The right color scheme can bring a car to life. It can transform a drab garage queen into a trendy boulevard cruiser. But how do you get it there? You could pay a shop a large sum of money to paint the car for you, but that might not be necessary.
With the right equipment, you can put a respectable paint job on your car. Make sure you’ve got enough space to work and proper ventilation.
Stick to the plan, and you can avoid the “painted with a mop” look that people associate with DIY paint jobs. Here’s what to do.
1. Choose the Right Location
During the painting process, you’ll want to protect your car from stray dust and exposure to airborne debris that might ruin your car’s finish. However, you still need plenty of airflow to make the job safe and help with the drying process. Since you probably haven’t got a paint booth, a large garage with some powerful fans in place is the ideal setup.
2. Gather Paint and Supplies
You’ll need to choose which paint to use. If you’re trying to match a factory color, consult your dealership and remember that your car’s paint may have faded in the sun since it was new, which can affect color-matching. If you’re changing colors, you don’t have to worry about that. Get more paint than you think you’ll need, too, because running out in the middle of the job can ruin your project.
Have a drop cloth, masking materials like masking paper and tape, paint thinner, a wet sander and primer ready. Also, have containers and rinsing buckets for clean and dirty tools.
3. Prep Your Car for Paint
Now it’s time to get to work! You will need to remove any paint still in place using paint thinner and sandpaper. For the new paint to sit well, you’ll need to take the car down to bare metal. When you can see metal across the entire area you plan to paint, make sure the finish is clean and then apply self-etching primer.
The primer is a critical component for the paint to adhere to the car’s finish well, and it also protects against rust. Make sure you apply an even coat and give it enough time to dry.
4. Paint Away!
You should probably practice your spray painting technique prior to going for it on your actual car. When you’re feeling confident, apply an even first coat of paint to the car. Move in broad strokes, allowing the paint to settle onto the primer without pooling. It’s best to think of the process as involving two or three coats, instead of trying to apply a rich coat of paint in one pass, which can cause blemishes.
With your final coat of paint in place, you can use a fine-grit wet sander to knock down any blemishes before you apply the lacquer clear coat. Give your car an even two coats of the clear lacquer to add some luster to the finish, and then buff that down once it’s had time to dry.
Your DIY Paint Job Is Complete!
There you have it — a DIY paint job that won’t leave you embarrassed to be seen on the road. You’ve probably saved thousands of dollars compared to the price of having a paint job like this done at the nearest body shop. Pat yourself on the back and take in the sight of your newly-painted ride. Who knows — maybe there’s a paint booth in your future!