Cars & Vehicles Auto Parts & Maintenance & Repairs

How to Prepare a Car for a New Paint Job

    • 1). Use a sponge and car wash soap to remove any dust, dirt and other debris on the surface of the car. Use a wax/grease remover to get rid of any wax and road grime that can affect the paint job. Rinse the car well and allow it to dry.

    • 2). Strip the car of paint down to the metal if your car has had several paint jobs before. You want to uncover any body damage that can cause problems later when the car is painted. Place an 8-inch sanding disc with 80-grit sandpaper onto a dual-action sander. Work the sander across the car's surface in a circular motion to remove the paint. Another option is to apply a stripping chemical to the car and scrape the paint off. If your car has had several paint jobs, it may take numerous applications before the old paint is completely stripped. If the body of your car is in good shape and hasn't had a lot of paint jobs, then it doesn't need extensive sanding. Regardless if your car needs a lot of sanding or not, always do a final sanding on the bare metal with 200- to 300-grit sandpaper.

    • 3). Repair any visible dents. Hold a wooden block against the back of the dent and use a ball-peen hammer to pound out the dent from the inside. If you are unable to access the dent from the inside, mark the center of the dent and drill a small hole with a 1/8-inch drill bit. Place a dent-pulling tool into the hole and pull on it until the dent is flattened out. Apply filler to the dented area and allow it to harden. Once the filler has dried, smooth out the surface with 300-grit sandpaper. Do a final sanding on the area with 600-grit sandpaper, working your way up to 1,000-grit.

    • 4). Use masking tape to cover areas on the car that you do not want to paint, such as mirrors, tires, windows, bumpers and door handles.

    • 5). Apply two to three coats of high quality primer to the car. Allow it to dry.

    • 6). Apply a fine mist of flat black enamel over the primer. This mist will make the uneven areas on the car surface show up. Sand the car with 600- to 800-grit sandpaper and a sanding block until all of the black enamel is gone.

    • 7). Apply a few coats of primer sealer to the car to create a mirror-smooth surface to paint on. It will also help to conceal any body work that you did. Now your car is ready to paint.

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