How To Paint A Car [ Easy Guide By A Professional Painter ]

Paint spraying your car using a paint sprayer isn't an easy task, but with a good guide that you can follow, you can do it!Almost everyone wants to have a luxury car that looks good, right? But not everyone can afford to buy one. That’s okay, I mean like 99% of people can’t afford a luxury car [including me] so that okay.

But almost everyone can afford a simple/economic car. But even that your car doesn’t cost a lot of money or isn’t luxury, you still want your car to look good, right?

Unfortunately, after a while, their color stars to vanish or someone scratches your car so you need to re-paint the whole car.

Using a paint sprayer to paint your car isn’t easy, you will need high-quality tools and you will need a guide to follow. Luckily for you, I have painted a lot of cars in my entire life [ I own a painting company], so I may know a few things when it comes to painting a car.

F.A.Q

Can I paint my own car?

It isn’t easy, but also it isn’t that hard. You surely need a guide to follow if you never have done it before, so you can minimize the problems you may face. You also need a guide to follow so you can know what to do next and where to start, so you don’t miss anything important that may risk your finish quality. You clearly need high-quality tools if you want to get the best color quality and to make your car look as best as possible

Can I paint my car like I painted my house?

Well… it depends. Did you use paint sprayers or paint rollers? Clearly … if you don’t already know, you can’t use paint rollers to paint your car. It just doesn’t work and your car will look a lot of times worse.  To paint your car you will need a paint sprayer a.k.a spray gun, and you need a high-quality one.

So, if you used a paint sprayer to paint your furniture or anything else, then you are on a good path. You are already familiar with a paint sprayer so you just need to make a few more practices and with our guide, you will be ready to spray your car like a pro.

Where can I get a high-quality paint sprayer?

You can get paint sprayers almost in every local shop that sells related tools. But are they good enough to give you the best color quality? You can never know. That’s why it’s important to buy tools/models that are recommended by someone who has used and is satisfied with them.

If you don’t already own a paint sprayer or if you want a high-quality one then I recommend you to read our paint sprayer reviews. I have listed a lot of paint sprayer models that I have used in my entire life, all of them are high-quality and will give you the best finish quality. I recommend you to use LVLP paint sprayers or HVLP Paint Sprayers since you can use them for different tasks as well and not only for your car but you also can get airless paint sprayers.

I never used a paint sprayer before, can I still paint spray my car?

Yes, of course! That’s why I made this guide. To help people who never used a paint sprayer or did anything related to this, to paint their car in the easiest way possible. Having some experience with paint sprayers is a good thing and it surely will help you complete the project faster and maybe better. But you still can do it even if you never saw or used a paint sprayer before. If you never used a paint sprayer then make sure to check the best paint sprayer for newbies post that we made.

So make sure to read our guide slow and carefully so you don’t miss any important step.


How to paint your car?


Preparing the space you will paint spraying your car is important. You will need a lot of space to move around and at the same, you need to protect other tools that are near you so you don't accidentally paint spray them

What will you need?

Except for high-quality paint sprayer which is the most important tool to finish this project, you also need paint and some other tools. Paint has the same importance as a paint sprayer, so when you buy paint go for high-quality paint and not low-quality because after all that’s your car so why would you want to paint it with low-quality paint?

But here comes the tricky part about choosing the paint …

When choosing the paint for your car you have two different options. Option number one is to get the same exact paint color and re-paint your car with it. If you decide to go for this option then keep in mind that “My car is red so I will just ask for a red paint color ” doesn’t work here and you will probably end up buying a different color, you should buy paint based on paint color code and not based on your own eyes. You can find your color code at your car’s compliance plate.

And option number two is to buy a paint color that is different from the one your car already has. This is risky because you may not like how your car looks with that color but I recommend you to search for car’s that already have that paint color you want so you can see with your own eyes how a car looks in that color before painting your car.

Except for paint sprayers and paint you also need sandpaper [ 1200 – 2000 grit], electric sander, masking tape, safety gears [ face masks, gloves, safety glasses ] and you also need old newspaper or something to cover other objects or tools near the place you are working [ so they don’t accidentally get sprayed ].

Get all the tools

Before you start the process of paint spraying your car you have to make sure to have all the tools ready. The most important tools are the ones that protect you from getting harm while doing this task. You need to have safety glasses, face mask, gloves and a pair of clothes that you don’t mind getting sprayed.

If you get harmed then this process won’t be worth it, so always make sure to protect yourself not only for this task but for every task you ever do. After you get your safety gears ready then make sure to have a high-quality paint sprayer. You can get them on local stores or by clicking on my homepage. To make your paint sprayer work you also need an air compressor[ depends on the paint sprayer you own ]. Most of the paint sprayers I recommended on my homepage come together with an air compressor so make sure to check them.

You need dust extractor to get rid of the dust, especially if you work outside and not in your garage. And most importantly you need paint. Once you get all the tools and materials ready then it’s time for the next step.

Choose The Location

Choosing your location to paint spray your car is importantAs I said spray painting your car will take a long time. So you will need to have a location that you can keep the car there several days without moving it. Since I spray paint a lot of cars and other objects as well I have built a garage for this. I usually use that garage to spray paint everything and keep all my tools there. So if you have a garage then you can do this task easier. Just make sure to have proper ventilation. But if you don’t have a garage then try to find a place where you can spray paint your car.

