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Many factors can make you consider changing the car paint color of your car, truck, or SUV. For instance, you may want to address the issue of color fade/ rust or simply choose a better color scheme.
Moreover, some car paints colors are believed to increase the car’s resale value, while others are easier to maintain.
Whichever the case, changing your paint color is a great way to restore an old vehicle. More notably, a fresh paint job may be necessary depending on where you live since environmental factors like snow and salt can cause significant damage to your car paint.
However, before you change your car paint, there are a few factors you need to consider, including the laws attached to it!
Hopefully, this article will help you find answers to any questions you may have before you decide to change the color of your car.
So, let’s get right into it!
Laws surrounding changing car colors
Various countries have different rules and regulations about notifying the authorities about changing the car paint color of your vehicle. Interestingly, these regulations change from one state to another in the USA.
In general, it’s always a good idea to inform the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when you change the color of your car, even if the state law in your area doesn’t require it.
1. Registration papers
In most cases, the color of your vehicle appears as a number on its registration papers instead of indicating the exact color. For instance, the registration papers may indicate that the color is 5 or 8 in the color column instead of reading something like ‘Go Mango’ or ‘Plum Crazy’.
Nonetheless, this can lead to trouble somewhere down the line, especially if you have to produce the registration papers and your car now has a different color than what it says on the documents.
Does this mean you have to notify the DMV when you change the color of your car? No, you don’t necessarily have to notify the DMV or even the insurance company when you change your car color.
That’s because the VIN number is the most important number on the registration number and should never be changed. Therefore, the DMV always sees the car as the same provided the VIN number is the same, regardless of any paint modification you may make.
However, to be on the safe side, I’d recommend that you inform the DMV if you change your car color down the road.
3. Insurance Company
Notifying the DMV when you change the color of your car is not entirely necessary provided the VIN remains unchanged. However, it’s always a good idea to let your insurer know when you make such changes to your vehicle.
One reason for this is that the insurance company calculates the insurance rates based on variables they’re aware of. So, if you have changed the color without informing the insurance firm of the change in color in advance, the repair costs will come out of your pocket in the event of an accident.
This is because most insurance companies only insure your car for the factory paint to be repaired if you ever make a claim.
Although this may not be an issue with some insurers, while others may slightly adjust the claim downwards, some firms will try to avoid the claim completely in these circumstances.
Is it legal to change the car paint color?
Generally speaking, changing the color of your vehicle is legal in most jurisdictions. More importantly, there is no law that prohibits car owners from painting their vehicles with their preferred color at the moment.
However, repainting your car to resemble a police car including adding certain flashlights and sirens may be deemed illegal. Other than that, there is no law that prohibits car owners from changing their car color, so it’s very legal.
Nonetheless, it is a good idea to check with the city hall or local DMV to see if there are any restrictions about changing your car color in your area.
This is because some counties or cities may have ordinances that prohibit or restrict certain colors, especially fluorescent colors.
Important factors to consider when planning to change the color of your car
Seeing that it’s legal to change your car color, you don’t have to stick to the old color when you’re repainting your car, truck, or SUV.
However, there are various factors you need to consider before you apply a fresh coat of paint. Some of these are:
Why you want to change the car color
There are various reasons that can make you consider changing the paint color of your vehicle. For instance, a fresh paint job will make your car look new, especially if the old paint is chipping or worn out.
Also, you can change the color if you don’t like the current car color. However, if the car paint is still in great shape, there are alternative ways you can use to change the color without doing a new paint job.
Whichever the case, changing the car color is a big undertaking and requires careful consideration before you start the project.
Changing the car color can be a fairly costly proposition depending on the type of paint job. For instance, if you intend to do the work yourself, you will need to buy a primer, paint, clear coat, sandpaper, and other supplies.
In short, the total project will end up costing you hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, especially if you don’t have any of these supplies at hand.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to hire someone to paint the car for you, expect the cost to go even higher. In most cases, the cost of a professional paint job costs a few thousand dollars depending on the quality of the paint job and car size.
Changing the color of your car can have a significant impact on its resale value, usually in a negative way. This is because repainting your car with a different color rarely increases its value, regardless of how ugly the initial color was.
In addition, car enthusiasts expect a certain car make, model, and year to have a specific factory color. In this case, changing the color of the car can reduce its resale value by up to 20%, especially if it’s a high-cost or antique vehicle.
As for modern cars, popular car colors that are in higher demand can increase the resale value of the car. While neutral colors like gray, silver, white, and black make it easier to sell the car as they’re always in style.
Lastly, before you change the color of your vehicle, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the process. For instance, you have to completely remove the old paint from the car before you apply the new car paint.
Unfortunately, this can be a time-consuming and challenging task, especially if you’re a beginner. On the bright side, having the right tools like the best sander for car paint removal will make this process relatively easy for you.
In addition, it’s important to ensure that the fresh paint job has been done correctly. Or else you’ll experience various car paint problems like cracking and wrinkling over time.
More importantly, you should apply the clear coat and primer properly to protect the new color/base coat from harsh environmental elements and extend its longevity.
Alternative ways to change the car color without repainting
As you’ve seen, repainting your car to change the color can be a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. Interestingly, there are faster and more affordable car paint alternatives you can use to change the color of your car.
This will allow you to make your ride more stylized, without the extra cost and stress of applying a new paint coat.
These methods include:
Vinyl wrapping is a fun and temporary way to change the car of your car. It involves installing a thin film over the top of your car paint without causing any damage.
Not to forget that you can easily remove the vinyl wrap to reveal the original paintwork again. However, this method is only recommended if the paint job is in good shape and the car has not been painted within the past 4 weeks.
Another benefit of vinyl wraps is that they’re available in various patterns and metallic colors.
At the same time, you can have a design or message printed on them, making them a perfect choice for companies and businesses that want to show off their logo or create a custom design for advertisement purposes.
In addition, vinyl wraps protect the car paint from minor scratches, harmful UV rays, small debris, and other environmental elements.
Best of all, they can last for several years when done professionally, yet they cost significantly less compared to repainting the car.
Initially designed for various shop needs like tool grips, peel coats have quickly become a popular way to add simple, but outstanding touches to any vehicle. Plus, they’re a peelable rubber-based spray paint that can be applied directly over any car paint without having to sand the surface.
Even better, they’re relatively easy to apply as they come in aerosol/ spray cans and can be applied in several layers to achieve the desired appearance.
The other unique thing about peel coats is that you can use them to customize small portions of your car like changing the color of the wheels/ trim pieces. And once you’re sick of the new look, you can easily peel it off and apply a new coat.
Interestingly, applying or removing peel coats from your car surface will not damage the paint, wheels, or even the plastic trim panels. Instead, they protect the car paint from small road debris and rust, making them a safe and fun way to customize any car.
To sum up, it’s legal to change the color of your car to your favorite color, but this may vary depending on the state’s legislation. In addition, you don’t necessarily have to notify the DMV and the insurance company.
However, I’d strongly recommend that you notify your insurance company to be on the safe side if you ever get involved in an accident. More importantly, it’s a good idea to consult your insurer regarding the modification before you change the car color.