Paint job for 1996 Olds Ciera?


I got this car from my mother when she decided to turn in her keys (at 35,000 miles). The car is in great shape with no dents or rust. I hate the color though, and I am thinking about having it repainted. It is gray with gray interior. I was thinking of maybe a burgundy or dark blue would still look good with the gray interior. Is this a stupid idea? A paint job would probably cost as much as the car is worth.


A paint job that will last for many years can easily cost into the several thousand dollar range. I’d guess that you don’t want to drop that sort of money on a car that’s 12 years old, and for something that it doesn’t even need except for personal aesthetic taste.

Save your money and live with the color.


Live with the color. Color changes are time consuming and just not money well spent. Really I would sell it before doing a color change.


The paint won’t look right unless you paint under the hood, in the wheel wells, inside the trunk, and inside all the door jambs. You will need to remove all trim, including door sills, and the bumpers. All that makes it expensive. I’d just live with the color. Think about the great deal you got on the car and maybe that will soften your opinion of the color.


its not worth the money


Put a good sound system and a GPS in the car and call yourself happy. Many times when shopping for a used car I will find a great one but my wife would have objections to the color. I have learned that after a while she gets used to it.


I doubt if I would do it, but if it will make you happy, you should be able to have it done cheaply at MACCO or another auto paint outfit. Their cheap price will not provide you with a great finish, but it should look OK and it should last OK as well. The place were they cut corners is in the preparation work and if the current paint is in good condition that should not be a big problem.


Agree; get a MAACO $600+ or so paint job. Since the car is grey, and the interior is grey, only the outside needs to be done, forget the underhood and trunk. Since the body is good, a minimum of prep work is necessary. I would pick maroon, it goes very well with grey!


“I was thinking of maybe a burgundy or dark blue would still look good with the gray interior.”

A two-tone car of this sort won’t look at all good.


I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder; dark blue and grey would look OK as well. Most cars on the import lots these days have black or grey interiors, they seldom match the outside color. I had a Caprice in maroon with a wine colored interior, but that’s hard to get inmost cars.


How about just having whatever color that you like put on just certain parts of the body, like maybe stripes (racing stripes, maybe?), or “swooshes”, and/or pinstipes, or a combination? And how about some gold-colored accenting around the stripes or swooshes? My preference would be the Burgundy. Against an already-gray background with conservative gold outlining or free-handed pin striping? Man, that would be kick-a$$, in my book! You get away from doing door pillars, hood and trunk areas, etc., and the car will stand out. You have a gray “pallette” already. A decent paint shop will know how to properly prep. the areas to be painted. So you spend, say, $600-$800. 35K miles on a 1996? With proper and timely maintenance, this car will last you a long, long time. Figure in the reduced insurance costs, lower registration costs, etc., and what do you have to lose? What engine is in it? 3.3L or maybe 3.8L? My '92 Ciera “S” has the 3.3L engine (3300 c.c.) with 126K miles. It still gets 24-28 m.p.g. using a feather toe instead of a lead foot. The low-end m.p.g. is attributed to either A.C. (rarely used) or snowy conditions. That, and the fact that the first ten miles getting out of here onto a U.S. Highway has speed limits of 25-45 m.p.h. I would certainly keep your Olds. You’ll find out the condition of your exhaust system when you take it in for inspection/emissions stickers. Other than that, I’d give it a good, front-to-rear top and underside check and then get some “custom” paint accenting work done. I’ll betcha that a good paint shop will have a “pitch” book on many more accenting ideas that they have applied to other vehicles–maybe even Cieras. (olds = “poor man’s Cadillac”. Mine sure is comfortable and this long-legged freak needs that extra room.) I even have a reproduction 1943 Cadillac hood emblem–you know, the flying winged lady? Mine’s all white with a baby blue interior, but I like it.


I agree with Joseph on this. MAACO work that I’ve seen has been surprisingly good for the price. If you just, say, go with a darker smoke gray instead of the current gray you could get the “presidential Special” for some $250 and not have a big issue with different color door jams. It would be worth it if it makes you like the car better. Heck, that’s just the equivalent of a few tanks of gas!


Two tone is fine, but it looks cheap when the doors are blue and the door sills are gray. How could anyone be impressed with that combination?


Joseph, I respectfully disagree. The place were they cut corners is in the preparation work and if the current paint is in good condition that should not be a big problem.

Even if the current paint is in good condition and then they cut corners it will be a big deal later. Prep work does not include items like rust & paint chip repair. Those things are actual repairs. It includes things like R&I (removing and installing) of side body mouldings, belt mouldings, badges, handles, mirrors and then the surface must be scuffed and/or sanded. If those items are not performed and one paints right up to them, 1, an unsightly paint line will be there and 2, it most likely will peel there.

IMOO if anyone would see a poor paint job on a vehicle then theres a good chance one would assume a poor repair was performed. I know this op car was not wrecked but a future potential buyer would not.