How to Paint a Utility Trailer

by Jenny Carver

Paint a utility trailer to prevent it from rusting, make it look like new or to match your vehicle. Utility trailers can become scratched, rusted or ugly from regular use. Learn how to paint a utility trailer to get it looking like new and prevent it from getting rust.

Wash the utility trailer with automotive car wash soap before sanding. This will remove loose dirt, mud and rust from the surface. Clean the outer and inner surfaces.

Sand the utility trailer using 180 grit sandpaper. This can be done by hand, using a sanding block or an air powered sanding block. This step removes the surface rust and sands the top layer of the original paint. This is necessary for the primer to stick to the trailer.

Wash the trailer with the car wash soap again to remove all of the residue and dust from the sanding. The cleaner the surface of the trailer is, the smoother the paint will look. Allow the trailer to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Pour the primer into the spray gun. Automotive primer can be bought pre-mixed at any automotive paint and supply stores. Start at the front of the trailer and spray the primer across the front, down the sides and across the rear. Spray in even coats. Spraying too thick will cause the primer to run.

Sand the trailer again using 200 grit sandpaper after the primer is dry. Use the same sanding techniques as the previous sanding step. This prepares the primered surface for paint. Wipe off the sanding residue with a dry, clean rag.

Clean and fill the spray paint gun with automotive paint. This paint can be found pre-mixed at any automotive paint and supply store. Paint the trailer starting at the front, just like when spraying the primer. Use the same steps, applying the paint in even coats. Applying the paint too thick will cause runs in the paint.

Apply a second coat of paint to the trailer after the first coat dries to ensure good coverage. Allow the second coat to dry completely.


  • check Sanding the trailer before applying the primer is a crucial step in the process. If the trailer is not sanded properly, the primer and paint won't stick, leading to flaking and peeling.


  • close Do not apply the primer or pain too thick or heavy runs and drips will appear in the 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,, "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.