How to Paint Plastic Auto Parts

by Jenny Carver

Painting plastic auto parts requires different preparation and products than painting a car's sheet metal. Plastic auto parts may include trim pieces, door handles, mirror housing and other miscellaneous items. Applying spray paint to these plastic parts is not a good idea, as the paint will crack, peel and flake within a short time. Paint plastic auto parts properly and your paint job will last for years.

Remove the plastic parts from the vehicle, if possible. This allows for more thorough cleaning and preparation. If you cannot remove the part, mask the area around the it.

Wash the plastic auto part with car wash soap and rinse with water. Allow it to dry completely, then wipe the plastic with rubbing alcohol. Use a lint-free towel to wipe the part with wax and grease remover.

Sand the plastic auto part with 800-grit sand paper and water. Keep the paper soaking wet while sanding to keep dust from building up under the paper and scratching the part. Rinse the part and allow it to dry.

Apply an adhesion promoter to the plastic part so that the primer and paint will stick to it. Apply the adhesion promoter just as you would paint--with light, even coats. Allow it to dry. Prime the part with two thin coats of primer, allowing each coat to dry.

Paint the plastic auto part with three coats of paint. Allow each coat to dry completely. Spray two coats of clear on the part and allow it to dry overnight.

Tip

  • check Always wear a face mask when sanding or spraying primer and paint.

Items you will need

About the Author

Since 1997 Jenny Carver has served as editor and freelance writer for many offline and online publications including lovetoknow.com, autotropolis.com, "Hoof Beat News," "Import Tuner" and others. Carver owns a custom automotive shop where she has been doing paint and body work, custom interior work and engine building for over 11 years.