It can cost up to $1,000 to have a large vehicle like an SUV professional plasti dipped, while DIY costs can be much cheaper, depending on how much you need to spend on supplies. Besides plasti dip, vinyl wrapping is another popular option for transforming a car. However, Plasti Dip is cheaper than vinyl and certainly cheaper than paint. If you want to Plasti Dip just your wheels especially, the cost is so low a 16-year-old who only works a few hours a week making pizzas could handle the cost. How much does it cost to Plasti Dip a car? Just the wheels? Here we go…
How Much Does It Cost to Plasti Dip a Car or Truck?
Plasti Dip is incredibly popular with car and truck enthusiasts. Beyond how it looks, Plasti Dip offers several other great advantages:
- Durable, flexible, and insulating
- Many available colors, including custom shades
Above all else, Plasti Dip is cheaper, whether applied by a professional (close to $1,000 for a large SUV) or done as a DIY project. First-time dippers should consider purchasing a kit to get started. They are available through several retailers. Below is an example of what a kit might include.
Plasti Dip Pro Kit from DipYourCar.com — $600
- Four gallons of Plasti Dip
- Two gallons of topcoat
- 100 grams of tint
- DipSprayer system
- Quick-connect hose
- Dip washer
- Gallon blender
- Microfiber towel
- Pre-dip spray
- Window decals
- Cone filters
- Dip guard
- Various spare parts
This is just one example. Many other retailers also offer customizable kits with or without sprayers. Purchasing just a gallon of Plasti Dip with no supplies or accessories runs about $55, and one aerosol spray can cost about $10.
How Much Plasti Dip Do You Need to Cover an Entire Car?
The amount of Plasti Dip needed to cover an entire vehicle depends on several factors, including the size of the vehicle, the number of coats applied, and the packaging format.
Estimate the number of gallons of Plasti Dip needed:
- Subcompact cars (Mini Cooper, Smart Car, Fiat 500) require two gallons
- Compact cars (Honda Fit, CRZ, Beetle, BRZ, MX-5) require two to three gallons
- Full-size cars (BMW 5 Series, Chrysler 300, Charger) require four gallons
- Large SUVs (Tahoe, Expedition, Suburban) require five to six gallons
- Mid-size 2-door cars (Accord, Focus, Camaro) require three gallons
- Mid-size 4-door cars (Camry, Sonata, Maxima) require three to four gallons
- Minivans/small SUVs (Rav4, Odyssey, Town and Country) require four to five gallons
- Standard SUVs (Explorer, Trail Blazer, BMW X-3) require five gallons
Thus, for just the dip, it would cost anywhere from about $110 for a subcompact to $330 for a large SUV.
How Much Plasti Dip Do You Need for Wheels?
Some people choose to remove the wheels from their car or truck prior to applying Plasti Dip. Plenty of other people apply it without taking off the wheels. The important thing is to mask off the areas not to be coated, including the brakes (lots and lots of painters tape will be needed).
The amount of Plasti Dip it takes to cover your rims is a function of the wheel size and the number of coats applied. Generally, you’ll need about one aerosol can per wheel or one gallon applied with a spray gun for all four corners. Depending upon location, the cost for the Plasti Dip should be below $75.
Suggested Article: Here’s How Much It Costs to Have Your Wheels Powder Coated
Note, however, that since wheels get beat up a lot with road grime (especially in the winter), Plasti Dip on the wheels doesn’t last as long as higher up on the vehicle.
Where Can You Buy Plasti Dip?
You can find Plasti Dip products on Amazon or at various local stores, including Ace Hardware, AutoZone, Lowe’s, and Walmart.
In certain regions, stores only carry something called Plasti Dip 50. This formulation is a 50-state compliant (low-VOC) product and costs about $10 more per gallon. Plasti Dip Spray cannot be used or sold for personal or professional use in Arizona, California, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. Sales for professional use are also prohibited in Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, and Utah. Individuals living in these states may be able to use Plasti Dip Spray 50, which can be used and sold in all areas except in certain parts of California including El Dorado, Colusa, and Glenn counties, as well as the Bay area.
How to Apply Plasti Dip
Contrary to its name, the Plasti Dip process has nothing to do with “dipping” a car into anything. There are two ways to apply Plasti Dip: a spray gun or an aerosol can. Masking areas to keep the dip off is a good practice. However, whole car dips may be done by masking only the windows because the dip easily peels off headlights and taillights. Additionally, a microfiber cloth makes easy work of removing any overspray. Note that Plasti Dip will peel if you don’t apply it properly.
First, for safety’s sake, choose a work site that provides adequate ventilation. Start by mixing the product well. Then, make sure all surfaces are free of grease, dirt, oily residue, wax, and loose rust. The idea is to apply Plasti Dip to a smooth, unbroken OEM finish.
If a vehicle has a deteriorated finish, or for a more permanent application, the Plasti Dip Primer provides for better color adhesion to the surface. The primer comes in an aerosol can and dries in about an hour. Bear in mind that while dips applied over the primer can be removed, it takes a lot more effort than jobs done without primer. Additionally, once it has dried, the primer cannot be removed from the car’s surface.
The best way to apply Plasti Dip is with an electric turbine style spray system or an HVLP spray gun. Aim for a day that is not overly humid or hot. Mix the spray thoroughly. When applying, keep the spray gun 10 to 12 inches away from the surface and allow each coat to dry 10 to 30 minutes before applying the next coat. Allow for four hours of curing time.
How to Make Custom Plasti Dip Colors
Plasti Dip comes premixed in a broad spectrum of colors. You can create your own color by mixing different colors or even layer colors one on top of the other.
After applying colored Plasti Dip, customize the look even more with Plasti Dip High Gloss Top Coat, which includes Fadebuster protection and creates a lustrous finish. For a shimmering metallic finish, choose the METALIZER Enhancer. They also offer a Pearlizer Enhancer as well as Satinizer and Glossifier products. Obtaining a color-shifting iridescent shimmer over Plasti Dip Black is possible using the Chameleon enhancer.
The customizing products come in 11-ounce aerosol cans. After thoroughly shaking the can, apply it with overlapping strokes until the surface appears wet and even. Allow eight hours to dry. The number of coats needed depends upon the product. Each can covers about 5 to 10 square feet of surface. Estimate the surface area of the vehicle, determine the number of coats needed, and do the math to figure out how many cans will be needed.
Other Options for Changing the Color of Your Vehicle
Whether it is an entire car or truck, or just the rims/wheels, consider the pros and cons of paint, vinyl wraps, and Plasti Dip, while keeping the following in mind:
- DIY skill level (be honest!)
- Equipment required
- Temporary or permanent change
Typical auto painting costs run anywhere from $400 for a very basic paint job to $7,500 for a high-quality job. Additionally, DIY car painting is a daunting process involving numerous steps:
- Prepping the work area, including installing a dust extractor
- Stripping and sanding the existing paint
- Masking unpainted areas
- Applying primer and paint
Another option, vinyl wraps, is best left to professionals who can achieve a perfectly smooth, crease-free application. Wraps can last several years, but the cost of the wrap actually rivals that of a quality paint job.
Plasti Dip offers an affordable, durable, and easily removable car or truck alternative to repainting or getting a vinyl wrap. When it comes time to change things up again, remove the Plasti Dip using a pressure washer, mineral spirits, or even sandpaper if necessary. If you’re not too aggressive with the clean-up, your paint will be the same as it was before you started the Plasti Dip process.