How can I paint a car at home outside?

How do I paint my car outside at home? Paint jobs are really expensive these days, so I want to try and do one myself. Any tips on how I could do that?

Answer
Painting your own vehicle might sound like an intimidating process, but with a little bit of patience and guidance, your vehicle will look new again. I’m happy to help walk you through it!
So, let’s start with what you’ll need to paint your vehicle:
  • 1,200 and 2,000-grit wet and dry sandpaper
  • Power sander
  • Masking tape and masking paper
  • Spray gun
  • Paint thinner
  • Primer
  • An acrylic topcoat
  • Clear-coat lacquer
  • A buffer
  • Safety glasses, gloves, and a mask for protection
Note that painting your vehicle is a fairly long ordeal, so make sure you set aside ample time to tackle the task. Here are a few other things to keep in mind before beginning:
  • Since you’re working outside, you’ll also need to make sure the weather will be compatible. Avoid windy or rainy days.
  • Also, don’t work under trees or locations where debris can fall on your car.
  • Make sure you’ve properly treated any rusty parts of your vehicle before you begin.
Now, let’s get into it:
Sand your vehicle: Sand your car to create a smooth surface. It is not necessary to sand down to the bare metal. Use the power sander first, then use the wet/dry sandpaper to even everything out. Be careful not to over-sand and scratch your car!
Wipe down your vehicle: After sanding, you’ll need to wipe down your vehicle using paint thinner and a clean rag to remove any dust remaining.
Prepare your vehicle: Use masking paper and masking tape to tape off any areas of your car you don’t want to paint.
Put on safety gear: Before painting, put on safety goggles, a mask, and gloves. You should also wear clothes you don’t mind ruining.
Prime your vehicle: Mix the primer with paint thinner as directed on the container. Begin spraying your vehicle evenly, working from the roof of the car to the bottom. You will likely need to do two to three coats to sufficiently prime the vehicle. Wait 10 minutes between coats.
Sand your vehicle again: Once you’ve primed your car, you’ll need to sand it again to create an ideal surface for the paint. Use the 2,000-grit sandpaper for this, then wipe your car down with paint thinner again.
Prepare your topcoat: Thin the paint you’ll be using with thinner, just like you did with the primer. Recommended ratios will be on the back of the paint can.
Apply the topcoat: Apply the paint as you did the primer. Apply up to four coats of paint, waiting 10 minutes between each coat.
Lacquer your vehicle: Repeat the painting/priming process with the lacquer. One to two coats will suffice.
Remove masking tape: While the clear coat is still wet, remove the masking paper and tape.
Buff your vehicle: Once your vehicle has dried, buff your car. Avoid buffing one spot too long.
If painting your car yourself sounds like a chore, consider saving money on other car expenses to save up for a professional paint job. Jerry can help!
Jerry is an insurance comparison app that shops for low prices with over 50 different insurance companies for free. You will get quotes in seconds, can make changes at any time, and if you ever have any questions, agents are just a text away.
Hana Sabah
Answered on Nov 02, 2021
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