How do I paint a car door?

I was taking care of something on my honey-do list in the garage when I accidentally hit my car door with a power tool. It damaged the door significantly. The good news is that I called around to junkyards and found a pristine replacement door. The only problem is that it’s a different color. Can I paint my car door without getting it done professionally?

Sorry to hear about the mishap! I won’t pretend that painting a car door is as easy as touching up a few scratches, but it can be done! And it’ll spare you from paying $400 to $1,200 for a professional paint job.
To match your car’s paint, you’ll just need your vehicle identification number, or VIN. Then, follow these steps to get the job started:
  • Start by finding a well-ventilated, low-dust workspace
  • Take your safety seriously by getting a respirator, eyewear, and other personal protective equipment
  • Use your VIN to buy matching paint from an automotive shop or dealership
  • Rent or borrow a compressed air auto paint sprayer
Feeling good? Do you have everything you need? Alright, you’ve come this far, so let the paint job commence.
For a good paint job:
  • Don’t attach the new door to your car until it’s painted (or take it off again if you got ahead of yourself)
  • Remove any trim or molding you don’t want to get paint on
  • Use 400- or 600-grit sandpaper to sand the paint down to the bare metal (if possible)
  • Clean off the dust using a rag and mineral spirits
  • Practice your spraying technique on a piece of scrap metal (or at the very least, a piece of cardboard), making sure you have even strokes that go from side to side
  • Apply a primer coat, working from the top to the bottom
  • Repeat as recommended on the primer can
  • Let the primer coat cure for about an hour
  • Sand with 1,500-grit sandpaper, then use acetone or mineral spirits to remove dust
  • Spray paint the car door and allow to dry for about 24 hours
  • Take the old door off and put the new one on
Voila! You’re finished.
If you’re not exactly a handyman (and I’m not implying that you aren’t), getting the job done by a body/paint shop is perhaps the better option. Also, consider getting comprehensive coverage for your vehicle so that you’re covered in the event something like this should happen in the future.
You can shop for affordable comprehensive insurance quickly and easily by using the Jerry app. Sign up in just minutes to compare quotes from over 50 insurers. Choose the price and policy that works best for you, and Jerry takes care of the rest!
Eric Schad
Answered on Nov 04, 2021
Eric Schad has been a freelance writer for nearly a decade, as well as an SEO specialist and editor for the past five years. Before getting behind the keyboard, he worked in the finance and music industries (the perfect combo). With a wide array of professional and personal experiences, he’s developed a knack for tone and branding across many different verticals. Away from the computer, Schad is a blues guitar shredder, crazed sports fan, and always down for a spontaneous trip anywhere around the globe.

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