How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Miata?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Total repaint cost can range from $3,000 to $5,000 depending on extent of work needed.
  • Maaco’s same-color paint job starts at $399 but requires you to do prep work.
  • Cost varies widely based on quality of paint, customization, location, shop, etc.
  • Quotes from multiple reputable shops recommended for most accurate estimate.
  • Factors like paint type, body work, supplies affect cost.
  • DIY paint job can be done for under $1,000 with proper skills/tools.


The Mazda MX-5 Miata is one of the most popular and iconic sports cars on the road today. First debuting in 1989, the affordable rear-wheel drive roadster has built a devoted following over multiple generations. Like any vehicle, Miatas can start to show their age over time. Paint fading, chips, scratches and other cosmetic issues can detract from the iconic good looks of your prized Miata.

At some point, most Miata owners will consider freshening up their car’s appearance with a new paint job. But how much does it actually cost to paint a Miata? This comprehensive guide will analyze the various factors that influence the cost of painting a Miata. It covers DIY painting, professional shop quotes, types of paint jobs, and tips for minimizing expenses. After reading, you’ll have a solid understanding of the typical price range for painting your roadster.

With costs varying so widely based on the quality, shop, location and extent of the work, it’s essential for Miata owners to educate themselves before starting any paint project. By evaluating all the options and budgeting properly, you can ensure your Miata gets a paint job that aligns with your goals and financial capabilities. Let’s dive in and explore what it really takes to change your Mazda’s color and make it look showroom-new again!

What Impacts the Cost of Painting a Miata?

How extensive is the prep work needed?

Any quality paint job will require thorough surface preparation to ensure proper adhesion and a smooth finish. The more flaws, damage or body work that must be addressed beforehand, the higher the cost. Complexity factors like trim removal or dealing with rust also increase prep time and materials.

Is the current paint being stripped or painted over?

Stripping the factory paint down to bare metal is more time-consuming than painting over the existing layer. But it allows for the most durable, long-lasting result. Over-painting saves on prep work but risks issues with the new coat adhering properly.

What areas are being painted?

Just spot painting sections with flaws like the hood or bumpers is cheaper than a full exterior repaint of the entire car. Larger surface areas naturally require more supplies and labor hours to complete.

Is any body work or dent repair required?

Smoothing dents, dings or body damage adds to the workload. Skilled labor from a professional body shop is ideal but adds to the bottom line cost.

What type and quality of paint is selected?

Paint ranges from basic enamels to higher-end urethanes with greater durability and gloss. Premium paints have specialized additives and multiple layers for enhanced appearance but can easily double or triple paint costs.

Are any paint customizations or detailing being done?

Beyond the basic paint job, options like adding stripes, color accents or a clear bra will increase the price accordingly. Other services like polishing or ceramic coating also add cost if not factored into the original quote.

What is the hourly labor rate at the auto body shop?

Labor costs make up a significant portion of any paint job quote. Rates between shops and regions vary dramatically based on overhead, expertise and local markets.

Is the work being done by a professional shop or DIY?

Professional shops have higher labor rates but make up for it with efficiency, quality workmanship and guaranteed results. DIY jobs trade cost savings for your valuable time and assumed risk.

Typical Cost Ranges from Online Sources

To better understand the potential cost variables, here are some estimated paint job price ranges gathered from Miata owner forums and cost websites:

MX-5 Miata Forum Estimates

  • Total Repaint: Expect to pay around $3,000 to $5,000, depending on the amount of work required, including preparation.

Reddit Estimates

  • Maaco’s $399 Same-Color Option: You do the prep work and taping yourself.
  • Overall Range: Costs can vary widely, from less than $400 to more than you originally paid for the Miata itself.

How Much Does Cost Estimates

  • Repaint Cost Range: Anywhere from $600 to $20,000 for the repair process on a Mazda Miata.

ICSID Estimates

  • Full Repaint: Typically costs between $3,000 and $5,000, depending on the amount of work needed.

These crowdsourced estimates reinforce just how much painting a Miata can vary based on the factors discussed earlier. But they provide reasonable guidance on what to potentially budget for a basic repaint up to a premium show-quality respray.

What Exactly Does a Miata Paint Job Entail?

To understand what goes into painting a Miata, let’s break down the typical stages of the process from start to finish:

Surface Preparation

This critical first step entails cleaning, sanding and prepping the Miata’s body for paint. Areas are inspected for body damage, corrosion and surface flaws. Imperfections are repaired and sanded until completely smooth. All trim pieces, lights and removable parts are detached. The car is then wiped down to remove all wax, grease and other contaminants. Proper prep accounts for 50-70% of the total time and effort!


Once prepped, a high-quality primer coat is applied to provide maximum paint adhesion. Primer fills any tiny imperfections and provides a uniform base for the paint to bond to. Applying multiple thin coats prevents drips or runs in the primer layer.


