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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How To Paint A Car

Every guide that offers helpful input on how to paint a car is quick to remind the reader that the job takes a lot of time to complete. This is true, which means that a couple of weekends must be set aside if the intention is to get a car painted properly. Here are some useful tips for first-time DIY car painters on how to prepare for and go about the job thoroughly.

how to paint a car

How To Paint A Car ... Where To Paint

First, it is important to determine whether the area is suitable for the activity. Residential garages may seem adequate, but they are not always the safest places to paint a car. The reason for this is that the presence of furnaces and heaters make residential garages unsafe. Paint fumes are flammable, and since the painting process usually results in accumulation of gases in the area, it is too risky to paint a car in places containing fire hazards. In terms of location, the minimum requirements for painting a car are enough room for working around the vehicle, good lighting and ventilation, and minimal dust and particulates. how to paint a car

Equipment And Material Requirements How To Paint A Car

As such, the best place to do the job is inside a shed that offers adequate protection from the elements while fulfilling the abovementioned requirements. Once the area for the DIY paint job has been secured, the next step is to gather the equipment and all the necessary materials. In general, there are safety equipment and painting equipment that must be procured. The basic safety equipment needed are safety glasses and dust facemasks.

Meanwhile, the needed materials are sandpaper, sander, buffer, spray gun, air compressor, old newspapers, masking tape, and a dust extractor when available. The masking tape is used mainly for coverage of trim, handles, grills, mirrors, and glass. These are the areas of the vehicle that should not be painted. The masking tape offers enough protection against overspray. However, make sure there are no tears or holes on the tape. Otherwise, the paint will seep through and additional work is required to remove paint on these surfaces. how to paint a car.

In addition, paint supplies include primer or base coat, paint thinners, enamel paint or topcoat acrylic, clear-coat lacquer, and undercoat. For large cars, as much as four gallons each of clear coat and topcoat and one and a half gallons of base coat. If the car is medium-sized, the requirements are three gallons each of clear coat and topcoat and one gallon of primer.

A Clean Working Environment How To Paint A Car

One of the most important aspects of painting a car is the preparatory phase. The surfaces that will be painted on ought to be thoroughly cleaned. If grime or grease is on the surface, the car must be washed down first. In order to prevent dust particles and grime to stick to the surface, the surroundings must be free from dust as well. Contaminants can wreak havoc to wet paint. This is why the working area must be free from contaminants. how to paint a car.

Preparatory tasks

Before anyone could proceed to the painting proper, there are numerous tasks to be performed. For instance, all the dents must be dealt with first. If there are parts that are rusted, then these must be removed as well. If these areas are not attended to properly, the resulting outcome will not be satisfactory. 

Another important task involved in in preparing for car painting is removing all the plastic and chrome trim. Panel moldings are quite easy to remove. If there are areas that are hard to remove, hardware and specialty shops offer products that are designed specifically for trim removal. Nevertheless, the parts that are not meant to be removed should be left alone. how to paint a car

A thorough sanding

Sanding is an important part of the preparation for car painting. Fine-grade 600 grit dry and wet sandpaper does a good job of exposing metal and smoothing paint runs. All the exposed surfaces must be sanded enough so that the new paint can adhere sufficiently. If possible, sanding should reveal the original primer. As soon as this is accomplished, high quality automotive primer can be applied.

The most efficient way to sand the surface is to perform circular motions in order to achieve a smooth and clean finish. The crevices and corners are typically sanded down by hand to ensure that all the bases are covered. Though there are differing opinions, they say that when painting a car, the best approach is to sand back to bare metal. This requires a lot of time. If there is not enough time, there is no need to be so thorough. However, the important thing to remember is to sand evenly. 

Priming the surface

The best type of automotive primer to use is a self-etching primer. The corrosion resistant primer is directly applied to the cleaned bare metal. The parts of the car surface where rust has been removed must be primed sufficiently. If there are scratches on the surface, the primer can cover the areas and even them out. Any part of the car with primer must be left alone until the surface has cured adequately. Each brand of primer requires a specific amount of time to cure. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s specifications, or risk applying the next coating when the primer is not thoroughly cured yet. how to paint a car

Painting experts recommend applying the primer from the roof down. Usually, three thin coats of primers must be applied for an even finish. Usually, at least 20 minutes is need for each coating to cure. When the surface is ready it will look powdery. Light sanding of the surface makes for an even finish. The final task the must be done before actually painting the car is to wipe the sanded areas with a damp rag. Use a small amount of thinner to wet the cloth. Using too much will strip down the thinner, and this will only require the application of another coating and incur wasted time.

Spraying technique

For best results, car paint ought to be applied from side to side using a smooth and sweeping motion. Ideally, the spray gun is held approximately six inches from the car surface. It does not hurt to do practice runs on a recycled panel using the spray gun so that the painter is already accustomed to the activity. If the spraying technique is not spot on the risk of incurring paint runs is rather high on the actual vehicle itself.

To achieve the desired results, the trigger is pressed only while the equipment is moving across the surface. In doing so, there is no chance that the paint is thicker on certain areas compared to others. how to paint a car

Three layers of the topcoat must be applied, and each layer should be given the right amount of time to dry completely at approximately 20 minutes to one hour. Application of the clear-coat lacquer is usually done after one final sanding and wiping down. The clear coat must be allowed to dry thoroughly and dust, particles, and other airborne materials should not be allowed to stick to the wet surface. Any imperfection can be sanded down. It only takes another coating of spray paint to make the necessary corrections. In the end, given enough time and careful execution, the car will look good as new.


  1. As we are having this done on our car, we want to get a coat on rust protection put on the bottom. I've heard the service is called undercoating. It will be good to get it done so that the bottom doesn't wear down so much.

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