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Auto Paint Application Methods

Is it time for a new car paint job? Auto paint application involves several stages and follows a series of procedures under controlled environments to ensure a sleek finish. All automotive paint types follow similar procedures with slight variations.

Experts first begin by arranging the body parts which is in the form of metal sheets into a temporary assemblage. This is usually called the body in white (BIW), which is painted and baked in controlled temperatures and undisturbed surroundings.

Ready to choose the right automotive paint color for your car? Check out all our auto paint gallon products here. Paint For Cars, in business since 1998, is your online source for automotive paint kits and supplies.

Read More: 6 Key Tips for How to Paint a Car

Common Steps for Auto Paint Application

The common steps for auto paint application on the BIW are:

1. Surface Preparation

To start, first ensure that the auto paint adheres to the substrate. In order to do that, the BIW must be washed with high-pressure water jets to remove all impurities such as oil, grease, chalk, and ink marks from the substrate surface. Also, prior to applying the paint, you’ll need to remove any rust, sanding, cleaning, and will need to prime of the surface to ensure good adhesion of the paint.

2. Priming

The next step is priming the surface of the car. Just before a paint layer is applied, the BIW is dipped in a primer solution for even application of the primer. The primer is essential to create an even surface including microscopic textures for the following coats and also is used to protect the BIW from rusting.

3. Base Coat Application

Next is the base coat application. Usually, 3 coats of the base coat are needed for a rich deposition of the pigment onto the BIW. Each layer is dried thoroughly before painting a new layer on top. The base coat dries to a flat finish in most paint types.

4. Clear Coat Application

The base coat is concentrated with pigments and is prone to attack by UV and other chemicals. The clear coat is a clear lacquer layer that is applied to the base coat to protect the pigments and to provide a glossy finish to the BIW.

Our Two Stage Kits include Basecoat + Clearcoat products are easy to apply. If you’re looking for the best type of paint for your car, take a look at our article here.

Types of Automotive Paint

Read More: 4 Life-Saving Steps to DIY Car Painting

3 Auto Paint Application Techniques

The process of paint application is the same for almost all paint types. Depending on the paint manufacturers and the nature of the paint and finish required, there are various paint application techniques that are widely used in the auto paint industry.

Choosing the right paint application method can be based on your budget constraints, the kind of finish you require for your car and the resources you have access to for completing the paint job efficiently. Check out our Single Stage Automotive Paint Kits to see all our fast-drying auto paint application options.

Auto Paint Application #1: Spraying

Spraying is the most economical and preferred technique for auto paint application. It has different types of spraying methods that are predominantly used in the industry. Below are the different types of auto paint application methods:

Air Atomized Spray

This is a conventional spraying technique that’s used across the industry for its flexibility in the application. With this auto painting method, the setting for the spray gun can be adjusted based on the requirements. The pressurized mist is sprayed onto the substrate evenly and works effortlessly for paint application. As this technique uses compressed air mixed with liquid paint to produce a pressured mist, it can be hazardous for workers increasing harmful airborne chemicals content. For your protection, ensure you maintain a ventilated environment for working with this technique!

Airless Spray

The paint is directly forced out of a narrow opening to create pressure, without using compressed air. This technique requires precision and skill, but does not cause loss of material like the Air Atomized spraying technique does. This method is often used for larger auto paint jobs and provides a more efficient and cost-effective alternative when compared with traditional spray painting.

Electrostatic Spray

This technique requires expertise and precision, but is highly efficient in saving material loss and even coating. The paint particle is charged with high voltage which is attracted to the body part with increased transfer efficiency. This is a modern technique that requires expert assistance as it can cause fire hazards in uncontrolled environments. It can also be used only with specific paints with specific compositions with a specific conductivity.

High Volume, Low Pressure

This method offers higher transfer efficiency. HVLP equipment propels large quantities of low-pressure air to the gun applicator and yields lesser overspray and blowback, reducing the amount of wasted paint. HVLP spraying is a good choice since it is a more environmentally friendly option than traditional spray painting. It’s also great for producing a high-quality, smooth finish.

Read More: 6 Common Auto Car Paint Problems & Cures

Auto Paint Application #2: Brushing

With this traditional paint application method, the paint is brushed onto the substrate using a brush.

This is usually used to repair finishes and not to paint the entire body of the car. Keep in mind that this method has a risk of uneven surfaces and brush strokes to the finished surface, which may not look as smooth as an air spray or dipping finish.

In addition, this is a slower process than spray painting.

However, it can be useful for small touch-up jobs in smaller areas, or for applying paint in hard-to-reach areas of your vehicle.

