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Micah Fomichev
Micah Fomichev

Mako Paint Job WORK

There was the young man who wanted his 1964 Impala painted Day-Glo Green. The middle-aged woman who wanted the color of her aging Thunderbird to match her favorite lavender belt. Then, there was the young woman who wanted her Volkswagen painted pink--not any pink, bubble-gum pink--and she brought in a piece of gum to show the painter.

mako paint job

If an auto painter wants to establish a lucrative business, it seems Southern California is the place to be. More cars are concentrated in Southern California than in any other part of the country. More households have second and third cars--the cars most likely to be repainted. Californians paint their cars more often than car owners nationwide, some industry experts say.

The painting itself--completed in an enclosed booth under lights designed to simulate sunlight--takes only half an hour. The painted car is driven into a gas-heated oven and then sits overnight before being returned to the customer. The average bill for paint and body work is $300.

For an auto painter, matching a new color to an existing coat of paint can sometimes be a major challenge. The popular new metallic paints and layers of protective gloss have complicated the job over the years, painters say.

Compounding the problem is the new immigration law. Many Southern California paint shops, which rely heavily on Mexican immigrants for labor, say they have found it harder to find workers since the law went into effect about a year ago.

Cities have also restricted the building of auto paint and body shops, considered by many to be eyesores. Recently, the city of Los Angeles began cracking down on shops that have continued to work on cars outdoors in violation of city regulations.

Panel replacement or repairs have a one-year warranty against cracking, shrinking, or rust. Surface or rust repairs only have a 90-day warranty. Paint jobs have a one to five-year warranty against delamination, cracking, and peeling. The warranty length depends on whether you purchase the basic, preferred, or premium paint job.

A Maaco paint job can cost as little as $300, and as much as $1,000 or more, according to the most recent estimates. Why is there such a wide price range? There are a variety of factors that go into a new paint job. The price is based on any body work needed beforehand, the size of the vehicle, and which tier of service you choose.

Most trucks have a similar amount of paintable surface area to an SUV. Again, several factors will go into your estimate, including prep work, repairs, and truck size. Overall, the average price for a paint job for a truck at Maaco is $700-$1,000.

According to Consumer Affairs, Maaco currently has 3.8 stars out of 5, based on 57 ratings in the last year. Common complaints include color errors, or rough finishes. Many customers were pleased with the paint job and customer service at their local franchise.

The basic paint job has the lowest price tag. Maaco uses a single-stage enamel paint. Single-stage paints have the base coat and gloss coat combined. The basic service has a one-year warranty. Enamel paint is inexpensive, adheres well to the car, and provides good coverage. But it is more prone to fading and chipping over time.

The preferred paint service uses a single-stage application of urethane paint. Urethane paint is resistant to chipping and fading, plus it is more durable than enamel paint. This level of paint service includes a three-year warranty.

Spot painting is a small, localized paint job to repair damage, usually due to a minor bump or accident. The areas in need of repair are sanded, then painted to blend in with the rest of the vehicle. Once the paint is touched up, the car is sealed and buffed.

Maaco operates its stores as franchises. The franchise owner sets the tone for the store, not Maaco. As a result, there may be different standards and procedures at different Maaco locations. Research locations in your area before taking your car in to be painted.

Maaco has their own line of paint colors that are used in their stores. If you are in the market to completely change the color of your car, there are a lot to choose from! If you need a spot repair or want to match the existing color of your car, that may be a bit more tricky.

Again, this may depend on the location and the technician, but a common complaint about Maaco is that they rush the prep work. Preparing a car for paint can be very time-intensive. It involves surface preparation, masking, and taping. A busy Maaco franchise may not have the time or manpower to effectively prep every car that comes through their business.

First of all, Maaco primarily does quick, one-coat paint application jobs. Instead of removing the body panels from a vehicle, and painting each of them separately, Maaco preps, masks, and paints the entire vehicle. This allows them to save time per vehicle. In the service industry, time is money.

CostHelper defines a mid-quality paint job as a service that costs between $1,000-$1,800 with an average cost of $1,316. Unlike the customers who went for the budget paint jobs, most customers who paid out for a mid-quality paint job are happy with the results.

