Scratched, chipped or faded paintwork can have a big impact on the appearance and value of your vehicle. But when faced with the hair-raising prices of a professional paint job, refurbishing your old car may hardly seem worth the expense. However, don’t be too quick to think about trading in your vehicle; with a little TLC, your car could look as good as new.
If you’re looking for an affordable alternative to your local garage, have a read of our short guide on how to paint your car at home.
Preparing for the Project
Painting a car is quite an undertaking; preparation is key to professional-looking results. Ideally, you want a garage or enclosed space where you can keep your vehicle cool, dry and away from direct sunlight during the project. The paint job will take several days, so set aside a few weekends where you can work undisturbed.
Next, you’ll need to stock up on materials, including: sandpaper, xylene, masking tape, safety equipment, primer, high gloss top coat paint and a spray gun.
Cleaning the Car
Use sandpaper to remove the old paintwork, stripping it back either to the original undercoat, or for best results to the bare metal. During this process, you should also remove any rust patches. Once complete, clean the car thoroughly, using xylene to eliminate tough grease and dirt.
To prepare the area for painting, remove any trimmings that you don’t want to paint over, and mask over the edges to ensure a smooth, neat finish. Use newspaper to cover windows and mirrors, to prevent any accidental splashes or spills.
Priming the Car
Next, it’s time to prime the car. Ideally, you should use a spray gun to apply the primer, although foam rollers can be used as an alternative. Apply evenly to coat the vehicle completely, masking any scratches made from the sandpaper.
Leave to dry before sanding gently to a smooth finish. Clean the vehicle again to remove dirt and dust, to get the best possible results from the top coat.
Applying the Paintwork
When you’re ready to apply the top coat, prepare the paint following the instructions on the tin. Most acrylic and enamel paints will require paint thinner such as xylene, to ensure a steady flow during application. Take care to get the ratios right, as the paint may run, lose its gloss, or take longer to dry when thinned.
With your spray gun (or roller), carefully apply the paintwork to your vehicle, using long, sweeping motions to achieve an even finish. Once complete, your car should be left for at least 24 hours to dry completely, before polishing to a shine.
Painting your car takes time and patience, but with the right equipment and careful application, it’s possible to restore your vehicle to pristine condition. Follow these steps to get it right first time when painting your vehicle, and you’ll wonder why you ever considered visiting the garage.