How to Prep a Car for Paint

How to prepare your car for painting

Whether you want to paint your car by yourself or get the services of a professional to do so, you still need to know the things that should be in place before repainting your car. Truth be told, the way you prep your car before painting can positively or negatively affect the outcome of your paint.

With a few equipment and tricks, you will be well on your way to doing the job yourself and save on some much-needed fund. Without deviating it’s time to get right into the process of prepping your car for a repaint.

Attend to the damaged spots

You can’t just dive into repainting your car without first discovering the dented parts of your car that need some repairing work. Getting rid of as much dent as possible will give you a smoother painting surface to work on.

While some people can pound out the dented spots from the inside of the car with the help of a dolly or hammer, you can achieve this with just a suction cup. Just apply some hot glue to the affected part, then after 1 or 2 minutes to allow the glue harden, you then pull gently but firmly on the suction cup retractable tab until you can see it return to its shape. For a few dollars, you can get a dent repair kit for this purpose.

Give a thorough washing

When you are done with fixing the dented parts of your car, you need to wash it to see if there are still areas that need some work. Washing it also allows you to get rid of grease, dirt, oil, or fingerprints that you may have left behind. These things may seem little but they can make a difference in your final result.

However, before washing your car, make sure it is parked in the open and that you blow out the dust on it with the help of your air compressor. Using the blowgun of your air compressor will ensure that you reach hidden dust in cracks and corners for an even smoother finish.

Once you are done, you can proceed to wash with soapy water to get rid of all that grease, oil and fingerprints. And when the water dries off, get a clean rag and wipe off the surface with any safe solvent of your choice.

car washing

Sanding

There is hardly any car repainting job that can be pulled off successfully without the need for intensive sanding. You can always get sanders or other vibratory types to help in hastening the sanding job. The only thing is that there are usually some parts of the car that are complex in shape and may require that you do that with your hand to get to those areas.

Since you may be starting out new, you can begin with 400 grit, especially if you need to make use of body filler or have old paint that needs feathering. But if it is just to scuff a car that is in good body condition but in need of repainting then you can make use of 600 to 800 grit to get the job done.

To get the sanding process moving smoothly you should wet-sand which simply means to dunk the sandpaper in water as often as you can. This will make it go easier and faster and you won’t need to make use of much sandpaper.

Apply primer

It’s time to apply the first coating which is the primer. Don’t paint the whole body yet, start with the places that you body-filled and the areas that are sand-papered before moving to the bare metal. But make sure you use the primer that is meant for the surface of your car so that you get a good job done.

For bare metal, you have to make use of one coating of self-etching primer at least once. However, you should not use this kind of primer on a part of the car that is body-filled. You will also need a primer-sealer, especially when coating over old paint so that there won’t be chemical reactions between the new and old paint.

When you are done coating the bare areas with primer, you can proceed to coat the whole car up to 2 to 3 times with the primer. You should stick to the number of minutes or hours needed as contained in your primer direction before applying another coat.

Then go in with wet sandpaper to sand out scratches, drips or any rough spot you can see. Once you are done, you can clean the car with a neat rag using a solvent but not to the extent of it wiping off your primer. Check how long the manufacturer of your primer said you should wait before applying new paint.

The real painting

You have done everything you need to do to prep your car for painting and so you are ready to paint your car. You can decide to take your car to the professionals or you can decide to do it yourself.

In the event that you want to do it yourself, you should start by tapping off the windscreen, the headlights and all parts of the car that do not need to be painted. Covering up these parts of your car may seem daunting, but if you put your heart in it, you will be surprised to come up with an even better job than the guys at your local body shop who may not pay as much attention to the painting of your car as you would have to because of the demands on them.

And if you are bothered about what people would think about you being the one painting your car, you can always do it safely in your garage without fear of failure. If you take your time and carefully spray on the paint, you will love the result in the end.