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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.

Direct-to-Metal-Epoxy-Primer-Sealer-Kit-ProForm

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.

Important Things To Know About Auto Painting

by Blog Joseph
DIY Car Painting Tips


There is never a better time than now to start undertaking do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, especially ones that you have never had the time to try before! If you are a car, truck, or motorcycle enthusiast, like the many other vehicle lovers out there, maybe one of the things you can do is to give your ride a fresh look. If that sounds like something you would be interested in doing, stay tuned because we have some important things you ought to know about auto painting before you begin.

Re-painting your vehicle will enhance its appearance, cover up any small blemishes you may have accumulated, and have it looking brand new in no time. However, if you are new to the auto-painting process, there are a number of important things you need to know before you can start. You can either conduct your own research, talk to your local car enthusiast group, ask for the help of a painting professional, or wing it. Regardless of which method you choose, knowing some key pieces of information about the painting process will go a long way in preventing mistakes, getting clean lines, and creating a vehicle that you can be proud of.

All of this knowledge will help you from ruining the hours of time you spent meticulously laboring over your vehicle, which can make your sparkling beauty into a disheveled beast. So without further ado, let’s gloss over some important things you’ll want to know about auto painting!

Read More: 9 Crucial Tips to Remember for Painting Your Car

The Paint

Knowing what paint to buy is crucial in getting the outcome you want when attempting to change your vehicle’s color. While there are numerous types of auto paint that have come and gone throughout the years, most car enthusiasts and paint professionals today prefer urethane or the two-step acrylic enamel paints over the over paint type variations.

Urethane and acrylic enamel have higher viscosity when compared to lacquer paint styles, even when applied in the same method. Usually, a mixture of 1 part primer to 1 or 1/2 part thinner is already enough to give you that beautiful color you were aiming for. As a result, you will need fewer coats of paint to complete your project when using urethane or acrylic enamel styles of paint instead a lacquer style of paint. Lacquer paints can often require 20 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. If you still have serious doubts about your paint choice, you can ask the help of a professional in your community to give you some pointers.

It’s also important to mention that color at this point as well. You don’t want to spend all your time painting just to find out at the end that you don’t like the color you chose. Make sure to get an automotive finish color chip chart so you know how your paint will look like in person rather than trying to interpret the true color over your phone or computer screen.

paint selection card

The Spray Gun

Just like lacquer paints, siphon spray guns are already things of the past. These high-pressure lines are no longer used mostly because of what they can contribute to the problem of pollution. Lawmakers have even banned their commercial use in many states.

Now, high-volume, low-pressure, or HVLP spray guns are being used in painting cars. These spray guns feature tanks located at the top of the mechanism. Gravity feeds the paint into the gun instead of siphoning it from the bottle found underneath the spray gun system as with the case of the old siphon spray guns.

Although the location of the paint tank of the newer HVLP spray guns might seem inconvenient for the user, they are known to be more efficient compared to the old spray gun models. They are known to deliver 80 percent of the paint to your car’s surface while only needing a line pressure of 10psi for its operation. This is definitely low compared to the 45 to 70psi needed by the siphon guns, which deliver a lowly 40 percent efficiency.

Read More: How to Paint a Car: 6 Professional Steps to Help Get You Started

Safety and Preparation

In painting your car, you also need to be concerned about your safety at all times. Because of this, you need to prepare not just the materials you need in making your car look brand new. You also have to prepare the things that will keep you safe during the entire painting process.

You need to buy yourself a complete paint suit to protect your clothing as well as your entire bodily system from the paint and other toxic materials you might be using. There are a number of cheap brands you can find in the market. You should also don on a respirator equipped with two air filters while you are painting. Pairing all these with gloves, goggles and some type of covering for your head will further keep you safe.

Your work area should also be kept clean at all times. You will achieve better efficiency with your endeavor if dirt and dust are kept away from your work. Just think how frustrating it can be if you will find just one small mistake in what could have been a perfect panel.

It is imperative to note that before you start painting your car, especially with the use of a spray gun, you should practice first. Using test panels and making sure that your spray gun is kept clean at all times will help ensure the success of your painting endeavor.

