How do I paint an old car over the existing paint?

I bought an old Chevy Impala that I’m going to restore, but I only have a small budget to complete the job. For the sake of saving money, I want to do the paint job myself with minimal extra work. Can I paint over the existing paint on a car?

Answer
Auto enthusiasts and purists will tell you that painting over an existing paint job is a giant mistake. However, it’s understandable if you can’t afford to have the car professionally repainted since it could cost as much as $3,500.
So, to paint an old car over the existing paint and achieve the best results, here’s what to do.
You should absolutely, positively sand your vehicle to level the surface in preparation for new primer and paint. This will make your paint smoother and help it adhere to the car better. Rent an orbital sander to make the job quick and easy, and use 400- or 600-grit sandpaper.
Clean the sanding dust off with mineral spirits, allow the car to dry, and then spray on your first coat of primer. After 20 minutes to an hour, spray on another coat if necessary. Once this dries, use 1,500-grit sandpaper and wipe off the dust with acetone or paint thinner.
Next, use a compressed air spray gun to apply the paint of your choosing. Let the first coat dry for an hour or so before adding another coat. And that’s it—you’re finished!
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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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