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What is Automotive Primer?

Let’s talk auto primer!

Automotive primer is essential – no matter if you’re painting the entirety of your vehicle, or you are simply doing touchups to freshen up the look of your car. So, to start, what is auto primer?

When it comes to auto painting, primer is the paint-like application that one usually applies after a sanded surface and prior to the topcoat.

There are different types of auto primer which you can easily apply with either a spray gun or a brush. In addition, some primers you’ll find on the market are great at providing filling capabilities, while some are better for  sealing against the natural elements. Some also will need to be applied with another secondary primer.

If you’re doing any type of auto bodywork, repair, or paint job, you’ll definitely need to use primer at some point. In particular – if you are removing rust or refinishing your car’s paint job and will be sanding it down to the bare metal.

There are plenty of reasons why you should use a primer. We’ll also cover how to use, when to use, and which type of primer is best for your project.


Why Use Auto Primer?

If you’re brand new to painting cars, you may be curious about how auto primer is helpful. Here are at least 3 major reasons why you should use auto primer:

1. Helps the Car Paint Adhere to the Bare Metal

To start, automotive primer acts as a buffer, helping your car’s paint adhere to the bare metal and body of the vehicle.

Not using an auto primer will give you unfortunate results – from peeling, to flaking, to eventual rust. Investing in a high quality auto primer is worth it, and will help your car paint adhere better and create a stunning final result.

2. Prevents Rust & Moisture Damage to the Car

Next, you’ll want to purchase an auto paint primer to help prevent rust or moisture damage to your car.

How exactly does auto primer help limit rust or moisture damage? Essentially, the primer adds a couple of protective layers to prevent rust from forming, which also helps to limit the development of unwanted moisture.

For rust and moisture protection, you will likely be purchasing an urethane or an epoxy-based automotive primer sealer for the job.

3. Acts as a Filler for Sanding

In addition, some types of auto primer can be used as a filler any time you are sanding blemishes and scratches from your car body.

This means you don’t need to utilize putty or a urethane surfacer!

How to Use Auto Primer?

Now that we’ve discussed auto primer’s importance, let’s talk about how to use auto primer!

Many, if not most types of auto primers will be available as a two part – a primer base and an activator. These two parts will need to be mixed prior to use.

Some auto primers can be applied easily using an aerosol can or other application methods. When using an auto primer – ALWAYS follow the included instructions for accurate results.

When to Use Auto Primer?

When should I apply automotive primer?

Before applying your primer, ensure that you have followed these steps for best results:

  • Remove the rust. The first step here is to sand or grind any existing rust from the car.
  • Fill the scratches in. Next, use a filler to fill any dents, dings, scratches, etc. on the body of your vehicle. Some primers are know for good build and can act as a filler.
  • Sand before priming. Now that you have used a filling or putty, you can now sand away any visible blemishes from the surface of your car.
  • Ensure the surface of your vehicle is clean. We recommend washing your vehicle so that it’s clean and has no particles on it. You are almost ready to apply the auto primer, however, make sure your car’s surface is fully dry prior to applying!
  • Apply the primer. If you are planning to paint your entire car or large surface areas of your car, we recommend utilizing a spray gun for the job. Otherwise, if it’s just small touch-ups, using a brush will work just fine. When using a spray gun, be sure to keep a bucket of thinner on hand so you can soak the spray gun parts to keep your equipment as clean as possible.
  • Read the instructions for proper curing time. Note that the curing time will differ between the various types of auto primers. A bad quality curing job can unfortunately lead to an overall poor painting job. Make sure you know what the curing times are before starting. When in doubt, simply allow extra time for the primer to dry.
  • Determine the amount of coats you need. Lastly, consider if you need just one or two applications of primer. Any time you are painting a large surface or the entire body of your car, know that two coats is the standard. For a smaller touch up, one coat may be all that’s needed. Follow the instructions that came with your primer whenever in doubt.


Different Kinds of Automotive Primer

Let’s talk about what is the best automotive primer for your project. One of the most common questions we get is “what kind of automotive primer should I use?”

