that a $500 paint job will be worse than a $5,000 paint job, which will in turn be worse than a $15,000 paint job. But it’s not just the aesthetic quality that will be impacted; it’s also the quality of the paint being used.
Different paints have different life spans. Some will last a very long time, and some won’t last very long at all. Usually the lifespan correlates pretty well to the price of the paint job, but not always. It’s always a good idea to do your homework, and ask the person painting your car how long the paint job will last.
The second determinant is things that you can do as a car owner. That’s covered in the next section.

What can you do to extend the life of your repainted car’s paint job?

There are a lot of things you can do to extend the life of the paint job on a repainted car. The most important one is to protect it from the elements. Paint is damaged by direct sunlight, salty air, and chemicals that might be in rain or snow. If possible, keep your car in a garage whenever you’re home. If that’s not possible, consider a car port or a car cover. And if those aren’t options, try to park in the shade as much as possible.
Speaking of shade, oftentimes you find shade under a tree, where your car might be liable to be hit by bird poop or tree sap. Those contaminants can damage a car’s paint, so try and get them off as quickly as possible, rather than letting them sit on your paint for long periods of time.
Finally, there’s no replacement for simply keeping your car clean. Wash it regularly, and wax it as often as you can (there’s no such thing as waxing a car too much). When washing your car, if possible, avoid using high-powered soaps like detergents and commercial car washes, and don’t use abrasive materials to wash. Keep things soft and gentle when washing, and just wash regularly.
With the right care, a repainted car’s paint job can last you a very long time.