How Do You Paint a Car?

To paint a car, clean the surface, sand, prime, and apply one or more coats of paint. You need 1200- and 2000-grit sandpaper, masking tape, topcoat, clear-coat lacquer, a buffer, an air compressor, a spray gun, paint thinner, rags, an electric or air sander and safety gear to complete this project.

  1. Clean the car

    Hose down the car if you are painting it outside. Wash the car to remove any debris or dust.

  2. Sand the car

    Sand down the entire car in circular motions. Remove the previous coloring entirely until you see the metallic surface. Wipe away remaining dust with a clean rag and thinner. Allow the thinner to dry.

  3. Prime the car

    Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to mix the thinner and primer. Practice on another surface by holding the paint spray 6 inches from the car and spraying in side-by-side motions. Only use the trigger if the spray is moving. Cover areas of the car that you don't want to paint with masking tape. Once you are finished practicing, start on the roof of the car, and work your way down. Apply in even coats, and allow 20 minutes to elapse before painting another coat. You may need to apply a total of two or three coats. Sand the car to an even finish with 2000-grit sandpaper.

  4. Paint the car

    Mix the paint and thinner according to the manufacturer's specifications, and spray the topcoat with the same spraying motions as the primer. Spray additional coats, if necessary, and wait 20 minutes before applying each additional coat. Use the 2000-grit sandpaper to remove powder residue before applying the final coat. Wipe the surface, and finish with a coat of lacquer.

  5. Apply finishing touches

    After allowing the car to fully dry, check for blemishes or drips. If respraying is necessary, sand the surface lightly to promote paint adhesion. Buff the paint to a shine when it is fully dry.