Read More: 5 Major Threats to Your Car Paint

Auto Paint Application #3: Dipping

Lastly, let’s talk about dipping.

Dipping is an auto paint application method predominantly used to coat the entire area of a body part. This technique requires the least expertise – the part is simply dipped in a primer solution or a coating solution and taken out and hung to dry.

The larger parts require larger tanks for dipping which is the major drawback of the method.

Dipping is best suited to apply protective layers on smaller parts.

Read More: What is Automotive Paint Made Of? 10 Tips to Maintain It

Summary of Auto Paint Application

Is your car showing signs of needing a new paint job? Various auto paint application techniques have evolved over time with new paint compositions and advancements.

Using the right application method that fits right into your requirements and budget, nature of the finish, type of paint and coat can greatly improve and enhance your overall automotive paint job.

If applicable (your vehicle was in an accident), here are 3 things to know before approaching your insurance company for a repainting.

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Read more on the different types of auto paint or crucial painting tips here. Or, shop Paint For Cars online to get great competitive prices on quality car paint!

As always, please reach out to our knowledgeable team with questions about auto paint application.

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DIY Car Paint & Paint Equipment

Are you a vintage car collector that’s interested in auto paint? Or does your car need a new paint job and you’re looking for a new color?

This article is a brief on the popular automotive paints and their composition and some bonus tips about auto painting and preserving your car paint efficiently.

What is Automotive Paint Made Of?

Auto paint – also called automotive paint or car paint – is a type of paint specifically designed for use on cars. It is made up of several key components. These usually include a resin or binder, pigment, solvent, and various additives.

Types of Automotive Paints


The resin is the main component of the automotive paint. Resin acts as a binding and protective property in the paint. Usually, resin can be made from a variety of materials such as urethane, acrylic, or polyester.


Another key component to auto paint are pigments. Pigments are important since they provide color to the automotive paint. Additionally, pigments in car paint can be made from natural or synthetic sources.


Next, solvents are used to thin the paint to a workable consistency and evaporate as the paint dries, leaving behind the resin and pigment.


Lastly, additives are included in automotive paint to help improve the performance of the paint overall. This includes strengthening its durability, improving the quality of the gloss, or boosting resistance to fading and chipping.

From the resin and pigments, to the solvents and other additives, the composition of auto paint is carefully balanced to meet the specific requirements of the automotive industry. Quality components such as these ensure that the car’s surface is resistant to extreme temperatures, weathering, and impact.

Read More: Trends for Popular Auto Paint Color

1K & 2K Auto Paints

Most automotive paints are water-based compositions that are designed to fix themselves to a substrate, in this case, the car body. It is composed of polyurethane- enamel which helps to protect the car body from environmental damage like rust.

1K Auto Paints

There are different types of automotive paint classified based on their composition. First, let’s talk about 1K auto paints.

1K paints indicate paints that do not require catalysts or hardeners to dry.

2K Auto Paints

Meanwhile, 2K paints are mixed with a hardener or activator to dry and are effective against UV, weather damage and chemical effects.

Depending on the paint application technique, there can be a varied number of stages for painting a car. Most modern automotive paint jobs use multi-stage paint applications for better results and long-lasting gloss and shine.

Find out the best types of paint for your car here!

Types of Auto Paint

Maintaining Your Auto Paint

Watching your dream car roll out looking like eye candy and everything you imagined it to be, can give you an amazing rush and thrill. To ensure that your car continues to look like that you need to maintain your car’s auto paint.

Maintaining your automotive paint efficiently is less complicated and effortless when you know what your paint is made of and what it needs to stay fresh and new for longer periods.

Now that we’ve discussed what automotive paint is made of, now let’s talk about 10 care tips for maintaining your auto paint!

10 Auto Paint Tips

Car care techniques must be carefully curated based on the type of paint used. Periodic maintenance and preservation steps can help keep your car paint protected from damage and deterioration in quality and looks.

Here are 6 common auto car paint problems and cures to look out for. It is very important to weigh in multiple factors that can affect paint efficiency and take necessary steps to avoid iron fallout and dulling of paint:

1. Wash it Regularly and Thoroughly

Preferably, you should do this using a high-pressure wash. Make sure to wash the nooks and corners of the car and remove dust, dirt, grime, etc.

2. Remove Dirt and Muck Immediately

Next, you’ll want to remove any dirt from the paint surface. Substances like tree gum or sap, bird droppings, and insects if left for too long on the paint surface or if it dries on it, can lead to corrosion and create cracks in the paint. It can also make the paint turn dull which can’t be reversed. Use a good cleaner to remove filthy much immediately and ensure to not leave any residue. Read more here about the 5 major threats to your car paint.

