How to Paint a Car Step-by-Step

by Michael Cantrell

Many individuals these days are deciding to do a lot of the repairs to their vehicles themselves in order to save some extra cash. Taking your car to get painted by a professional may save you a lot of time and work, but you will be out a lot of money that you could have used for something else more useful. Painting a car can be a very time-consuming procedure, but the end result will be well worth the time and effort.

Check with your local city and county government to gather information about the legality of painting your own car. There may be legal restrictions on what type of paint you can use and where you are allowed to paint your car, depending on where you live. It is important to make sure you are not in violation of these legal restrictions to avoid breaking the law and to help preserve the environment.

Clean out your garage and cover any valuables with a tarp. This will prevent any of the paint from getting on anything you have stored in your garage. Make sure it is clean and well-ventilated to avoid being overwhelmed by paint or fumes from other chemicals.

Wash your car thoroughly and use grease remover to get rid of all dirt and grime. One of the most important steps in painting your car is making sure your vehicle has been properly prepared for painting and that process begins with a good washing.

Sand your car, checking for blemishes, dents and scratches. Sanding is the most-time consuming part of the whole process, and is the step that requires the most work. While you are sanding look for imperfections in the body of your vehicle. Take your time and carefully cover the whole car, making sure it is as perfect as possible. It might even be a good idea to have a friend come and inspect your work to see if you missed something.

Use masking tape to mark off all the parts of your car that you don't want to paint. Check at your local auto parts store to get a specific kind of masking tape that is designed for car painting. Make sure that you mark off the windows, the lights and the wheels of your car.

Put on your chemical safety gear to avoid injury. Since you are dealing with paint and other chemicals it is extremely important to make sure you are safe from the possible injury these chemicals can cause. You will need a paint suit, goggles, a respirator and some gloves.

Apply primer to your vehicle. Coat the car's body in epoxy primer first as a means of protecting the metal from water damage. After you apply epoxy you will need to apply sealer primer to the vehicle body. This will protect the epoxy primer from getting damaged by the top coat of paint you will soon be applying.

Apply the top coat of paint to your car. Hold the spray paint gun at least six inches away from the car body and begin applying your top coat. There are several types of paint you can use such as urethane, water-based and acrylic. The type you select depends on the type of car you have and the look you are going for.

Allow the paint to dry for a few hours and repeat the process of applying the top coat again. This will give your paint job a nice finish.

Items you will need

About the Author

Michael Cantrell is a freelance writer and musician from Piqua, Ohio. He has been writing professionally since 2007. In 2008, Cantrell was a full-time employee with an SEO company named Words You Want. He has a diploma from and is currently attending Edison Community College with a major of criminal justice.