How to Paint a Car Matte Black

by Richard Kalinowski
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black car on the street image by Furan from

A matte black finish can add a sleek aesthetic to your car, or a matte finish can simply cover up a fading, older paint job. Unfortunately, getting a new paint job can be pricey if you go to a professional auto-body shop. Luckily, the process isn't overly difficult; even a novice painter can achieve the desired results in just a few steps.

Step 1

Wash your car with soap and water. You may also take your car through a carwash to save some time; just make sure you do not get the car waxed at the end of the carwash. Wax will make paint coverage more difficult. Additionally, you'll still want to give the car a quick once-over after you pull back into the driveway. Your car must be completely clean, so even after a carwash you will need to wipe away any dirt or grease that accumulates on the drive home.

Step 2

Sand the car's surface using 100-grit sandpaper for noticeable surface imperfections and 320-grit sandpaper for the rest of the car's exterior.

Step 3

Spray the car with a garden hose to remove any lingering sandpaper dust.

Step 4

Wait for the car to dry. This can take up to 2 hours. Do not dry the car with a towel since small towel fibers can transfer onto the surface.

Step 5

Apply painter's tape to protect the windows, door handles, grille and other details that you do not want painted.

Step 6

Apply general purpose primer to the car's surface. Spray primer works best because you do not have to worry about leaving visible brush-strokes on the auto's surface.

Step 7

Wait at least 1 hour for the primer to dry. Drying times vary depending on the manufacturer, so you'll want to consult the spray can for the most accurate drying duration.

Step 8

Fill a spray gun with black urethane paint. According to Monster Guide, some hardware stores also sell individual cans of auto-paint for consumers who do not own a spray gun. Make sure the paint you purchase has a matte finish. For auto paints, a matte finish is often called a "flat" finish.

Step 9

Spray the car's surface with the matte black paint, holding the gun about 12 to18 inches from the car's surface. Move horizontally as you spray the car, and allow at least 50% overlap between each pass with the spray gun. Ensuring adequate overlap will yield better coverage.

Step 10

Wait about 15 minutes, as recommended by Monster Guide, and apply a second coat. Wait 15 minutes again before adding a third coat to the vehicle. This is usually enough for adequate matte coverage, but you can add more coats if you want an even thicker finish.

Step 11

Wait at least 90 minutes before touching the freshly-painted surface or driving the car.

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