Repainting Your Car: The Ultimate Guide


Whether your vehicle paint job is looking a bit shabby, or you simply want a new bold and unique paint job for your car, repainting your vehicle yourself will save you a small fortune. However, repainting requires specific products and a precise technique; a regular tin of spray paint won’t give you great results. So we have created this straightforward step-by-step guide to break down the automotive painting process to simplify the project for you. 

Things You Will Need

Before you get started painting, you will need a few specific products and tools. The exact tools and products you will need for the project include a power sander and sanding pads, an air compressor, a paint sprayer, 1200 and 2000 grit sanding paper, a quality cleaning solvent, newspaper, masking tape, and a quality roll-on automotive primer. In addition, you also need acrylic enamel paint in your chosen shade, paint thinner, a face mask, safety glasses, clear coat lacquer, a rag or two, mineral spirits, and a rubbing compound. 

Once you have rounded up all your essentials, you should prepare the space. Your chosen location should provide you with suitable ventilation, and it should also be protected from the elements as this project can take a few days, and it’s best you don’t try to rush the job to ensure quality results. You must then clean the area and ensure it is free of any dust and you have a source of electricity. 

Remove Any Rust, Dents, And Trim

Once you have prepared the space you will be working in; your first task is to remove any rust, dents, and chrome or plastic trim from the vehicle. You can replace the trims after the project is complete.

Sand Surface

Next, you will need to sand the vehicle to ensure you will be painting a smooth and even surface. Use circular motions to sand the entire surface of your car. You will get the best results by removing all the current paint, so it is best to sand your vehicle down to the bare metal, which may take a few days. However, you can shorten the time by sanding down to the original primer, although the results won’t be as good.

Clean Thoroughly

When you have finished sanding your vehicle down to the primer or bare metal, you must use your cleaning solvent to clean the surface thoroughly. This will remove any particles left behind while sanding and ensure your surface is ideal for repainting.

Tape Surfaces

You will then need to tape the areas of your vehicle that you don’t want to be painted, such as the windows, door handles, and others. A regular masking tape and newspaper are suitable for this step of the project. However, be sure to tape areas down properly to ensure no paint can seep through. 

Prime And Allow To Cure

Next, you can use your roll-on automotive primer to prep the surface for painting. It is best to allow the primer to cure properly according to the specific instructions on your priming product. 

Sand Again And Wipe

Sand down the newly primed surface gently to ensure it is smooth and free of any bumps. Be sure not to sand off all the primer, as this step is simply to smooth the surface. Next, wipe down the surface thoroughly to remove any leftover particles from sanding. 


Once you have primed the surface of your vehicle, you can get started painting. Hold your spray tool at least 6inches from the vehicle’s surface and use a side-to-side swipe motion to apply the paint with the paint sprayer. Generally, you should apply three to four coats of paint for excellent results. Allow the automotive paint to dry according to the paint products drying instructions. 

Sand Down Gently And Wipe Clean

Using soft sandpaper, you must sand the surface down once more to remove any powdery residue. Be as gentle as possible when sanding to keep the paint layers intact. Next, wipe down the surface thoroughly again. 

Apply A Lacquer

Now you can apply a clear lacquer to set in the paint and provide expert results. Use the same swipe painting technique to apply the lacquer.

Remove Tape And Buff

Remove the masking tape and newspaper from your vehicle after allowing the lacquer to dry thoroughly according to the product’s instructions. The last step is to buff the paintwork using circular motions to complete the job. You can use the rubbing compound product to create a charming glossy finish.


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