365 Days of Motoring On-Line Magazine

The Online Magazine for Motoring History, Facts, News and Advice

How to Paint A Car? DIY Auto Paint Tips

Curious about how to paint a car on your own? You’ll want to read up on these DIY auto paint tips.

For those lucky enough to be able to afford a Bentley, they can choose from 115 stock color options or 24 two-tone color options. The entire process takes eight days and costs about $30,000. That’s about the cost of a small Camry by the way.

But, let’s face it. Not everyone can afford the luxury of owning a Bentley. Nor does everyone have the luxury of choosing a customized paint color for their vehicles.

In fact, if you’re like many people, you’re more likely to look for options that allow you to save big money, rather than spend big money. And, painting your own car is one way to do just that.

To make sure your paint job comes out looking impressive, you’ll need to know how to paint a car the right way. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to pull off a professional paint job!

How to Paint a Car from Start to Finish 

Don’t assume that because you know how to paint a house that you know how to paint a car. These two tasks are very different.

Painting a car requires special equipment, paint, and skill. Prepare to have patience and go through multiple steps.


The most important thing you need to have for this project is time. Don’t plan to do everything in an afternoon. This project will take several days, or weekends if you are doing this in your spare time.

You need to secure a painting location. A shed or large garage can work. The goal is to find a place to shield your car from the elements, dirt, and any other contamination.

Then you will need to buy your paint. To keep things simple, you can buy the stock paint for your car by using the manufacturer’s paint code. Keep in mind that if your car is older, the paint on your car is aged and sun faded, it won’t match the stock paint exactly.

You’ll need about a gallon of primer for a medium sized vehicle. Then you’ll need about three gallons of your color paint. For the clear coat, you’ll need about two to three gallons.

Or you can buy a custom paint. The catch here is the fancier you get; the more steps are created. Want glitter flake, pearl, or chameleon paint? That’s a lot more work.

Gather these tools:

  • Wet-dry sandpaper
  •  Electric sander
  • Masking Tape
  • Air compressor
  • Spray Gun
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Face mask
  • Safety glasses

Once you have all of your tools and equipment, you can start preparing your workspace.

Prep Work 

Thoroughly clean your workspace. Remove all of the dirt and dust. Remove any obstacles; they will only make the job harder.

Next, give your car a good washing to remove all of the dirt and debris. You want as clean of a surface as possible.

Hang plastic sheeting over everything you do not want to get paint on. You may want to line your shed or garage. Once everything is covered, put the car in your makeshift paint booth.

Decide what you want to paint. If it’s just the outside, all you need to do is mask off the areas where you don’t want paint.

If you want to paint the door sills, trunk, and engine, these areas will require more work and mechanical knowledge. You’ll need to remove the engine.

Strip It Down 

Now that your paint booth and car are ready, it’s time to start sanding! Move in circular motions over the body of the vehicle.

You’ll see the clearcoat, topcoat, and basecoat removed. Stop sanding an area when you get through the three layers.

For the best looking finish, sand the entire car down to the base metal. This will give you an even surface to apply the paint to. Clean the vehicle of dust when you’re done.


Now it’s time to apply the primer. Hold the paint gun 6 inches away from the car and work in a side-to-side motion. Only hold the trigger down when your hand is moving.

Start with the roof and work your way down the car. Aim for thin, even coats of paint. You’ll probably need two to three coats of primer. Smooth the primer with fine sandpaper when you’ve applied all of the layers.


Use the same technique to apply the topcoat. You’ll need three to four coats of paint for solid color coverage.

Then you’ll apply your clearcoat. To keep it looking crystal clear, remove dust by using 2000 grit wet-dry sandpaper and a rag between each coat.

Before your last layer of clearcoat dries remove your masking tape. Be very careful to not touch the paint.

This Is Too Much Work 

Does this all sound like too much work? We get you; you don’t have to paint your car yourself.

Instead, shop around online for a business that can paint your car for you. You’ll find companies like this site that offer a variety of services.

This is great because if you have any body damage, they can make the repairs before painting your car. Getting rid of any dents or dings first will ensure that you have a smooth, clean look to your new paint.

Protect Your Paint 

Once you’re done painting your car, you want to keep it looking as perfect as possible, for as long as possible. One way to do this is to use a paint protection film.

Apply this protective layer over the paint once the paint is completely cured. Then when you’re ready to sell, just peel the protective film off, and your paint looks like new. Now you can get the most for your car.

Ready to Get Painting?

So, now that you know how to paint a car, are you ready to get started? This may sound like a major project. But, if you take your time and do the prep work, you should come out with great looking results.

Don’t try to cut corners, as that tends to be when things often go sideways. Then, you will end up disappointed with your results. And, you will have wasted a lot of time, money and effort.

Instead, make sure that you follow the steps completely so that your car looks its very best.

Now that you have a gorgeous new paint job, keep it looking shiny and new with these step by step instructions!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *