If you’ve had a motorcycle for a while, you know it eventually needs to be repainted. The reason could be anything from having bumps or scratches on the surface that you want to conceal to simply not liking the old paint.
Remember that repainting a bike is part of its maintenance and has an impact on its resale value. Do you think your motorcycle needs a little retouching but are worried that it will probably cost you a bomb? Well, not if you paint it yourself or are smart while hiring a professional.
In this article, we will be answering all your questions related to painting a motorcycle. We will also be telling you an estimated cost of the task and things you need to keep in mind. Read on.
How Much Does it Cost to Paint a Motorcycle?
The cost of painting a motorcycle depends on the paintable parts and also the panels that the bike has.
You cannot paint a motorcycle that doesn’t have much plastic paneling. Consider the Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Some bikes, on the other hand, have removable panels that can be easily painted and reinstalled. Take, for example, dirt bikes.
Painting the fuel tank
Painting the fuel tank of a bike is the easiest task there is. That is because you can simply remove the gas tank to repaint it. It is mostly a DIY job that can be done using spray paint. It is likely to cost you a couple of dollars.
But it also depends on the type of painting you want to get done on your gas tank. For instance, getting an art piece or a specific pattern painted on a bike is usually a professional’s job unless you want to take matters into your own hands. But in case you just wish to conceal the bumps or scratches, you can just buy a spray can and do it yourself.
A professional at a paint shop will charge you an additional fee for labor hours and paint. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on your bike, DIY-ing is a good option.
Painting the whole bike
We think that it goes without saying that painting the whole bike is going to be expensive. This will include the side panels, side cover, rear fenders, fairings, and frame of the motorcycle. You will have to disassemble the bike, paint all the parts separately, and reinstall them once you are done.
What is the Average DIY Cost of Painting a Motorcycle?
The estimated cost of DIY painting a motorcycle ranges between $10 to $100. The exact cost can be determined by how much you want to paint it and the material used.
Here are three steps you need to follow:
The first and the most crucial step of painting a bike is to sand it. Sanding your motorcycle smoothes out the surface and makes it more pliable to the touch. It’s a time-consuming process, but it’s the one that determines how good your paint job will turn out in the end.
Use sandpaper that won’t leave any big scratches. An 80 grit sandpaper should work for starters, and then you can move up to 120, 200, and even 400 grit. We suggest you wear a dust mask during this.
The motorcycle needs to be completely clean before you start painting. Otherwise, the tiny dust particles on its surface can ruin the look of the paint job and thereby, waste your efforts.
Take a damp microfiber cloth and wipe all the dirt off your motorcycle. Make sure you clean it up thoroughly. Once done, the bike is ready for the next step.
This step is for those who don’t want to paint the whole motorcycle and only some specific parts. You’d need a paint masker for this. It can be easily bought on Amazon or at a local store. A painter’s tape should work well in this process.
With a paint masker, you can easily protect parts like saddlebags, engine, oil tanks, motor, etc., and go ahead with painting the rest of the motorcycle.
Cost When Hiring a Professional for the Paint Job
If you are not into DIYs, the best thing to do here is to hire a professional to do the work for you. You will need to send the bike to a paint shop for this. It obviously means you will have to shell out more money from your pocket, but we think it’s all worth it for a job well done.
A professional paint job can cost you anywhere between the range of a few hundred dollars to a thousand dollars. It all depends on the type of painting you want to be done and the expertise level of the professional.
Furthermore, if you hire a professional, the type of paint and material used will most likely be what they recommend. Please keep in mind that if you want your entire motorcycle painted, the person will have to completely disassemble it and put it back together later. This will most certainly be added to your labor costs.
Body Shop: It will cost you around $200 to take your motorcycle to a local body shop and have it painted in a single color.
Creative Paint Jobs: If you want a specific piece of art painted on your motorcycle, the estimated cost should be around $2000 or more. As it would be more than a regular paint job, it is probably wise to keep a loose hand with your budget. The final bill will depend on the design and the professional you hire for the job.
Estimating The Cost to Paint a Motorcycle
The cost of painting your motorcycle can be determined by these two things:
Decide on which parts to paint
Start by deciding on parts of the bike you want to paint and measure them by square foot. This will give you an idea about the amount of paint that you will require.
Paint Quality vs. Price
You can use a variety of paints on your motorcycle, including enamel, lacquer, acrylic, and aerosol spray paint. These paints are available at various price points. Cheaper paints will obviously cost less, but they may not provide the desired finish.
What we suggest you do is decide beforehand. If you want the paint to last for many years, invest in high-quality paint and perhaps even hire a professional. If you only need a temporary paint job, a DIY with low-cost paints should suffice.
DIY Paint Job
The cost of DIY painting a motorcycle should be around $50. It could be more depending on the bike surface and the type of paint you are using. As you will be doing it yourself, naturally, there isn’t going to be any labor cost.
Professional Paint Job
A simple formula can be used to calculate the square foot cost of a professional paint job. Let’s say the total bill was $500. Then we need to divide the painted area, which we’ll assume is 40 square feet.
Therefore, you will be paying around $12.5 to paint each square foot.
You will also have to pay for the labor hours. It will be around $50-$150 per hour for an artistic or a regular paint job.
Cost of paint
To paint a motorcycle, you will need the following:
- One pint of prime coat
- One pint of clear coat
- One pint of basecoat/color coat
Let’s say each pint of paint costs $10-$20. Then the estimated cost for all the paint supplies is going to be around $30-$60 or more. The type and quality of paint you purchase will determine your final bill.
How to Save Money When Painting a Motorcycle?
It’s totally okay if the price ranges that we discussed above are something you cannot afford. We’ve got you. Here are some ways you can save money on the paint job and still revamp the look of your motorcycle:
Do it yourself
We are all in for DIY painting the motorcycle. It is going to require a lot of hard work and is a time-consuming process, but it will save you a lot of money. This task will most likely take you anywhere from an hour to 10+ hours to complete. You will also have to invest in the paint, sandpaper, and other materials to get started.
Use old paint
If this is not your first time painting your motorcycle, you may want to look through your garage for some old spray paints. If the paints are still in good condition, you can reuse them, and voila, money saved.
Do your own preparation work
If you hire a professional to do the paint job for you, they will charge you extra for disassembling the bike parts. This is why we recommend you do all the disassembling yourself before sending the bike to the paint shop. It will help you save a few bucks as their job will be already half done.
To sum it up, we think it’s safe to say that a paint job will cost you something between $100 and $1500. It can be less if you opt for DIY painting using old paint lying in your garage or more if you hire a professional and use high-quality paints. The choice is all yours.
We suggest you think through the situation and make the decision wisely. We have provided you with an estimated cost. Weigh in your options and choose what suits you the best.