Make sure that the place is protected from elements that can touch the car. You don’t want to spray paint your car just to wake up the next morning to find leaves all over your car, right? Using your backyard is a pretty good alternative, but you have to be careful. If you are not careful, you can end up accidentally spraying a part of your home.

If you decide to work on your backyard or somewhere on an open ambient then make sure to cover all the things near the space you are working. But you have to keep in mind that other things such as rain or snow can damage your work if you leave your car outside for a long time.

Preparation

You need to primer your car in order to get a smooth finish. You can primer your car using a paint sprayer.Once you have all the tools you need for this project you can move to the first step. Prepare the area you are working in.  I highly recommend working inside a garage, if you don’t have one try using one of your friends or rent one. It’s easier to work and you will complete the project faster & better since you don’t have to worry about unnecessary things.

If you are working inside the garage or shed move all the things near so you can have a lot of space to move around. Use a dust extractor to get rid of that dust that may be around. Use the old newspaper or something else to cover all the tools you have around in your garage, you don’t want to spray them. Once you have cleaned the place and have enough space for your car, you can move the car inside and go to step 2.

If you are working outside, use water to remove any dust or something that may harm the finish quality. Use newspaper to cover everything that’s near the place you are working to avoid accidentally spraying them.  And avoid working under a tree, leaves or something else can drop and ruin your whole project.

Personally, I like to paint spray inside a garage since I don’t have to worry about wind, rain, or something falling into my car and ruining the project. If you don’t have a garage then it’s fine to work outside but make sure to check the weather for the next days.

Once you have completely prepared the space you will be working in then it’s time to prepare your car. First things first, start by washing your car with water to remove any dust, dirt, or anything else. After you are done washing & removing dirt from your car then it’s time to cover the windows and lights so they don’t get sprayed, after this you will have to decide what you want to paint spray first.

Let’s say you want to paint doors first, then you remove doors from the car [ if you can], wash them again and only focus on them.

Stripping 

Paint Spraying a car is important. Your car will look new again and you will feel good about yourself at the same time. You will also gain the experience to paint spray other objects.If you have arrived at this step, that means that you have all the tools you need and you have prepared the space you will be working in. Now it’s time for the next step, which is stripping.

For this step, you will need the electric sander.  Start sanding circular motions, you have to do this for the entire car.

You can start sanding the doors then go to the top of the car and so on, the order is not that important, what’s important is that you need to sand everything [ Clearly except your windows, light and other parts of the car you don’t want to paint ].

There are parts that you can’t use an electric sander such as the corners or small spaces, but instead of using an electric sander for these parts, just use a normal sander and sand these parts using your hands.

To get the best color quality you have to sand until the bare metal, clearly, this will take a lot of time. So if you are under a time limit then you can sand as much as you can. Once you are done sanding, you will have to clean the car again to remove any dust.

Priming

Once you are done sanding the car now it’s time to use primer on it. Start by covering the parts that you don’t want or need to be painted. Once you have done that you need to mix the primer with the thinners. Read you paint sprayer manual to know the perfect ratio.

Before starting to apply the primer with your paint sprayers, it’s best to practice. If you have experience with paint sprayer then you don’t need a lot of practice and you may even start spraying right away, but if you don’t then its PRACTICE TIME!

Get yourself cardboard or any old object such as old doors, chairs or something that you don’t use anymore, and start spraying them.  It’s best to spray 5-6 inches away from the object you are spraying and spray side to side. You have to apply the trigger only when you hand is moving [ when you apply the trigger the paint comes out], so you don’t overspray and get the best results you can.

Try practicing until you are good enough with it. Clearly, you can’t be spray like a professional does by practicing 10 minutes, but it will surely help. Once you are done practicing its go time! Start priming your car, I usually work from the roof down. But you can use your own technique.

After you add the primer now it’s time to use 2000-grit wet-and-dry sandpaper to smooth the primer finish. After this clean your paint sprayer and go to the next step.

Painting

A person spray painting a car with a paint sprayerOkay, you have done everything you can to clean the car, prime it and sand it, so you can get the best finish quality. Now it’s time to paint it.  Start by mixing the paint and the thinner, again you have to read your paint sprayer manual to know the perfect ratio.

You need to use the same technique you used while applying thinner.  This will take more time and you have to be more careful. Try to not overspray and move the hand slowly. I usually remove the things that can be removed, like the doors, and spray them separately. You can do it too if you think it’s easier, you can still paint your car even by not doing this, it’s always up to you.

Try applying three or four layers of paint to get the best results. I usually add three layers. Keep in mind that after each layer you will have to wait for the paint to dry in order to add the next layer.  Do not add a lot of layers [7-8] because that won’t make any big difference and you will spend a lot of paint for nothing, you may even ruin the project if you do so.

After you have done all this then it’s time to wait for the paint to dry. After the paint is dried you can start putting parts of your car back to its place [ doors your removed, etc ] and removing the newspapers from windows. And TA-DA! You have just paint sprayed your own car without any help.

If you have chosen a different paint color and you don’t like it, then you will have to do all the 4 steps all over again and use another paint color.

Final Words

Paint Spraying your car isn’t that easy. But it’s doable. You will save a lot of money by doing it and you will learn new things, such as working with a paint sprayer. Now that you have paint sprayed your car, its time to use HVLP for cabinets or other things. What are you waiting for? Read our other guides to learn how to do it.

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