How are cars spray painted?

If you’ve ever wanted to get your car painted a different colour or have sent your car into the garage for a touch up on the bodywork, you may have wondered what the process is for getting your car sprayed. Whether you’ve got scuff marks and scratches or you want to give your wheels a new lease of life, you could choose to get it booked into the garage or even give it a try yourself.

Wanting to see if it’s something you think you can do? Here’s a run down on the process and the key pieces of equipment you’ll need before you get started.

Equipment and environment you need

Above everything else, you’ll need time, and a lot of it. A paint job done well can take anywhere from several days to a couple of weekends. One of the main things you’ll need is a garage, shed or somewhere big enough to ensure your car is shielded from the elements for the whole amount of time you’ll be completing the job.

Next you’ll need your materials, and you’ll need more than just paint! You’ll need everything from sand paper or an electric sander, sheets and masking tape, a spray gun, paint thinners, respirator mask and other protective equipment. It’s important to remember that paint fumes and dust are extremely hazardous, so investing in a quality respirator mask and PPE is essential for your health!

You’ll also need to make sure the environment that you’re painting in is dust and contaminant free, and that it’s kept at a moderate temperature. All of these elements can ruin the overall finish of your paint job, and if you’ve spent hours getting your car looking its best, that’s the last thing you want and need.

Let’s take a look at the process

First we’ll start with the preparation. Make sure your working area is clean and that the floors are swept within an inch of their life. Before you start sanding and applying primer to the car, you’ll need to decide what parts of the car you want to paint. Then you’ll need to tape sheets to the areas you don’t want to paint, like the lights for example, to make sure you don’t get any paint on these!

Next you’ll need to strip the existing paint off the car with your sander. Make sure you carefully sand all the corners and crevices by hand and not with your electric sander. To get the best look possible, take the car down to the bare metal.

Then you’ll need to prime. Mix your primer with the thinners, reading the instructions carefully for the correct ratios. Hold your spray gun around six inches from the panel and spray side-to-side in a sweeping motion. This is the best technique to ensure your coverage is even.

Once you’ve finished priming, you’ll need to clean the spray gun and get prepared for the painting. Again, mix the paint with thinners and use the same spraying technique as before. Apply three or four coats following the recommended drying time in between each layer. Finish off with your clear coat and before this dries, remove the masking tape and sheets you used to protect the other areas.

Would you do it yourself or book it in with a professional?

It’s important that when considering spray painting your car, you take a look at whether or not it’s worth doing the job yourself, or booking it into a garage. It’s a time-consuming process and one that takes a lot of effort and dedication, but also one that’s incredibly rewarding. If you don’t feel confident that you will do a good job, then it’s always best to pay a little extra for the security of a professional service.


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