How do you get car paint off your car?

I want to learn how to paint a car. We’ve got some junk cars that no one drives with old paint that I want to practice on. I need to get the old paint off first. How do you remove car paint?

Removing paint is a hazardous project. Make sure to work somewhere with good ventilation and wear protective gear like a dust mask, respirator, gloves, and safety glasses.
Here are the supplies you’ll need:
  • Dual-action sander
  • Heavy-duty masking tape
  • Sandpaper (80-grit)
  • Thick plastic sheeting
  • Tools to remove car parts
  • Acid-resistant paint brushes
  • Coffee can or container
  • Paint stripper (different parts of a car take different types, so get what you need)
  • Plastic or nylon flat-edged scraping tool
  • Neutralizer for the paint stripper (if needed, read instructions)
First up, you’re going to want to dismantle the car. Remove all the pieces you want to repaint and lay them out on the plastic sheets. Next, use sandpaper to scratch up the paint. You will not be removing all the paint with the sandpaper, though.
Next, you’ll be using some hazardous materials. If I could mark this section with a skull and crossbones, I would! Be very careful and make sure you are protected.
Pour the paint stripper into your chosen container. Read all the fine print on the bottle carefully, and follow it to the letter.
Then, grab your brushes. Apply the paint stripper as if you’re painting. But instead of adding color, the paint stripper will eat away at the existing paint. As it bubbles or wrinkles, scrape it off.
When complete, neutralize the paint stripper, if necessary. Then, roll up the paint-covered plastic sheeting, gather the chemicals, and take everything to a hazardous waste collection site.
Good on you for taking the time to learn how to DIY certain car projects. Make room in your budget to hire a pro to handle the rest by saving money on your car insurance with Jerry. 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!
Lauren Smith
Answered on Nov 22, 2021
Lauren has written for World Nomads, the Matador Network, Korvia Consulting, and once upon a time Three Fates Games. She graduated from Columbia College of Chicago with a BFA in Creative Writing. After graduating, she moved overseas and lived in South Korea where she spent her free time traveling and going on road trips with friends. She misses the rest stop potatoes and is trying to figure out how to recreate them at home. She's now based outside of Chicago and when she's not writing she spends her free time reading, playing video games, and exploring whenever she can.

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