Gerson Blue Resperator

Final Thoughts On Some Important Things To Know About Auto Painting

Now that you know some of the key important things to know about auto painting, you can now get started on your project with the confidence you need in order to do a good job.

If you would like to know more about auto-painting, check out our other blog articles and don’t forget to take a look at our website for any and all of your auto painting needs.

Painting a car can be a great experience, but to do a good job you will need to pay attention to important tips that could help you do the job properly.

Here are 9 important tips for painting your car – safely:


Crucial Tips for Car Painting

1. Always wear protective gear while painting a car.

Paint and the other materials you will use in giving your car a new coat of paint may have toxic materials that could enter your system. It is not just your clothes that need protection during a paint job, but also your health. So, for your safety, you should get yourself a paint suit, a respirator, goggles and gloves.

2. Make sure your paint booth is well-lighted, clean and has the right temperature.

Keep your spray booth or the area where you will be painting your car clean from dust and dirt at all times. It should also be well-lighted so you can see what you are doing clearly. It is imperative to check on the temperature of your work area as well. This will affect not just the amount of paint and thinner you should use, but also the time it takes for the paint to dry between coats as well as the ultimate results.

Read More: Important Things to Know About Auto Painting

3. Prep all your car panels or your vehicle before you start painting.

Cleanliness is a very important in any painting endeavor. You should clean your vehicle or all your car panels with soap and water as well as wax and grease remover to get rid of any debris, dust or dirt that could block your spray gun or mar your new paint. You can also use a tack rag to wipe the surface of your panels or your car. Compressed air is needed to clean out complex car parts like the deck lid though. This is the only way you can get every last speck of dirt and drop of water.

You also need to prime and block-sand your vehicle or car panels with the use of a 600-grit paper before you can start painting them.

Crucial Tips for Car Painting

4. Get ready with all the materials needed to make painting a car easier and to protect all the stuff that doesn’t need paint on them.

You will need a specialized table to hold the car parts in place during the painting process. It is best if you will cover this table with masking paper so that it won’t get a layer of paint that it doesn’t need. You can also get such things as plugs to ensure that threaded inserts are kept clean while you are painting. These plugs will also make sure that these inserts won’t get any primer or paint in them.

5. Stir paint up while you are giving your car a fresh coating.

When you are already in the process painting your car, never forget to stir up the paint. Remember that as time passes, a lot of the product you are using will get to the bottom of the spray gun’s tank. So, to make sure that your paint’s viscosity is maintained, stir it up often and thoroughly.

6. Do not forget the paint filters.

You should also see to it that the paint is filtered as it goes into the reservoir of your paint gun. Although paint filters are standardized, you should take note of the type of gun you are using for your paint job. It is preferred that you use a high-volume, low-pressure spray gun though for higher efficiency.

7. Ask a paint professional which nozzle you should use for painting project.

The inner fittings of the nozzles of spray guns are adjustable. They are changed according to the type of paint you are using for a project. To ensure that you are using the right kind, ask your paint supplier or a paint professional which is the right one suited for the paint you prefer. Check out all our auto paint supplies here to find the correct items for your car painting project.

8. Maintain proper distance between your vehicle or car panel and your spray gun.

Make sure that your spray gun is as far as 18 inches or farther from your vehicle or your car panel while you are painting. You can test the distance between your panel or your vehicle and your gun before you start painting to make sure that everything is what you wanted.

As soon as you notice your spray gun spitting, you should stop immediately. Clean your gun’s nozzle with acetone before you start painting again. You should also make sure never to touch your gun to your freshly painted vehicle or panel. Failure to do so will require for you to go through the tedious process of letting the wet paint dry and sanding out the marred area before you can repair it.

Are you a DIY car painting enthusiast? Read more here: DIY Car Painting Tips

9. If in doubt about painting your car, always ask questions.

Remember that asking questions is never bad. If you are not sure about something that has got to do with your paint job, you should consult with paint professionals. This will prevent you from making mistakes with your paint job and will save you the time and money in possibly doing things all over again. Contact Paint for Cars for more information and helpful tips for how to paint a car.