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How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Truck Tailgate?

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Truck Tailgate?

If you own a truck, we know you want it to look sharp. However, if you use your truck for hauling, the tailgate may take a beating.

Eventually, you may decide to get it painted. How much does it cost to paint a truck tailgate? Here’s what you need to know!

A basic paint job for your tailgate will cost from $300 to $900. If additional work needs to be performed along the way regarding rust or other damage, costs can exceed $1,000 and perhaps go as high as $4,000 or more, especially if you have a newer truck with a state-of-the-art tailgate.

When you decide to get your truck’s tailgate painted, there will be several factors that determine the overall cost of the job.

First, you will need to remember that before any paint is actually applied to your truck’s tailgate, it will need to be sanded so that the area being painted is as smooth as possible. 

Along with the sanding, any rust that is on the tailgate will also need to be removed. Though sanding may do most of this, additional work may be required depending on the amount of rust and whatever damage it may have done to the tailgate.

What To Consider Before Painting Your Tailgate?

As you’ve just finished reading, the cost to paint a truck tailgate can vary due to many different factors.

If your truck’s tailgate has little if any rust damage or other damage such as dents or dings, your costs will stay relatively low. Most of the time, this will be less than $1,000, especially if you are not wanting to change the current color of your tailgate. 

Should you have a truck that you want to have a showroom look when the tailgate’s paint job is finished, this is where your costs will begin to rise. 

To get a high-gloss finish on a tailgate’s paint job, it is not uncommon for the painter to apply as many as 20 coats of paint to the surface of the tailgate. 

Needless to say, this will require not only a large amount of paint and other materials but also much more time to finish the job, meaning labor costs will be quite high.

If you decide to tackle your truck’s tailgate yourself when getting a new paint job, you will still be spending hundreds of dollars at a minimum, and that is assuming you make no mistakes during the job.

Along with needing basic supplies such as primer, masking tape, sandpaper, solvent, foam brushes, paint trays, and a filtered mask to wear during the paint job, you will also need can after can of automotive paint, which likely will cost you at least $100 and probably much more. 

Also, if you don’t have a paint gun and air compressor, you’ll be spending money on these items as well. They can be purchased outright or rented, depending on how often you would expect to be using them. 

If you are not sure of your truck tailgate painting skills, it’s better to spend your money on a professional auto painter who does this work on a daily basis.

How Do You Paint a Tailgate?

When you are ready to paint your truck tailgate, there are certain steps you may need to take. 

To begin with, you will need to decide if you want to paint your tailgate while it is still attached to your truck, or do you instead want to remove it so that you can hang it up while being painted. 

This decision is usually based on your level of experience, how much of the tailgate needs to be painted, and how much other detail work will need to be done on the tailgate before and during the paint job. 

When you are sanding your tailgate to get a smooth surface and remove any rust that has formed, most experts we know recommend you use 500 grit sandpaper for the job. 

Sandpaper with this grit level is considered to be exceptionally fine, meaning it will remove rust from the tailgate without damaging the tailgate’s surface.

In some situations, you can use aerosol cans of automotive spray paint. If you do, make sure you know what you are doing before you start. Costing at least $10 per can, you could wind up spending $100-$200 on these cans of paint alone, especially if you make mistakes. 

Also, be sure you get a sufficient amount of paint for your tailgate. If you don’t, you could find yourself with a job that’s only half-done, and you scrambling to find more cans of the same color.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a New Tailgate?

Should you take a closer look at your truck’s tailgate and decide it would be easier to just get a new one to go on your truck, don’t expect it to be cheap.

Depending on the type of truck you own, you may get lucky and find the tailgate you need at a local auto junkyard. 

If you do, this will be the cheapest option, since you’ll just pay for the tailgate itself and maybe a small fee for pulling the part. Yet even at this, expect to be paying in the $500 range.

Should you own a newer truck with a tailgate that contains a backup camera or is foldable into different sections, your price will jump dramatically. 

For tailgates such as these, don’t be surprised if your costs go as high as $3,600 or perhaps more. To install these types of tailgates, it is best to let the pros handle this for you, unless you are extremely skilled with auto body jobs. 

Should you mess up this installation job, you’ll have a backup camera not working properly, or even find your expensive tailgate falling off your truck as you drive down the road.

Is It Hard to Install a Truck Tailgate?

In most cases, installing a tailgate on your truck will not be very hard, unless it has advanced technology inside it that requires having various wiring connected properly to your truck’s electrical system.

Fortunately, almost all truck tailgates require no special tools to be properly installed. Unfortunately, this can lead to a new problem you hopefully won’t encounter. 

Due to most truck tailgates being easy to install, they are also easy to remove. In recent years, thieves have started stealing truck tailgates in record numbers. 

If your tailgate is unlocked, thieves can steal it in only a few seconds. If it’s locked, thieves can remove it in only a few minutes. 

Believe it or not, there are instances of tailgates being stolen from trucks while drivers were still inside their truck.

Ultimately, the cost of installing a new truck tailgate will vary based on the brand, the type of technology or other special features it possesses, the material of which it is made, and where you buy your new tailgate. If ordering from a dealer, expect to pay more. 

On average, truck tailgate replacement costs are $1,200 nationwide.

Now that we’ve given you the basics of painting a truck tailgate, how much it can cost, and why it’s important to get it installed correctly, the rest is up to you. Whether you make painting your truck tailgate a DIY project or let professionals do the job, in the end you’ll have a tailgate that looks great.

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Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!