6 Key Tips for How to Paint a Car

How to Paint a Car from Start to Finish

Are you looking for key tips for how to paint a car from start to finish?

Over time, your vehicle has more than likely developed rust or accumulated small blemishes. As a result, as a car, truck, or motorcycle enthusiast, you likely have had a vehicle that you need to re-paint.

We live in a time where many people enjoy doing a do-it-yourself (DIY) project. If a fresh new paint job is something you want to invest time and money into, you’ll definitely want to take time to research, talk to your local car enthusiast group, or seek assistance from a car paint professional before diving into your DIY car paint project.

Here is our article about how to paint your car like a pro!

Best Type of Paint for Cars

1. Remove the Rust

To begin, you’ll want to make sure you have a rust-free foundation.

In order to have an effective paint job, you’ll need to 100% remove the rust. To do this, you’ll need to remove the metal only in the rusty area and weld in patches. For extremely rusty sections, you may need to replace the entire panel.

You’ll find that doors and fenders are easier to replace than other parts of your vehicle such as quarter panels, door skins, and floor pans. The latter three will require tools such as clamps, a welder, a weld cutter, or grinder in order to perform a replacement.

Be sure to research thoroughly how to remove the rust from your car prior to applying the paint. Painting over rust will unfortunately result in bubbling underneath the paint. Rust will also spread over time, so make sure to get rid of it completely!

2. Get the Car Panels Straight

The next step for how to paint a car is to ensure that you get the car panels straight.

It can take quite a few hours of applying body filler, sanding, and repeating the process again to make the panel straight. In some cases, using specialty tools may be required. Contact us here with any questions about your car panels.

Also, make sure to use a quality body filler. Even though it will still fill the voids of the car panels, a low quality filler it’s just not worth the investment since it won’t last as long. Quality filler will often be easier to sand as well.


3. Use a Quality Primer

The next step in effectively painting your your car is choosing a high quality primer. Note that you should choose between a specialized urethane primer or an epoxy primer.

  • Urethane Primer: High quality primer. Smooth finish.
  • Epoxy Primer: Best choice for applying over bare metal. Provides an even better seal than urethane primer. Is more moisture tolerant.

Note: Make sure that before you start using your spray gun, you practice first! You can practice by using test panels to achieve the best look for your primer and later, your car paint.

4. Choose a Car Paint

The next step of how to paint a car is researching the best car paint for your vehicle.

Knowing ahead of time which paint you should purchase is going to be a critical step in achieving the desired look for your car. Make sure you utilize an automotive finish color chip chart to select your car paint color.

There are plenty of different types of automotive car paint you can choose for your project. However, most car enthusiasts and paint pros suggest using either urethane or the two-step acrylic enamel paints over the over paint type variations.

The reason? Both urethane and acrylic enamel paints feature higher viscosity when compared to lacquer paint styles. Typically, a mixture of 1 part primer to 1 or 1/2 part thinner is enough to achieve the right color you are looking for. Because of this, you’ll need fewer coats of paint if you use urethane or acrylic enamel paints.

In fact, we have found that lacquer paints often need twenty or more coats of paint to get a similar outcome. Most of the time, two or three coatings of base color and three topcoats of clear will do the job. Here are 5 different ways to paint your car.

Read More: Important Things to Know About Auto Painting

Gerson Blue Resperator

5. Purchase Safety Gear

Whenever you paint a car, you will need to invest in the proper safety gear.

We recommend purchasing a complete paint suit to protect your body and clothes from any potential toxic materials. You should also buy a respirator with two air filters.

Also, be sure to purchase gloves, goggles, and head covering so that your hands, eyes, and face are protected while you work.

For your reference, here is a list of the safety gear you should buy:

  • Paint suit: to protect your clothes and body
  • Respirator: with two air filters
  • Gloves: to protect your hands
  • Goggles and head covering: to keep your eyes and face safe

6. Keep Your Work Area Clean

Perhaps this last step goes without saying, but we want to stress how important it is to keep everything in your work area clean – prior to even starting to paint your car.

Be sure to keep the area clean at all times. This will make your car paint job more efficient and it will also ensure that dirt and debris are kept away from a fresh coat of car paint. Trust us – it’s a bummer when there is a mistake due to dirt that gets on an otherwise beautiful car paint job!

Also, we want to note that you should always make sure your spray gun is clean before you begin applying your primer and car paint.

Read More: Crucial Tips to Remember in Painting Your Car

Final Thoughts On How to Paint a Car

Let Paint For Cars be your online resource for high quality auto paints, (available in 1 gallon), single stage and two stage kits (which include the car paint, reducer, hardener, sticks, strainers, and dust mask, etc.), as well as our auto paint supplies (primers, urethane reducers, body fillers, and clear coats, etc.)

Now that you know some of the key steps for how to paint a car effectively, you can get started on your painting project equipped with better knowledge to move forward. If you have further questions, contact us here, or check out our other blog articles for more information.

Also, don’t forget to take a look at our website for any and all of your auto painting needs.

Read More: How to Care for a Fresh Car Paint Job