Ultimately, the specific type of auto primer you choose depends on the size and needs of your project. Let’s take a look:

  • Epoxy Primer. This type of primer is a standard base that doesn’t sand as well as other types of auto primer. However, it is nevertheless a good primer that helps to prevent corrosion since it has great corrosion resistance.
  • Urethane Primer Surfacer – This primer is a two-part primer surfacer. Urethane primers are often used alongside putty or fillers to repair scratches, dents, and other blemishes. Since it isn’t the best for corrosion resistance, urethane primers are commonly applied over a secondary base primer.
  • Polyester Primer – Polyester primer is great for filling small scratches and dings. It is the best choice available for filling bodywork scratches and dents while also providing EXCELLENT paint bonding. The only actual drawback to polyester primer is that it tends to be more brittle than urethane or epoxy primers.
  • Urethane Sealer – While an urethane automotive primer sealer doesn’t have filler capabilities, it’s an excellent choice for painting a vehicle that’s in relatively good condition or whenever you simply need to seal bodywork or filler for your project.
  • Enamel Primers/Sealers – An affordable option, and similar to epoxy, enamel primers are a good base for auto paint to bond with. It is also worth noting that enamel primers and sealers also have great corrosion resistance!
  • Lacquer Primers/Sealers – If you’re considering a lacquer primer or sealer, know that they dry relatively quickly and sand well. However, they are best for using below corrosion prevention and paint layers.

Is There Ever a Time I Won’t Need to Use Auto Primer?

You always need to use an auto primer – with the exception of whenever you’re not uncovering a bare metal.

For example, if you’re working with only the top layer of paint and you haven’t uncovered the top coat of paint exposing the steel or plastic parts underneath, then it’s okay to not use primer.

Concluding Thoughts on Automotive Primer

Now you should know the basics to applying primers!

If you’re deciding on the type of automotive primer to use for your next car painting project – know that it doesn’t have to be overwhelming! When in doubt, simply start by determining the size of your project, whether you need additional rust protection, or if you just need to do a small touch up.

Of course, the experts at Paint For Cars are here to assist. Contact us here today, or give our team a call today for more information. We are your online resource for car paint and supplies.

Get started on your project by taking a look at all our auto primers and body fillers here.

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 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 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.

Best Type of Paint for Cars

Looking for the best type of paint for cars? Among the steps to paint a car, choosing the type or types of automotive paint you want to use is very important.

Here are some factors you’ll want to take into consideration for the best types of paint for cars:

Factors for Automotive Paint Types

  • The type of finish you want to achieve,
  • The resources you have access to,
  • Your budget and the reason behind painting your car in the first place.

These are all factors you might want to weigh in before beginning your automotive painting project.

This article has a list of popular automotive paint types and their characteristics. The objective of the article is to define the different types of paints and does not indicate that one paint type is better than the other. This list simply makes your life easier in helping you choose the type of auto paint based on your requirement and goals for your car paint.

Types of Auto Paint

Types of Automotive Paint

1.    Lacquer Paint

Lacquer paint was extremely popular from the 1920s to the 1960s for its hard and shiny finish. It is also considered the easiest paint to apply, even in cold conditions. It can be applied in 65 degrees and is additionally a cheap option.

Although the paint dries faster, it requires up to eight coats which can eventually add up to longer painting hours and waiting for them to dry can be painstaking. Lacquer auto paint also requires a spray gun and can be challenging to paint in your home garage.

2.    Urethane Paint

Urethane auto paint is popularly used as they are long-lasting and are not prone to chipping. Manufacturers and professionals even use it to paint engine parts that may get hot easily. This type of automotive paint dries easily with the help of hardeners and can also be sprayed on other paint types for cover-up jobs. It can give you a hard shiny finish and is also easier to store in a basic garage setup.

As Urethane automotive paint requires hardeners to dry well, you will need personal protection equipment to protect your lungs, skin and eyes from toxic fumes. It is usually advised to take professional help while painting with urethane.

3.    Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paints are water-based and less toxic when compared to urethane but possess similar characteristics to urethane automotive paints. It gives a glossy finish and is long-lasting. It is also an economic option that can give you a great look for your car.

Types of Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint has 3 types:

Note: Acrylic lacquer does not last long and fades when exposed to the sun for long. Acrylic paints in general take up to 2 days to dry but do not catch dust or dirt like other paints.

