How To Paint A Car

Are you trying to figure out how to paint a car? Then this article will answer all of your burning questions! So whether you’re looking to update a classic car, or you simply want to spruce up your current ride, then knowing more about how to paint a car is a MUST!

Is it Hard to Paint a Car?

When you’re learning about how to paint a car, it’s very clear that the actual painting of the vehicle is the easiest part! The hard part is all of the work you have to do before you start painting. Not only that, but it is also time consuming. All in all, it’s not HARD to paint a car, but it is labor intensive!

Can I Paint My Car Myself?

Painting your car yourself is very possible. However, you must keep in mind that even though you aren’t paying for labor, you will be paying for a lot of other things.

Here are a few things you’ll need to get before you start prepping your car to paint yourself:

  • 1200 to 2000-grit sandpaper (wet and dry!)
  • An electric sander
  • Masking tape
  • Spray gun for paint, as well as an air compressor
  • Face Masks
  • Safety Glasses
  • Paint thinner
  • Newspapers, as well as tarps
  • Gloves
  • Dust extractor (If you want one, a shop vac or a fan will also work!)
  • Several Hours of free time!

These supplies are necessary for painting your car yourself! However, you may not need EVERYTHING. Just be certain to definitely have protective gear, as well as the best spraying equipment you can afford to get even coverage!

how to paint a car orange


How to Prep a Car for Paint?

In order to prepare a car for paint, you will need a LOT of prep time, as well as several supplies. Firstly, you will need to sand down the old finish on your vehicle. If you’re only doing patch work, it won’t take a long time. However, if your taking on the whole car, then you’ll definitely need an electric sander!

Secondly, you’ll need to add primer. You may need several coats of primer. Overall, these layers are very, VERY thin. Not to mention are generally just white or black depending upon your colors!

Lastly make sure to wear utility-grade nitrile gloves when preparing your vehicle to protect your hands. Use well-fitting and comfortable gloves so you can work with ease.

How to Sand a Car Before Painting?

Here are the steps you will need to follow to sand your car before painting.

  • Step 1: Sand old paint and primer off the car using 80-grit sand paper.
  • Step 2: Use a higher grit sand paper for sanding down any body filler, as well as small scratches to make it smoother.
  • Step 3: Once the body of the car is completely sanded, and all paint removed, it’s time to prime.
  • Step 4: After every coat of primer, you will need to sand down lumps and bumps in the coats to make sure it is even!

All things considered, sanding the old paint off of your car is not difficult. However, it is time consuming! Not to mention you will need to make sure you are wearing a mask and have proper ventilation.

Do You Have to Remove All Old Paint Before Repainting?

You don’t necessarily have to remove all old paint before you repaint your car. All in all, if you’re wondering how to paint a car, then there are two primary approaches to remember.

First, don’t paint over old paint if you see cracks, lamination, or rust spots. You will need to sand down the entire vehicle, as well as start from scratch with the paint job! Otherwise, your newest coat will be damaged before you know it.

Second, if the paint on your vehicle is pretty flawless, then you can prep to simply paint over it. You’ll just need to do some lighter sanding, as well as some cleaning before you paint over the existing color.

Third, this is all up to you! If you would prefer to take the paint off before you put on a new layer, then get to it. Just remember that if you paint over cracks or imperfections on the vehicles previous paint job, you may have to relearn how to paint a car in another year or two!

Can You Paint Over Old Paint on a Car?

Yes, you can paint over old paint on a car! However, you will need to look thoroughly for imperfections or cracks to be certain you can. If the paint isn’t cracked, as well as being in good condition, then you can simply prep and start painting!

Do You Need to Prime Over Old Paint?

All in all, adding primer will depend upon a lot of factors.

  • What color are you going to paint the vehicle?
  • Is the old color very bright?
  • Are you sanding down to start over?
  • Do you know how many layers of primer you will need?
  • Will the primer be able to stick over the current paint?

Knowing when to prime your car, as well as whether you will need to do so, is completely up to the steps you will take before the primer. All things considered, it means you need to be a good judge of how primer works and how well it will work over your current paint job!

painting a car


What Happens If You Don't Use a Primer Before Painting?

If you don’t use a primer before painting it won’t be the end of the world! However, please note you will still need to prep the car before painting! This may include filling in cracks and sanding, as well as cleaning, etc.

Do I Need Two Coats of Paint If I Use a Primer?

Knowing when to use two coats of paint or not is completely up to your personal aesthetic. However, a primer may help the new color stand out more. Not to mention reduce the number of coats you will need for the color to “pop”. All in all, you should be prepared to do at least two coats of paint or more. Just in case. 

