There is more to repainting a car than ready-aim-fire. It requires meticulous planning, proper gear, exacting prep work, sizable cash outlay, numerous steps and a lot of patience. Repainting a car is not a single-step process, but rather a multi-step operation culminating in the actual painting of the vehicle. So put down that foam roller and here is how to properly paint a vehicle


Find the Place

Whether you are doing the painting or you are looking for a shop to do it for you, finding the right place to work on your car lays the foundation for all other steps. It is imperative to find a space with excellent ventilation, good lighting, nominal dust, electricity and ample room to work on the vehicle. Avoid residential garages because they contain water heaters or furnaces that may ignite paint fumes.



You’ll need the right supplies to do the job right. Here is a list of car-repainting necessities:

  • Paint sprayer
  • Hand sandpaper
  • Solvents for cleaning surfaces
  • Masking tape
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint thinner or catalyst and hardener




Sanding is essential to eliminate glaring imperfections as well as small ones that, despite their size, will be just as disfiguring under the paint. 1,200 grit sandpaper or sanding pads to remove clear coat and paint. Sidestep the hassle of matching the desired paint to the existing paint by removing the primer and revealing the bare metal.



Choose a Paint 

Paint is either single stage or base/clear. Single stage paints contain ultraviolet protection, pigment and additives all-in-one. The base/clear, or two-part process, first applies the paint (base coat) to the car. This is followed by a clear, second coat of paint (clearcoat). Clearcoat is a popular choice because of its glossiness, as well as its ability to conceal rock chips and door dings.




When applying paint, nitrile gloves are required, along with painter’s coveralls, safety goggles, and a respirator. Spray the finish on your car, using a paint gun with an air compressor and a moisture separator. Ensure that the paint is thinned correctly for the equipment you’re using but avoid over-thinning. This will decrease the finished surface’s gloss and may cause runs. Your car should be dry to the touch in about 24 to 48 hours and fully cured in up to seven days.