This mid-range price range usually includes more extensive prep work on the vehicle, such as rust removal and panel repair. If you talk to any car person, they will tell you that prep work is key for an amazing paint job!

Obviously, if you are looking for showroom quality, or a highly customized paint job, be prepared to shell out some cash! The CostHelper readers who sprang for high-end paint for their vehicles spent between $2,400-$7,500, with an average cost of $4,975.

If you have an expensive or classic vehicle and you want showroom quality paint, I would recommend hiring a professional to get the look you desire. If you have been in an accident, and insurance is covering the cost of new paint, it may be worth it to allow a professional to do the job.

Or, you can buy a complete urethane paint kit. This kit includes one gallon of urethane paint, stir sticks, and a spray-on urethane paint hardener, all fairly similar to what you would get from Maaco.

If you want a professional-looking paint job without the professional price, you may be able to achieve it yourself. Vehicle paint and supplies can be expensive! Get some estimates, and evaluate the cost of supplies before you get started.

An automotive paint sprayer will make painting your vehicle so much easier! Most paint sprayers that would be suitable for automotive work run with the help of an air compressor. If this all seems like a huge investment, air compressors are often available for rent, or you could borrow one from a friend.

Any of the paints listed above will work to repaint your vehicle. A urethane or acrylic urethane paint will have a glossy, durable finish. These kinds of paint can be tricky to apply. Find some videos, and have a practice run before you apply the paint to your car!

Commercial automotive painting businesses have lights on every inch of the vehicle. While you may not be able to replicate this at home, portable LED work lights will definitely help light up any flaws! The more light, the better!

It is difficult to see any uneven or wavy patterns on a dull car. After you have sanded down the primer, apply a very light coat of wax and grease remover down the side of the car. This will replicate the shine of your final paint job. Sight down the shiny surface of the car to look for any unevenness.

This is a really good article on Maaco Paint Jobs quality. The DIY section was very informative. I used Maaco before on an 1988 Isuzu Trooper and found the paint job was better than I expected for the basic cost of $400. I am considering using them again for an 1997 Jeep TJ that desperately needs a new paint job because of oxidation and the clear coat peeling off.

I've got a friend with a successful body shop and he gets all his work painted at Maaco. The time and expense (and therefore the quality issues) are always in the prep work, which he does at his place, before taking them down to their place to get shot.

This was the $249 special. I also had them DA sand the car for an extra $99. I removed all of the trim, as well as did the little body work it needed myself. I was going to paint it in my garage, but figured they'd do a better job (being I've never painted an entire car before).

Does it fade because they use their brand of paint? Can you provide your own paint? If you do your own prep and provide a very good quality paint, will it last better, or is in their spraying technique?

When I first started painting my projects I used a cheaper base, but it was hard to spray and required more coats, so now I use a glasurit base.....more expensive, but worth it. As far as the difference in lasting between the two...they stay garaged most of the time, so I don't really have any feedback on that.

My MR2 has a single stage paint job (on most of it- except where I had a GREAT shop do some repair work). I assume it's from Maaco or similar. If I buff it and wax it, it looks good for two or three months. Looks good enough for me.

Thanks for posting the pic. I'm considering going this route with Tom Celica. Pull all the lights and trim etc, and do a little prep work. I tend to agree with the guy who said those dudes who shoot paint all day every day will do it better than me, and I wouldn't use any better materials than they do.

I pulled all the trim from my MR2 and had Earl Scheib spray it. Had I put more into the prep, and put some effort into the paint after the spray, It would have rivaled a much more expensive job. I just wanted it all the same color.

Looks good. I stripped and prepped a 67 Shelby. Drug it over to One Day Paint. Their white is very close to Ford Wimbleton White. They sprayed it on pretty well. I took it home, waited a few weeks, then sprayed the Blue leMans stripes on the car in my garage. Sold the car for condo money when it was done. Still joke with my friends that the amount I got for the Shelby has to be a record for a "crap" paint job.


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