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How to Spray Paint Car Parts

by Richard Kalinowski

While it's best to go to a shop for an intricate custom paint job, painting individual car parts a solid color can be done at home with some basic preparation and simple painting techniques. Painting car parts is a great way to make your vehicle stand out or to simply cover up scratches and rust with a new coat of paint. While costly equipment such as a professional paint gun is necessary for large jobs, individual parts can usually get a professional look with simple spray cans.

Remove the part you intend to paint and place it on newspapers or a drop cloth so as not to get paint on anything nearby. If the part is not easily removed, use painter's tape and newspaper to fully cover all nearby parts. Make sure the taped edges are fully sealed to avoid any dripping onto other car parts.

Sand the surface with 300 grit sandpaper to prevent the primer from slipping off the otherwise smooth surface.

Wipe the freshly sanded part with a clean, dry cloth to remove any dust or dirt.

Apply a coat of primer using a regular bristled brush. Allow the primer to dry; consult the container for drying times.

Apply a second coat of primer and let dry.

Sand the surface with 900 grit sandpaper and wipe with a fresh cloth.

Shake the spray can well, then spray some old newspapers or rags to get the paint flowing. The first spray can sometimes be goopy, so you don't want to start on the car part itself.

Begin spray painting the surface. Depending on the brand of spray paint, the nozzle will need to be at differing distances from the surface. Consult the spray can's label for guidance.

Apply thin coats with proper drying time of at least 1 hour in between--sometimes longer depending on the paint; consult the can for the most accurate drying times. Three coats will usually be enough, but add more if necessary. Several thin coats are better than one or two thick coats.

Spray the dried, painted surface with a clear coat. Sand the surface with 900 grit sandpaper, then spray another clear coat. Sand again with 900 grit, then sand with 2000 grit sandpaper. Once the surface is smooth, wipe with a dry microfiber cloth.

Apply multipurpose polish to the surface and gently buff the microfiber cloth.

Reattach the newly painted part to your car.

Items you will need

About the Author

Richard Kalinowski began writing professionally in 2006. He also works as a website programmer and graphic designer for several clients. Kalinowski holds a Master of Fine Arts from Goddard College and a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

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