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Jan 01, 2017

An easy guide to painting a car

An easy guide to painting a carAn easy guide to painting a car

A car is certainly a very valuable asset to people who own one. Therefore, taking care of it, so that it serves you well and also earns resale value, is well worth it. Among several aspects of maintenance, the cars paint is surely an important factor. Hence, if the paint on your car appears to be dingy, it is always good to give it a fresh coat.

Now, painting a car can often turn out to be a pretty expensive task, setting you back by a handsome amount of money. If you wish to save on this front, then a probable option is to go for a DIY car painting task, which despite being moderately easy, will help you save money.


As you might make out, painting the car can be a pretty time consuming task. Hence, you will need to keep a couple of weekends for the job. Also, make sure you have a shed of sorts so that weather doesn’t play spoilsport to your efforts.

You’ll need –

  • A lot of wet and dry sandpaper (1200 and 2000)
  • A sander that is electric or air powered
  • Newspapers for masking
  • Spray gun
  • Buffer
  • Masking tape
  • Air compressor
  • Safety glasses
  • Undercoat
  • Face masks
  • Enamel paint or topcoat acrylic
  • Paint thinners
  • Clear-coat lacquer

Coming to the paint, the requirements vary with the size of your car. If you posses a small or medium sized car, you’ll need about 4 liters of base coat, 11 liters of top coat and another 11 liters of clear-coat lacquer. If your car is large, then increase each by 3 liters.

Preparing for the task

The first task is to clear the area of any dust. Then, you should wash the car clean the surface completely. Ensure that there is no grease or dirt of any kind.

You must then decide if you are going to paint details or just the exteriors. Painting details, like the trunk, engine bay or doorsills, can take up more time, besides requiring that you strip all the parts down. Now, mask the areas that are not to be painted. Wear the face mask and the eye wear for protection, following which you can turn on the dust extractor.


Start sanding the car in circular motions. Corners and crevices might require that you do so by hand. The best option is to sand it to the bare metal finish. Make sure that you have an even and smooth surface.

Follow that up with a clean up using a rag and thinner. Then wait till the residue from the thinner evaporates.


The primer is to be mixed with the thinner and this can be done according to the ratios that are mentioned in your paint can.  You might also want to take a stance on your spraying technique. You can take a piece of scrap steel and hold the spray gun about six inches off the steel. Then spray using a side-to-side sweeping motion.

Once you settle on your technique move over to the car. Now, apply the primer in a thin but even manner. It should take two or three coats to completely cover the car. Then allow for drying times as mentioned in the primer car instructions. Each coat usually takes ten minutes per panel and then about 20-60 minutes between recoating the primer to cure.

The primed surface will have a powdery outlook and you’ll need to use the 2000 wet and dry sandpaper to even out things. Use a little bit of thinner and wipe the primed surface with a rag.


Now, mix the paint with thinner as per instructions. Apply topcoat making use of the same technique as before. Go on to apply three to four coats and allow for the drying time between every coat. Before, you go to the last coat, use the sandpaper again to remove powdery residue. Finally, repeat the steps for the clear-coat lacquer.

Removing the masking when the clear coat is still wet has to be done carefully. The tape or the paper should not stick to the wet paint. Let the clear coat cure for the required time. If you find any imperfections, sand the area and then re-spray carefully.

With his really simple approach, painting your car is a very simple job to accomplish. You will not only save money but also get an immense sense of satisfaction.

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