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How To Paint Spray A Car In 5 Steps [2021]

Are you looking for ways to paint spraying your car?

Yes, as known, paint spraying is the easiest way to give your car an on-trend look. But getting your vehicle painted by a professional can be a bit expensive.

Well, we have got your back! Here is a complete instruction on how to paint spray a car in 5 steps.

Let’s jump right in, shall we?


Detailed Instruction On How To Paint Spray A Car In 5 Steps

Step 1: Arrange The Job

Choose A Safe Place.

Before getting to work, make sure you choose a suitable and safe place to paint. It must be well-ventilated, big enough for you to move around, and have a sufficient light.

You can work in your garage if it is convenient for you. But if your garage contains highly combustible appliances such as a furnace and water heater, you should choose another place. Paint fumes can potentially cause ignition during your spraying process.

You might also want to choose a place where dusts not sticking all over your newly painted car. Using a plastic sheeting to cover your workspace will help minimize the amount of dust and prevent over-spraying.


Prepare Your Equipment

Equipment for spray paint cars are very easy to find in the hardware store. You will need:

  • Paint sprayer
  • Air compressor
  • Coat lacquer
  • Primer
  • Electric sander
  • Paint diluted solution
  • Tape

Remember to pick out safe equipment as well since breathing in all those paint fumes is very dangerous. You will need:

  • Safe goggles
  • Protective gloves
  • Respirator masks

If you want to keep the same color, check your car’s compliance plate for the exact color code. It will be much easier when you go shopping for a matching color. You can also contact the manufacturer for the code if you can’t find it.

Step 2: Prepare The Car.

Take Out Plastic Trim.

You will need to refer to the vehicle manual for this step. Cars are designed with removable plastic or chrome trim. You can easily take it out by hand, or there are specific tools that can assist you in fulfilling this task.

However, you should not force any trim parts off. If it doesn’t snap off smoothly, leave it there, you can tape over it later.

Removing Rust And Dent

Repair any noticeable dent that you could find as well as all the rust patches.

Use a power grinder to grind off rust spots. If there happen to be holes in your car, use auto filler to patch it off. You will be repainting and sanding the entire car anyway, so don’t worry about all the imperfections here.

Make sure you put on safety goggles, respirators, and gloves before attempting to do anything.


Sanding is of paramount importance because it will decide whether the paint sticks to your car. It would be best if you do this step carefully and thoroughly.

Use a metal sander and start sanding down your entire car.

The goal here is to remove the finished coats so that the new paints can adhere to the vehicle’s surface. Use circular motion the whole time you are sanding until you can see the bare metal layer.

Cleaning Off Any Dirt Spots


Mineral spirits

After you have finished sanding, use a rag to wipe down dusts on the vehicle’s surfaces. Then apply mineral spirits or denatured alcohol to the exterior of your car using a cloth.

This step will clean off any remnant of oils and dust and enhance the paint’s ability to stick to your car’s surfaces.

However, it might be better if you do not combine the exterior cleaning solutions. If you plan to use mineral spirits, then use only mineral spirits for your car.

Wait for the vehicle surface to dry completely (5-10 minutes) before moving to the next step.

Masking Parts That Don’t Need To Paint

Taping all the areas of your car that you don’t intend to paint. That includes mirrors, keyholes, door handles, grills, glass, and window trim. Newspapers also work if you don’t have masking tape.

Smooth out the tape to eliminate gaps as soon as you are done covering all the surfaces to avoid paint sneaking through it.

Step 3: Priming

Another important step is priming. Pick out your favorite brand of primer and apply it to your car. Make sure all the surfaces are covered. This step will make your paint coat look nicer and more professional. It also helps ensure that your paint will adhere properly to the vehicle’s surface.

Refer to the instruction for the exact curing time. After the primer has completely cured, give your car a quick sanding to remove the powder-like coat on the surface.

Remember to wash the car with water afterward and wipe it dry entirely.

Step 4: Painting

Now you finally get to the paint part!

Let’s take out your favorite color and load it to the sprayer. Refer to the instruction for more details. If your paint requires thinning, find the exact ratio on the packaging. You don’t want to over-thinning as it will lose the glossy finish and will not stick to your car properly.

Spraying paint may feel somewhat different than spraying primer. Therefore you should practice it first on a piece of scrape before officially doing it on your vehicle. Spray one motion from left to right and from top to bottom.

Remember to put on your protective gear the entire time you are doing this job.

It would be best if you apply 3 to 4 coats of paints for full coverage. Wait for each coat to dry completely before attempting to apply another coat. It would take about 40 to 60 minutes, as specified by the paint’s instruction. Also, clean your sprayer after you finish with each coat.

After your last coat of paint has fully dried, use a sander to gently sand down the vehicle’s surfaces to get rid of the powdery texture. You can use sandpapers if you don’t have a sander on hand. We recommend choosing 1500-grit or 2000-grit sandpapers for a smoother finish.

Use the same cleaning solution as you had above to wipe down the entire car. Give it several minutes to dry, and we can move on to the next step.

Step 5: Finishing The Vehicle


Buffing machines

The final step has come; you are almost done!

Pick out your chosen coat lacquer and spray it on the car’s surface using the same painting and priming technique. Apply 2 to 3 top coats according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Give the surface a light sanding and wiping between each coat of lacquer for better adherence.

Once the lacquer’s final layer has been applied and has some time to dry, remove the tape. For the best result, we recommend taking it out right before the last topcoat is completely dry.

Now to bring out the gloss, you will need to buff the car. This step could be done by hand, which takes more time but yields better results. Or you can use buffing machines, which will take less time.

You will have to be careful and patient with this job. If you rush it, you will not get a satisfying finish, and you will also run the risk of removing the paint coat you have diligently put on.

Additional Spraying Tips

We guarantee that our guide on how to paint spray a car in 5 steps has all the information you need. But still, we want to aid in some more tips that can assist you furthermore.

  • Spraying in small areas each time will result in even paint coats and better finish.
  • Before repainting any areas, wait for the paint to dry completely, then sand that area down first.
  • Clean the nozzle of the sprayer periodically with a paint-thinning solution.

Final Words

That’s it! We have shown you how to paint spray a car in 5 steps. Easy peasy, right? With proper equipment and techniques, you can whip up a new look for your vehicle in no time at all.

We hope this article will be of great help to you. And remember, safety always comes first!

Read more: Best wagner paint sprayer reviews in 2021