How to Paint a Car

Painting your car is a great project for people who like to do everything on their own. Although this may be a time consuming project and require about 6-7 hours, when done carefully and systematically, it can prove to be a fun project. Also, you can customize your car according to your taste and have the satisfaction of doing it all on your own.

Imagine, you find this great car for a great price. It runs good, the mileage is excellent and the interior is to die for. However,  when you get out of the car, the color of the car is pretty awful, a combination of split peas and baby vomit. Also, there have been some nicks in the paint job from a long time ago. The paint around them has started to peel due to weathering. Have no fear! You can get that great car and instead of spending thousands of dollars going to an auto body shop to get a new paint job, you can paint it yourself for a fraction of the price! Here is how we start.

Required Materials / Tools

  • car soap and water
  • wax stripper and a degreaser
  • masking tape
  • paint primer
  • a large roll of plastic (enough to cover all the windows)
  • paint (with a urethane base, and in a color that is pleasing)
  • sand paper
  • wire
  • clear coat paint
  • body putty
  • black enamel paint
  • some handy pieces of old rags
  • a paint sprayer (preferably with an adjustable nozzle)
  • putty knife for the putty
  • garden hose with a bucket
  • garage / open space to paint the car

Preparation to paint the Car

Before you begin to paint your car, there are a few things that need to be taken care of in the beginning itself. The first question you need to ask yourself is, where are we going to paint the car? You will need an open, well-ventilated area. A garage is nice, but it can get stuffy. If we paint outside, then, we need to make sure that there is no rain or humidity. The ideal temperature of the room should be 55 degrees. So, after taking care of these aspects, you can begin with your project.

Steps to Take Before Painting the Car

The following includes the list of preparatory steps to be taken before painting the car.

  1. Now, who would not like a nice, squeaky clean, sparkling car? For this, wash the car thoroughly. Remove all the wax, grease and tar. The surface must be free of dust.
  2. We need to remove any rust on the car. Take an electric sander or sand paper and sand down the rust spots. Continue with the unpleasant bumps and scratches on the car.
  3. We then need to ground your car to get rid of static cling. Take a copper wire and attach it to a common electrical ground. Then, hook it up to the body of the car. Proceed to do a final rinse to rid the car of dust particles.
  4. Dry your car with towels. It must be dry before starting the paint job.
  5. Look over the car and with the putty and putty knife and fill any rust holes or uneven areas. Make the car smooth. Allow the putty to dry completely.
  6. Now, cover the windows with the plastic. Use masking tape to attach the plastic to the areas you do not wish to paint.

Instructions on How to Paint the Car

Now, we proceed to the actual process of painting the car.

  1. Prime the car. Spray the primer evenly across the car. While the car is drying, clean the paint sprayer.
  2. Coat the car with black enamel. Spray evenly over the primer. While drying, clean the paint sprayer again.
  3. Sand the car. The coat of enamel must be removed before painting. Sand down any uneven surfaces and bubbles that may have appeared.
  4. Get the sprayer ready with your coat of paint. Spray the car and allow it to dry. Repeat this step a couple of times, giving the paint time to dry between each coat. Clean the paint sprayer after this is done.
  5. This time, use the clear coat paint. Again, spray the car evenly and smoothly and allow it to dry. Continue this 2 more times.
  6. Allow the paint to dry overnight.
  7. In the morning, apply any racing stripes and decals to the car by covering the areas not to be painted.
  8. Remove the plastic from the windows and other areas.

It is time to go and show off your new car with its brand new identity!

Tips and Warnings

Keep the following tips and warnings in mind while you paint your car.

  • It is essential to use good, quality materials to paint your car to ensure long lasting results and better finish for your car.
  • Make sure that you have removed the wax / grease marks completely before you begin to sand the car because failing to do so may spread the wax or grease marks throughout the car.
  • Preferably use a closed area to paint your car in order to avoid insects, dust particles or wind from spoiling the finish of the freshly coated paint.
  • Make sure that you attach a ground wire to a common electrical ground and to your vehicle in order to avoid static electricity build up that may lead to attracting dust particles.
  • Learning how to paint a car requires patience and effort and so, be prepared to invest both these aspects along with time.

Additional Reading on How to Paint a Car

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