3. Be Quick to Treat Minute Scratches or Dents.

The next step is to make sure to take care of any scratches, scuffs, dings, or dents caused by keys or tiny stones while running. Take expert advice in treating such minute blemishes to keep the car body from rusting.

4. Ensure that the Painting & Finishing Processes Are Performed Under Controlled Conditions

When waxing or polishing the surface of the car, be sure to perform these under controlled conditions. To ensure you do this correctly, follow guidelines specified by the manufacturer for maximum effects and minimal mistakes that may cost you in the long run.

Read More: 4 Life-Saving Steps to DIY Car Painting

5. Clean Up Issues Like Bird Droppings & Tree Sap

Bird droppings or tree sap, if not cleaned properly or treated on time, can lead to permanent damages to the car paint. To avoid this, be sure to clean bird droppings with plenty of water. Tree sap must be thoroughly removed and must not be directed to sunlight when it is in contact with the paint surface as it can lead to cracks and chipping.

6. Every Six Months Use Wax Polish

Twice a year, you should maintain the shine and glossy finish. Use paint cleaner, sealants, and polish for old cars to ensure that the surface is even. Light lacquer cleaning and paint polish are recommended by experts every three years for maintaining a smooth, even finish.

7. Use a Clean, Soft Cloth to Dry the Car

Once finished with washing the car’s surface, you’ll want to use a soft, clean cloth to dry the car. This helps to avoid watermarks from appearing on its surface.

8. Use a Polishing Paste to Quickly Fix Small Scratches

Another tip is to be sure to also polish the surface as soon as possible. In case of deep scratches, use a wax crayon as a quick fix which can act as a protective layer. But this can wear off with a few washes.

9. Perform a Touch-Up Job for Deep Scratches With Exposed Bare Metal

In the case of deep scratches that have exposed bare metal, a touch-up job is required. This can prevent the metal from exposure to harmful substances that can cause rusting.

10. Spray Multiple Layers for Large Amounts of Damage

Lastly, whenever there are big changes, you’ll need to resolve these by spraying multiple layers of the topcoat and finishing it with a polish.

Read More: 6 Key Tips for How to Paint a Car


We hope this article has been informative to help you know what automotive paint is made of and maintenance tips for how to apply properly. For more info, please visit our crucial tips post.

Automobile paint can be easily affected by environmental stresses and regular wear and tear from usage. By taking care of it and periodically monitoring its health, you can save big bucks in the future and protect your car from the biggest hazard: corrosion.

Read More: 3 Things to Know Before Approaching Your Insurance Company for Repainting

Adhering to manufacturer’s guidelines and professional advice to maintain car paint can make your job easier as a car owner and admirer.

Contact Us

Questions? The helpful staff at Paint for Cars is here to help! Contact our team here today for more information about auto paint maintenance or choosing a car paint color for your automobile! At Paint for Cars, we are your source for automotive paint kits and supplies!

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The color of the car and its outlook defines a lot about our mindsets and how we feel about the car itself. More car owners today want to bring in a personal touch to their cars by customizing colors, designs and other aspects to the appearance of the cars.

Some of these custom designs and personal touches are beginning to shape the industry standards and shift the client base globally.

It is also bringing noticeable changes in auto paint color trends by the year. The year 2021 has seen significant changes and welcomed technological advancements and opportunities for new color solutions for the future.

Here are some top new trends for auto paint color for 2021:

Exterior Color Trends

2021 was greeted with a shift from neutral shades like black, grey and white to more shades reflecting positivity.

Car manufacturers that previously used neutral shades to highlight angular, sharp designs of the car have now shifted to positive, moody and emotional shades.

Bold Color s that stand out with a soothing effect are being preferred more than neutral tones. Color s that speak for the environment and emphasize grace, tranquility and simplicity were seen emerging in 2021.

BASF, one of the leading automobile OEM coatings suppliers globally has voted Dark Seltzer – a medium-dark grey shade, Redolent Red – a subtly-muted reddish-brown and Abstraction Blue – a deep, rich blue as the top trending color s for 2021.

Color Choices that Remain

White that has been the top color choice for the past ten years is still leading with over 25% – 35% of the purchases in 2021.

White is the preferred choice of color for predominantly minivans, trucks, SUVs, sedans, and luxury cars, followed by pearl and metallic shades.

50% of the purchases made were either black or grey and are expected to remain in the top even in 2021 with white standing first among the three.

Paint Textures

Paint textures have been on-demand as they give a tactile as well as a live outlook for cars.

