Painting your car and painting a wall in your house are far from the same thing… one requires a few paint rollers and a can of paint, while the other involves a litany of products, clear coats, primers and sprayers. That’s why professional auto paint jobs are so expensive. The process is complex involving a fair amount of skill. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give your car a new look and save yourself some serious cash.
You will need to allow plenty of time. A vehicle repaint can take anywhere from several days to a couple of weekends, so finding a shed or garage shielded from the elements is a big plus. You’ll need more than just paint… essential tools include:
- Wet and dry sandpaper
- An electric sander
- Masking tape
- Newspapers for masking
- Face mask
- Safety glasses
- Paint thinners
- A paint gun
It’s important to clean your paint gun when you take it out of its box, as paints guns have a coating to protect them from corrosion and lengthy shelf time. Run some solvent through to ensure it is clean internally and externally before you put paint in the gun.
There are basic universal controls on a spray gun:
- a fan control
- a fluid control, and
- some also have an air control
Initial set up of your paint gun is best done by opening up both the fan and fluid controls and performing a test. Any fine tuning can be done to then achieve the optimal elliptical shape pattern.
Before you begin painting, it’s best to practice, using a cheap used car panel from a junkyard. Hold the paint gun approximately 15 centimeters from the panel and spray in a side-to-side sweeping motion. Only apply the trigger when you’re moving the spray gun.
Mask off the areas you don’t want to paint and then mix a primer with the thinners. You’ll need to read the instructions for the correct ratio. When you’re finished, the primer will have a powdery finish, which you will need to smooth with wet and dry sandpaper before applying the paint.
The paint also needs to be mixed with thinners using the recommend ratios on the paint instructions. You’ll use the same spraying technique you used to apply the primer for the topcoat. As a guide, it should take about 10 minutes per panel to apply the paint and another 20 minutes to an hour for the paint to cure between applications.
Finally, apply clear coat lacquer. Before the clear coat lacquer dries, remove the masking tape, ensuring not to get any tape or newspaper stuck on the wet paint. Then you can allow the clear coat to cure for the recommended time.
With some practice, a DIY paint job is achievable, and you’ll have the satisfaction of doing it yourself while saving some money.