Types of Automotive Paint

4.    Metallic Paint

Metallic paint gives a glossy look and is mostly used on athletic and sports cars. Metallic paint is extremely shiny and reflective in nature and is best to hide blemishes or minor scratches when on the run.

Metallic paints also gold high resale value and are considered high-end paint in the market and are expensive than other paints. In case of a big dent or dong, metallic paints can be a lot more challenging to patch up as they need to be matched well. They also have limited color options.

5.    Matte Paint

Matte paints are trending especially among luxury cars today. They give a flat look instead of a glossy finish. They have the tendency to make your car look great irrespective of the weather.

Matte paints are a bit on the expensive side and are also high maintenance. They require specific care and products that are easier and non-reactive on the surface. They are also not great at hiding scratches like glossy paints.

6.    Pearlescent Paint

Pearlescent paints are similar to metallic paints. The aluminum powder in metallic paints is replaced with mica or ceramic crystals which not only reflects the light, it also refracts it. This makes the car look colorful at different angles and gives it a dazzling look in the sun.

Pearlescent paints are also hard to repair. They are as expensive as metallic paints and are also difficult to repair.

Types of Automotive Paint: In Summary

With this idea of which car paint does what, you can easily choose which paint type to go with for your car. At the end of the day, the finish and look of your car will mirror your personality and individuality. By weighing your options, your car paint goals can start getting real.

Still deciding on your automotive paint type? Contact Paint For Cars at 732-600-9770 to help you to choose from the various types of automotive paint.

Auto Paint Application Methods

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.

Common Steps for Auto Paint Application

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

  1. Preparation – To ensure that the paint adheres to the substrate, the BIW must be washed with high-pressure water jets to remove all impurities like oil, grease, chalk and ink marks from the substrate surface.
  2. Priming – 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 – 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 and are easy to apply.

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.

Types of Automotive Paint

3 Auto Paint Application Techniques

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 used across the industry for their flexibility in the application. 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. Ensure to maintain a ventilated environment for working with this technique.
  • Airless Spray – The paint is directly forced out of a narrow opening to create pressure. This technique requires precision and skill but does not cause loss of material like in Air atomized spraying technique.
  • 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 offers higher transfer efficiency. HVLP equipment propels large quantities of low-pressure air to the gun applicator and yields lesser overspray and blowback.

Auto Paint Application #2: Brushing

The paint is brushed onto the substrate using a brush. This is usually used to repair finishes and not to paint the entire body part. It 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. This is usually used for painting smaller areas.

Auto Paint Application #3: Dipping

Dipping is predominantly used to coat the entire area of a body part and 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. It is most suited to apply protective layers on smaller parts.


Various 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. Read more on the different types of auto paint here. Shop Paint For Cars online to get great competitive prices on quality car paint!

What is Automotive Paint Made Of & Top Tips

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 both in the hood and the exteriors.

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. This article has a brief on the popular automotive paints and their composition and some bonus tips to preserve your car paint efficiently.

Types of Auto Paint

What is Automotive Paint Made Of?

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.

10 Care Tips for Automobile Paint

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. 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.

10 Auto Paint Tips:

  1. Wash it regularly and thoroughly, preferably with 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 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.
  3. Be quick to treat minute scratches 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 and finishing processes like waxing and polishing are done under controlled conditions specified by the manufacturer for maximum effects and minimal mistakes.
  5. Tiny problems caused by fly’s footprints, bird droppings or tree sap if not cleaned properly or treated on time can lead to permanent damages. Clean bird droppings with plenty of water and 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 to 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 after washing and avoid creating watermarks on the surface.
  8. Use a polishing paste to quickly fix minute scratches. 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. With deep scratches which expose bare metal, a touch-up job is required. This can prevent the metal from exposure to harmful substances that can cause rusting.
  10. Big damages must be rectified by spraying multiple layers of the topcoat and finishing it with a polish.

Summing Up Auto Paint Tips

We hope this article has been informative to help you know what is automotive paint made of and tips for how to apply properly.

Automobile paint can be easily affected by environmental stresses and regular tear and wear from usage. By taking care of it and periodically monitoring its health, can save big bucks in the future and protect your car from the biggest hazard: corrosion. Adhering to manufacturer’s guidelines and professional advice to maintain car paint can make your job easier as a car owner and admirer.