Do-It-Yourself Car Repainting

Over time, your car paint may fade and your once shiny baby will need some repainting in order to look nice and new again. The problem is, car repainting can be very expensive. Don’t freak! You can repaint your vehicle yourself.

DIY Car Repainting might sound a little bit daunting, but it can be done by the car owner himself! Yes, you can paint your own car so you no longer have to pay a hefty amount of money to have your vehicle repainted by someone else.

However, before you begin with your DIY project, make sure you that you are ready and well prepared for the task at hand. Below are some useful tips to help you get started.

What You Will Need

Car repainting can take some time. Know that first. Make sure that you have a couple of days or a couple weekends at your disposal to get the job done right. To cancel out the elements, be sure to have a covered area like a shed, garage, or parking cover, to protect your car during this process. Hopefully, the days you pick will be full of sunshine.

To start, you will need sandpapers. The kinds of sandpaper that you will need are the 1200 and 2000 grit variety that is good for wet and dry. Next, you will need a sander that is electrically powered, face masks, masking tape, newspaper, safety glasses, paint thinners, a spray gun, an air compressor, an undercoat, enamel paint, and a lacquer that is clear-coated. If you choose, an extractor for dust could help for an easy clean-up. Of course, do not forget the car buffer available in the market today.


Somethings you need to

Depending on the size of your vehicle, the amount of painting material will vary. For a small or medium-sized vehicle, you will need a base coat that is approximately one gallon. Also, you will need a topcoat of three gallons, and a clear coat that is two gallons. If you have a larger car, you might want to get a gallon and a half of clear count, four gallons of the topcoat, and three gallons of the lacquer that are clear-coated. Now, professionals usually use less than the amount stated, but with this being your first time, plan on using more than what is expected. You will need a few practice tries and corrections as you proceed in painting your vehicle. Ultimately, it is better to have more paint than less.

Some of you might want to paint the car a different color than before and others might choose to keep the color the same. If you want to match the original color, look for the color code that is found on the compliance plate of the car. Then, go to an auto paint shop to see if you can find that exact paint color. If they have, buy it. If not, ask if they can mix paints so you can get the exact paint color of your car.

Be Prepared

To begin, make sure that all dust is removed from the working area. If your work area is outside, spray down the area with a hose. Make sure that there are not trees or other things above your work area that might fall down and contaminate the wet paint on your vehicle. Next, wash the car and clean all surfaces to remove any grime, grease, or dirt that might infect the area.

Before you get to painting, have a plan in place if you want to paint areas like the trunk, inner door compartments, and engine bay. These areas will definitely lengthen the time spent painting your vehicle because you will need to strip the car completely down. The engine might need to come out as well. But, if the exterior is all you are looking to paint, then cover up the areas you don’t want to be painted as you start to spray.

For your protection, put on protective eyewear and a dust mask to protect your face and your lungs. Also, if you do choose to use a dust extractor, keep that on during the process to keep the dust at bay.

Stripping Time

As you begin to sand, a circular motion works best. Areas like crevices and corners will need to be sanded by hand. Get the vehicle’s body down to the bare metal with a smooth finish. This will be the most consuming of your time but know how important this job is for your vehicle. Each panel could take up to 2 hours each, but be patient. If you are on a time crunch, just make sure the area is smooth with an even surface.


Next, wipe down the whole area that was sanded with a fresh rag and thinners to help remove any dust that has settled. Be sure to wait while the excess dust is completely evaporated from the thinners before you continue on with your project.

The Perfect Priming


Make sure that you cover up the areas that you do not want to paint with masking tape. Plastic sheets and newspapers can also be used to keep unnecessary paint off. If you do this appropriately, you will not overspray on your vehicle. Next, mix thinners into the primer depending on what the directions ask for. Different paints have different recommendations, so be very cautious.

You might consider practice spraying before you spray the paint on your vehicle. Go to the salvage yard and purchase a scrap panel that you could practice on or find some straps laying around that could help in this endeavor. As you begin to spray, hold the gun 6 inches away from the scrap panel. Using a side-to-side motion, start spraying the paint. Only engage the trigger of the spray gun when you are moving it side-to-side. If you don’t follow this advice, your paint will start to thicken in certain areas causing your paint to run down the panel of the vehicle.

After you start getting the hang of the technique, add primer to the car first, starting from the top of the vehicle down to the bottom. The primer must be added in thin coats. It will probably take you two to three coats of primer to cover the vehicle effectively. Make sure to follow the specified wait times between coats to let the primer dry. On average, each primer could take between 20 minutes to an hour.

Priming surfaces will dry to a powdery finish, so make sure to lightly sand the surface area smoothly. After you have finished priming with the spray gun, clean it and wipe down the surface with a damp rag. You will notice you have too much thinner on the rag if the primer starts to come off the vehicle.

Painting Party

After the primer, mix the paint with thinners as directed. Then, start to spray the paint on the vehicle using the same techniques as the primer. The dry time is similar to primer, so wait patiently for another coat. When painting a vehicle, three or four coats will need to be added for it to look complete. After the last coat of paint, sandpaper can be used to remove the residue of paint, and then a clean rag can wipe it all down.

When you have finished, you can remove all your safety equipment. Start to remove any of the tape or paper on the vehicle. Make sure to inspect any areas that have imperfections. If you do find any, sand the area and respray to fix the problem.

Look for the best car buffer available to make sure you know that your vehicle will look its best. Finish by buffing paint in a similar motion as painting. Be sure not to burn the paint by holding the buffer in a spot for too long.

With some practice, you will be able to do an effective and efficient job. Doing this job yourself is quite attainable. You will be satisfied as you complete something while saving some money on the side.

Leave a Comment: