DIY Painting a Car

Useful Tips for DIY Painting a Car

A new paintjob for a car is a task which you can accomplish by yourself without the need to seek out professional help. However, it is a time consuming process so it is unlikely that it can be finished in one sitting. That is why access to a place protected from the elements such as a shed is necessary. Otherwise one quick rain shower can ruin the work you have done so far.

In case you do not want to give the car a complete paintjob and instead just want to touch up a few areas, you will need to use paint which is the same color as the original factory paint. The color code should be located on the car's compliance plate and this is all an auto paint shop needs in order to get the right paint.


This kind of job requires a lot of equipment: power sander, wet-and-dry sandpaper, spray gun with an air compressor, face mask, masking tape, paint thinners, safety glasses, old newspapers and, of course, various paints for the base coat, topcoat and clear coat. The amount of paint necessary for this job will vary based on the size of the vehicle, but around one gallon of primer and three gallons of top and clear coat each should be enough for a small or medium-sized car.

DIY Painting a Car

Once you have all the tools necessary, you need to focus on the work area. Whether it is indoors or outdoors, it needs to be clean and free of dust. If it is outside, make sure to keep the car away from trees while the paint is drying. Afterwards, you can commence the procedure by following these steps.

  • Use tape to mask the areas which do not need paint.
  • Sand the entire car. If you have the time, you can get a very smooth finish by stripping the car to bare metal. If not, you can still get a good finish using sandpaper.
  • Apply the primer. Like with the other paints, the primer will need to be mixed with thinner by following the instructions on the paint can. It is best to practice your spraying technique before working on the car. When this is done, lay down two or three coats of primer in order to cover the surface of the car completely. Afterwards, sand the surface lightly for a smooth finish.
  • Apply the top and clear coats. About three to four coats should be enough for the whole car. Make sure to wait the recommended time between coats. Afterwards you can use a buffer to get a good shine on the new paintjob.