Have you ever thought about painting your car? You probably went online and decided not to. That’s good. Jokes aside, Auto painting can be a complicated task, which requires a lot of tools, experience, and the right environment for the whole process. However, in this article, we will not be talking about how difficult it is, instead, we will walk you through the exact steps of painting your car.
- A power sander
- Sanding pads
- An air compressor
- A paint sprayer
- 1200- and 2000-grit sandpaper
- A cleaning solvent
- Masking Tape
- Enamel, acrylic enamel, or polyurethane paint
- Paint thinner
- A face mask
- Safety glasses
- A clear coat lacquer
- A rag
- Denatured alcohol or mineral spirits
- Rubbing compound (optional)
What are the steps to getting a quality paint job?
Usually, cars require new paint jobs due to post-collision damages and damages caused by weather conditions like hail, floods, objects falling on cars because of strong winds, rock chips, etc. Depending on the damage the car might only need a certain part repainted or might have to go through a full-body repaint. In this article, we will skip the auto body repairs part and jump right into auto painting.
- Sanding down the old paint
- Cleaning the surface
- Apply Primer
- Sanding The Primer
- Wiping the surface of the primer
- Find out your car paint color code
- Applying lacquer
- Remove Masking tape And Polish
1. Sanding down the old paint
To start painting, we need to prepare our surface by sanding it down. The paint requires a clean and smooth surface for the primer to adhere to. We are talking to the bare metal or original primer at least. For best results and efficiency, using a power sander is recommended.
2. Cleaning the surface
Once we sanded down our surface, it is now time to clean it. Wipe it down with a clean rag first followed by a rag with denatured alcohol. Clean all working areas thoroughly.
Apply a masking tape to cover all the details and surfaces that you do not want to be painted – trims, windows, grills, etc. This is tedious but a very important step in the process. Compare the area to the other side of the car to ensure all unwanted areas are covered.
4. Apply Primer
Time to Prime! Before applying auto paint we need to apply an auto paint primer. A primer serves the purpose of protecting your car from rust and moisture as well as increasing the adhesive strength of the auto paint. 1 or 2 coats are normally applied. After you apply the primer, follow the instructions and let it cure. For this step ensure good room ventilation.
5. Sanding The Primer
After our primer has been cured, the surface is sanded once again using different grit sanding disks. This process makes the primer smooth and once again helps the strength of the paint bond. Be careful not to sand the original metal.
6. Wiping the surface of the primer
This step is one of the most important steps in the process of auto painting. Ensuring a perfectly clean surface will save you from rolling back quite a few steps. If the surface is not properly wiped down, the dust particles will be covered under the paint and will be visible with no way to remove them other than sanding them down to the bare metal or the primer.
7. Find out your car paint color code
Every car has a paint color code. It can be found online, based on the name of your car color, or by calling your dealer and providing the VIN. To obtain the paint you will have to go to a body shop or a dealer and purchase it. Calculate the amount of paint you need for the part. Usually, a standard car door takes about 300ml of paint.
Considering you have a paint gun and a compressor handy – let’s jump into the painting process. Hold the gun about 5-7 inches away from the surface and apply even thin coats by using side-to-side sweeps. Depending on the paint color 3-5 coats of paint are applied. Follow the instructions for drying time. It usually takes 12-24 hours for quality paints to cure. It is crucial to ensure a room free from dust and an optimal temperature for painting.
9. Applying lacquer
Apply lacquer using a spray gun following the same steps as for paint.
10. Remove Masking tape And Polish
This is the final step with the reversal of step number 3. Now all the masking tape needs to be removed and surfaces get prepared for the final process which is polishing.
Painting your car DIY involves a lot of steps and it’s not easy. Besides the steps we mentioned there are tonnes of other details such as primer & paint types, spray gun types, techniques, etc. In reality painting, a car yourself is never worth it. You will end up spending more money on tools and materials and probably go through a “trial and error” a couple of times and spend lots of time. It’s easy to screw something up, especially when doing it the first time.
Trust your paint job to experts at Alliance Auto! We have more than 10 years of experience in auto painting and make every paint job count!