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How To Paint Your Car With Colour Matched Spray Cans

How To Paint Your Car With Colour Matched Spray Cans

Aerosol paint cans often get a bad rap from car enthusiasts, but using a pre-mixed factory match colour in an aerosol can is a viable way for the DIY’er to cover up scratches, rust damage, colour-match spoilers and trim, or monochrome wiper arms, mouldings and wheel centres.

Modern technology has made it possible to order everything required to complete a touch-up with factory colour-matched paint in an aerosol can without having to invest in compressors, dryers, paint guns, reducers, filters, etc.

The first step is to identify the factory paint code from the under hood VIN tag. Using the internet, cross reference the code by the year, make and model on the automotive touch-up website. When your paint order arrives use one of the colour match cards with the base-coat to ensure you have the perfect match.


PREPARATION Whether you are painting houses or cars, 99% is prep work and 1% is application. Scrub down the area with soapy water or degreaser. If possible, take the part you want to paint off the car – it’s easier to spray downwards onto a part than it is to try and spray while it’s attached to the car, and there will be less masking required. The paint will also be less likely to run if the part is lying down flat on your work surface.

SAND AND MASK Mask off the work area using masking tape and paper for larger areas. Paint can travel a long way so cover up more than you think is necessary. Thoroughly clean the surface you want to paint with rubbing alcohol. Inspect the surface you want to paint for any imperfections, run your fingers over the surface and see if you can feel anything. Use fine wet and dry sandpaper and water to remove imperfections. Before you apply any primer you need a perfectly smooth surface.

PRIMING To apply the primer you need to shake the can really well for several minutes, ideally it should be at room temperature. Hold the approximately 25cm away from the part to be painted and spray a very light dusting of primer over the surface in a smooth, back and forth motion. You just want to cover the surface. Leave to dry for approximately 10 minutes and then repeat, moving the part around and changing the spray direction to up and down. It is best to apply a minimum of 5 or 6 fine layers of primer. If you see any imperfections you can apply the finest grade of wet and dry sandpaper, and re-apply another few layers of primer.

PAINTING Apply your vehicle’s colour matched aerosol paint using the same method you used to apply the primer, building up layers rather than applying one thick, heavy layer.

NOTE: There is a difference between metallic and flat paints…

Metallic paints MUST be used in conjunction with a clear lacquer to achieve the correct glossy finish. A standard or flat paint colour doesn’t need lacquer and is made up from at least 8 layers of paint.

An alternative tool that can assist in colour matching is Available Here.