Textured finishes are preferred by car owners today who previously only focused on getting from point A to B. They want their cars to have dimension and love to see their cars finished with their personal touch.

Buyers prioritize resale value

Buyers today are equally concerned about the resale value of cars when choosing the color of the cars down the lane.  The new color s Dark Seltzer, Redolent Red and Abstraction Blue which were chosen by BASF, hold good resale value as they are classic tones that will attract buyers in the future too.

Maintenance of paint color

Buyers who are looking for low maintenance are opting for neutral shades as they do not highlight grime, dirt, dust and water spots as much as bright color s. Specifically, Dark Seltzer and its shades are attractive for buyers as they appear fresh and clean even if they have not been washed in a while and also possess great resale value for the future, being a classic tone.

In Conclusion

Car color trends for 2021, are less techno-centric and reflects more on the emotional and environmental attributes of the buyers. The three color s Dark Seltzer, Redolent Red and Abstraction Blue are hues that take people back into the past with their classic vibes while also giving them a glance at the future of car design.

Car paint in 2021 has evolved to hues and textures that communicate the owner’s personality than they do about the cars themselves. This redefines how the global market will perceive car design and outlook for consumers in the next years.

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Car paint geeks around the world will agree that automotive painting is an art and requires skill and expertise while getting the job done perfectly. However, everyone, expert or not, can make mistakes. While these mishaps and blunders may not necessarily be the painter’s fault, they could be due to other factors like the working environment, paint, composition, surface texture, etc.

Factors like humidity, temperatures, dry times, and the film thickness can influence the overall quality of the paint and its finish. There could be times when no amount of precision or care is enough for a blemish-free paint job.

Six common problems you could encounter while painting your car and their fixes are mentioned below to make your life easier.

1.    Peeling

This appears after you spray or paint the primer or paint on the surface. It appears like small craters or circular dips.

This usually occurs when the surface has been contaminated with wax, silicone, grease or oil.

To avoid this, thoroughly degrease or remove wax from the surface before going for the primer or paint. Using a fisheye eliminator can also help.

2.    Cracking

Long or shorter lengths of cracks can be seen on the paint wither while painting on a cracked surface or if the undercoat or topcoat film is too thick.

It can also happen when there is too much hardener in the paint composition.

The only way to fix it is by stripping the paint and redoing it to finish.

3.    Bubbling

Sometimes, tiny air bubbles in the paint can rise to the top and pop resulting in small craters. Adjust the spray gun settings to the appropriate pressure and spray the paint from a specific distance from the surface.

You can fix air trapping and bubble problems by sanding the spot with 1200 grit sandpaper and then polishing it.

4.    Fading or dulling

You may have noticed a loss of gloss or dieback after completing your paint job. This could be due to multiple reasons.

Some of the common reasons for dull appearance is contaminated hardener, porous primer, when solvent from topcoat attacks primer, uneven temperature of the environment, very thin topcoats. It can also occur with some metallic basecoats.

To prevent this, you must ensure to use fine sanding paper, increase topcoat thickness, provide even baking temperatures, and seal solvent sensitive primers like lacquer.

To fix dulling or fading, buff the surface and polish and if it is extremely dull, sand and refinish.

5.    Orange Peeling

After painting, the uneven texture of the finished surface may resemble an orange peel. This is the most common problem that can happen when painting a car.

This is caused when the paint is under thinned or is sprayed at low pressures. It can also happen when the environment is too hot while painting and baking. Very rarely, it happens when too many heavy coats are applied.

To avoid the orange peel effect, use paint mixing and thinners as instructed by the manufacturer. Use spray gun settings that are appropriate and schedule your painting sessions when the weather conditions are not too hot.

To fix orange peel, sand and buff using mild polish for enamel coats and use a compound for lacquer. In case of extreme conditions, sand the surface till it is smooth and re-spray the topcoat.

6.    Chipping off

Sometimes, small paint portions may chip off from the surface due to a lack of adhesion.

This can happen when the metal is not treated properly, improper mixing of paint components, when cleaning or preparation of the surface is done poorly or when a good sealer is not used in the process.

To avoid paint chipping off, make sure to measure and mix the paint components thoroughly, and use compatible products as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Degreasing the substrate and using proper metal conditioners can also help with chipping.

The only way to fix it is by removing paint from a larger area near the chipped area, smoothening the surface by sanding, preparing the metal and then refinishing.

Summing Up

Automobile paint jobs can be challenging when proper conditions and expertise are not available. Mishaps when painting a car is normal and every problem has a solution that does not require stripping off the paint of the entire car. This article has insights on the most common problems and ways to avoid them or fix them with simple yet efficient solutions.

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