Using the previously chosen paint type and color, the car’s body is fully resprayed using a multi-stage process. Single stage urethanes offer basic solid color coverage in fewer coats. But a true show-car finish requires a 3-stage system primer, color coats and clear coat. Allowing proper dry time between layers is essential to avoid paint defects or contamination issues. Proper spray technique also minimizes overspray and results in an even, glossy finish.


After the paint fully cures, the disassembled parts are reattached, hardware and seals are replaced as needed, and everything is realigned. The newly painted area is finely sanded, compounded and polished until it’s smooth as glass and ready for the road!

What Are the Options for Painting a Miata?

Now that you understand the entire process, let’s explore the main options for getting your Miata resprayed:

Professional Auto Body Shop

The conventional choice is to have the work performed at a qualified collision repair shop. They’ll provide a free estimate based on your desired scope and quality level. While pricier, you benefit from their expertise, efficiency and equipment. Most shops can complete a full exterior repaint within 3-5 days. This convenience makes pros ideal for extensive paint jobs versus trying to DIY in your spare time.

Paint & Body Specialty Shops

For show car quality or custom paint work, specialty shops focusing purely on astounding paint jobs are preferable. Their meticulous attention to detail and use of high-end materials leads to jaw-dropping results. But be prepared to pay for such expertise and craftsmanship.

Budget “Maaco” Style Chains

Nationwide chains like Maaco can provide rock-bottom pricing starting as low as $299 for a basic single-stage respray. But you’ll sacrifice quality paint and have increased prep work. Reviews are decidedly mixed on their workmanship. It can serve as a temporary fix but won’t compare to a professional paint job.

DIY in Your Garage

With proper supplies, ventilation and skills, Miata owners can repaint their own car and reduce labor costs. But the process is messy, time intensive and leaves little room for error. You’ll also need an area suitable for spraying paint. DIY paint jobs under $1,000 are attainable but rarely achieve professional showcar results. Still, as a temporary refresh or color change it can be a fun project for the DIY enthusiast.

Professional Paint Job Price Range Quotes

While DIY provides the lowest cost option, most owners utilize a professional auto body shop for painting their Miata. But how much should you expect to budget at the shop? Here are some average price ranges reported by shops:

Minor Repaint (Spot Painting)

  • For minor touch up painting of small affected areas only, shops often charge in the $200 to $1000 range based on the size and location. Things like a hood respray, bumper repaint or stripping paint off mirrors would fall into this category. It provides targeted touchups versus repainting an entire panel or the full car.

Single Panel/Section

  • Expect to pay $500-$1500 to repaint larger individual panels like the hood, doors or quarter panels. Larger sections like the entire front clip may run $1000-$2000. So addressing paint flaws on a portion of the car is reasonably affordable. Just be aware of color matching challenges between old and new paint areas.

Full Exterior Repaint

  • A base price between $3000-$5000 is typical for a complete exterior respray on a Miata. Add even more for premium paint upgrades. This provides complete color change capability or a uniform appearance if keeping the same color. Deduct if you can do your own prep work beforehand.

Additional Services/Upgrades

  • Figure an extra $500+ for add-ons like racing stripes, color accents or decals to customize the look. Detailing services like polishing or ceramic coatings also increase cost but protect the new finish. Touch up paint and supplies can run $100-200 for DIYers.

Tips for Reducing Miata Paint Job Costs

Here are some helpful ways owners can minimize expenses when planning for a Miata paint job:

  • Obtain written estimates from several shops to compare pricing
  • Ask if you can do minor prep work like headlight removal yourself
  • See if the shop offers discounts for paying in cash or supplying your own paint materials
  • Inquire about deals during their slower winter season months
  • Specify you want a single stage paint option rather than a premium multi-stage system
  • Select smaller paint service areas rather than committing to an entire exterior repaint
  • Consider Maaco or other budget chains for temporary coverage, but research their reputations thoroughly

Is the Investment in a Miata Paint Job Worth it?

Assuming you find an affordable shop and don’t opt for showcar level extravagance, a quality Miata exterior repaint in the $3000 to $5000 range can be well worth the investment. An improved appearance and professional paint finish enhances your pride of ownership while also boosting the car’s resale value. And nothing makes a classic Miata shine quite like a fresh new coat of lustrous paint. Just be sure to get quotes early and set your budget appropriately. With some diligence, you can retain the Miata’s iconic good looks and have it looking radiant for years to come.


Determining the exact cost for painting your beloved Mazda Miata involves assessing numerous variables. But by understanding what impacts the price, researching shop options, and budgeting accordingly, Miata owners can make this process more affordable and achievable. Always devote adequate resources to proper preparation and choose the highest quality paints within your budget. With reasonable expectations and by utilizing professional services, your Miata can regain its impressive factory finish or take on an exciting new custom appearance. Just take time to weigh the investment versus your goals for an optimized paint job experience. By following this guide, you can ensure your priceless Miata receives the brilliant new paint job it deserves!

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