DIY car paint gone wrong can be disastrous for the look and body of your car. Learn how to do it the right way in this guide.

DIY Car Paint: How to Change Your Car’s Color at Home

Is your car’s paint looking a bit rusted? Has it started to fade with time, or are you simply tired of looking at the color?  

These are all more than acceptable reasons to slap a new coat of paint on your car. The problem is that you don’t have a lot of money laying around to take it to a professional. 

Can you do a DIY car paint job and save a little cash? The answer is yes, and we can show you how to do it. Check out these car painting tips to learn how to breathe new life into your ride. 


Decide if Your Car Is Worth It

The first step of DIY car painting is deciding if your vehicle is even worth the trouble. The truth of the matter is giving your ride a new coat of paint isn’t cheap. 

If you plan to resell your car soon, you should hold off on painting it. You would think that a new paint job would increase the value of your ride, but it does the opposite. 

You’ve also got to think about the health of your car. If you’ve got a noisy engine on your hands, for example, it might be a good idea to take care of that before you dump a bunch of money into aesthetics. 

Park Your Vehicle in a Good Location

If you’ve decided that your vehicle is worth the paint job, you’ll need to find a good place to park it. Our recommendation is to choose a location that’s well ventilated. An open garage should suit your needs fine. 

If you don’t have access to a garage, you’ll need to be a bit careful. There’s nothing wrong with doing the job outside, but you’ve got to remember that the paint will take about 24 hours to dry.

If it rains at any point, you’ll have to start over from square one. You also can’t drive your car once you begin. That means you won’t even be able to move it into a garage if bad weather decides to strike. 

Cover the Glass and Tires

The last thing you want is to get paint all over your windshield. The only way to avoid that is to take a minute to cover your glass and tires before you get started. 

For the smaller parts of your vehicle, such as your headlights and taillights, a little bit of tape will do the trick. Covering up the larger sections of your vehicle will take something bigger like newspaper or a tarp. 

Whatever you do, make sure that the areas you don’t want to paint are sealed. If they’re not, some of the paint will leak through. 

Auto Trimming

Auto trimming involves removing the smaller hardware that is connected to the body of your car. A few examples include your door handles and antenna. 

It’s a lengthy process, but it’s one that you should take time to do if you don’t want to cover your door handles in paint. 

The best advice we can give you is to be careful and use the proper tools. Go slow and find a place to store these smaller parts as you remove them. 

Prime the Vehicle 

If the paint you buy includes a primer, you can disregard this DIY car paint step. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to pick up a can. 

Going over your vehicle with primer won’t fix any dents, but it will fill in scratches and allow your paint to go on a little smoother. Something that you need to keep in mind is that primer takes a while to dry. 

After you apply it, you’ll have to wait about five hours before you start painting. 

Sand It Down 

The final painting prep step involves sanding down the vehicle. You can’t skip over it if you want your paint job to look good. 

Like priming, sanding will create a smooth surface for you to apply your paint to. The process is a lot of work and takes a few hours to complete. It’s recommended that you have someone with you to help out. 

Buy Your Paint

It’s time for you to pick out your paint color and buy what you need. In the case of most vehicles, you’ll have to grab about ten cans. 

If you want your job to look professional, you should choose high gloss paint. 

Coat the Vehicle 

We’re finally going to tell you how to paint your car. Applying an even coat isn’t as difficult as you may think. 

The trick is to hold the can about 6 inches away from your vehicle. You’ll want to use quick motions. If you don’t, the paint could drip. 

Go as thin as possible. If you feel like it’s not enough, you can always add a second coat on later. 

Spot Removal and Dry 

No matter how thorough you are when you’re preparing your vehicle, it’s always possible to get paint on areas of the car that you didn’t want to get paint on. You can buff them out with a little acetone. 

Again, your vehicle will take about 24 hours to dry. You won’t be able to drive it before then. 

After it sits overnight, you can remove all the tape and tarps and put your door handles back on. If you want to protect your new paint job, Suntek PPF can help with that. 

Complete Your DIY Car Paint Job 

Is your auto paint job getting old? Give your car a little TLC by performing a DIY car paint job. 

As you can see, it’s not that difficult to pull off, and it’s much cheaper than going to a professional. 

For more tips that will help you take care of your ride, visit the Auto section of our blog. 

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