How to paint a car – step by step

Painting a car will require lots of products, clear coats, primers, and sprayers, and that is why professional auto paint jobs are so expensive. Although car painting is a complex process that requires professional skills, you can paint your car by yourself. Read on my research about how to paint a car – step by step; I hope it gives you an insight about at-home car painting.

Step 1: Prepare The Car’s Surface

Prepare the car’s surface using sandpaper by rubbing the metal surface back and forth using 600-grit sandpaper. The old paint will start to flake off from the car; once the old paint’s significant layer has flaked, you can upgrade the sandpaper to 1500-grit. The new sandpaper will work on the metal, adequately removing the remaining paint and rust. Once the paint is off, you might notice holes one the car that could have resulted from rusting and deterioration or accidents. You should fill these holes with putty designed for cars or metals; you will squeeze the putty directly into the hole till the holes have been covered with the gel. Allow the putty on the holes on the metal to dry for about an hour. Consequently, smoothen the surface with the putty and remove excess putty with a putty knife while ensuring that you do not uncover the holes.

After all the scrubbing, clean the car using a dry cloth; ensure that you remove all the dirt and dust from the car’s surface. You might notice stubborn dirt and wax that is hard to remove with a dry cloth, and it will be helpful to wipe with a cellulose thinner. The cellulose will dissolve the wax and bake on the dirt; thus, you will need a small amount as cellulose is very potent. You can then wipe the cellulose thinner using an old dry cloth. You may wish to use the cellulose thinner in a well-ventilated area since its fumes can be toxic; additionally, you can wear gloves and a mask when handling the cellulose thinner.

Cover the areas you will not paint using tape painters and paper, and you can tape paper on large surfaces such as windows that should not be painted. You can also cover areas that are not metallic such as wheel rims, side mirrors, window frames and car bumpers. Layer the ground with the paper if you do not want to have the paint polluting the surface. Additionally, if you want to paint the car with different colors, you can cover the parts that should be painted with a different color.

Step 2: Prime the Car

Choose a sheltered and well-ventilated place when priming the car as the aerosols used during priming will work better in warm, dry and ventilated conditions. For this, you can prime the car in a well-aerated garage, as it prevents humidity which makes it hard for the paint to dry. Your car should be away from any object you do not want to get polluted by the paint. You should remember to wear safety gear that protects you from the paint fumes and dust produced during priming; a dust mask and safety goggles will be helpful.

Apply three coats of primer on your car with the first coat at 25 centimetres from the car, and you will push the spray button directly at the surface of the car that you will paint. Move the spray at a consistent speed to achieve an even prime coat and wait for fifteen minutes before applying the next coat. It is wise to have several layers of primer than one thick layer as a thick layer can make the paint drip. Eventually, allow the primer to dry for 24 hours, then wet 1200-grit sandpaper and rub it on the coat primer until it is smooth and even. Finally, clean the area with warm and soapy water, remove the soap suds, dry the area using a towel, and let it air dry.

Step 3: Spray the Paint

The pigments in the car spray paint can separate over time; therefore, you will have to shake the bottle vigorously and let the pigments re-combine. Let the spray can sit for three minutes after shaking if it is a new bottle, but if you have used it in the last 12 hours, you can let the can sit for one minute. Once settled, you can test the paint on cardboard by spraying it from 25 centimetres away. Check the cardboard to ensure that it has even spray without any patches; if it is patchy, you can continue to shake the can and let it rest until it gives an even paint. Moreover, the test spray gives you a chance to experiment with the pressure you will need to put on the spray button to ensure that nothing goes wrong.

Use horizontal strokes to spray the paint on the car, and the can should be parallel to the car’s surface. You will push the spray button that lets the spray on the car’s surface; you can use even back and forth strokes to get an even paint on the surface.

Continue spraying while ensuring you keep the can parallel to the car until you get an even coat.

Apply several coat layers while waiting ten minutes before the next coat as the coat will still be sticky, allowing the next layer to stick and blend well with the previous coat. Apply the coats until there are no patchy surfaces and wait for 30 minutes for the paint to dry before applying a clear coat. The clear coat of paint protects your car from harmful UV rays. Finally, you can leave your car for 24 hours which lets it dry completely before using it.

The Bottom Line

Painting a car by yourself might seem like a complex procedure that you cannot achieve, but this guide on how to paint a car – step by step might help you achieve the desired look. Remember the importance of preparing the car’s surface, priming, painting evenly to get the best at-home car painting results. Good luck with painting your car.

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