Do I Need to Prime If the Paint Has Primer In It?

If you’re wondering how to paint a car, then you’ll definitely learn that it is time consuming. And sometimes, you may want to cut corners. Using a paint that has a primer in it is one way to lessen the amount of time you spend working on your car!

However, you may still have to do multiple coats. Even if the paint has primer in it! If you paint without doing a primer first, then you may risk the color not sticking to the vehicle. It depends on how your car is engineered and designed, because the smallest curves can really shine through with different colors.

How Long After Priming a Car Can I Paint?

Generally, you will have to wait between 15 and 30 minutes between coats of primer paint. However, this is completely dependent upon the type of paint you choose! Be certain to read the instructions on the paint, as well as waiting at least 24 hours before applying a base coat over your primer!

What Kind of Paint Do You Use on a Car?

Automotive paint is the best type of paint to use on a car! Overall, it is typically polyurethane enamel paint.

How Do I Match the Paint Color on My Car?

You will need to be patient, as well as willing to try a lot of different variations! First you should start with the lightest or darkest variation of the color of your vehicle. 

Secondly, you will need to add small parts of white or black to find the perfect match to your car’s color. The exact hue will take time to find! You can also try to find your vehicle's paint code to match the paint exactly.

Where Can I Find The Paint Code to Match My Paint Exactly?

All in all, if you’re looking for the paint code to match your current paint color, you can generally find that in your glove box. As well as in the wheel well on the driver’s side door jam. You can also try to look under the driver’s seat, as well as in the passenger sun visor. 

What is the Easiest Color to Choose for How to Paint a Car?

White is considered one of the easiest colors for how to paint a car. This is primarily because it can easily cover any color underneath it in a few coats. Not to mention you will see imperfections less with lighter colors!

What is the Hardest Car Color to Paint?

The hardest car colors to paint yourself will be black, as well as metallic colors. All in all, darker colors need to be flatter because they will show imperfections more. Not to mention metallic colors, like silver, will have metallic flakes in it that may clog up your sprayer.

black car


What is the Least Expensive Color for How to Paint a Car?

The least expensive colors to paint your car will be the most vibrant. Wanting to know how to paint a car for cheaper? Then look at these following colors:

  • Yellow
  • Teal
  • Green
  • Orange
  • Pink
  • Purple

The brighter, as well as more outlandish the color, the cheaper it will be! More popular car colors like, red, white, as well as black and silver, will be more expensive

How Do I Get My Car to Shine After Painting?

There are a few steps to get your car to shine after painting it. Before hand, you will need to use a sealant over your car’s paint! This will help to protect the paint you worked so hard to apply.

Then, once you’ve put a sealant to add a shine to your car, you need to let it properly dry. All in all, in order to keep up the shine for longer periods, you can buff and wax the car. Be certain to buy the best car soap for your car’s color, as well as good wax to keep the shine longer!

sun damage red


How to Paint a Car Yourself!

Now that you have more information about how to paint a car yourself, as well as some more insights on what to do after you paint, you simply get painting. All in all, you’ve now got the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about how to paint a car. All you have to do is get started!  


Does VIN Number Tell Paint Color?

No. The VIN number of your car will not tell what paint is used on your car. 

How Long After Painting a Car Can You Drive it?

In order to be completely certain that your car’s paint is completely cured, you may need to wait a full two months. Keep your car covered, or in the garage and only drive it when absolutely necessary after at least two days after your final coat of sealant.

Will Rain Damage a Freshly Painted Car?

Rain won’t actually DAMAGE the car’s paint. However, it may leave water marks that will take away shine and color saturation. Be certain to paint your car in a well-ventilated, but weather free environment. Or, you can plan the work on good weather days!

What Color Car Hides Scratches Best?

The best colors for hiding minor scratches and dents will be brighter colors. All things considered, it won’t hide the scratches completely, but it will make them less noticeable.

What Car Color Fades the Fastest in Sunlight?

Overall, red is considered the be the most susceptible to fading in sunlight. However, all paint colors can eventually break down over long periods of time in the sun! Try to keep your car in a covered location, as well as out of the sun as much as possible to avoid this.

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Hanna Embry

As a freelance writer, I have been creating content and writing blogs for over a decade. Not only do I love writing about cars, but I also have experience in many other fields. I have been a guest writer on many popular blogs, as well as ghostwritten novels. When I’m not writing, you can find me with my family, reading a book, or working on an art project.