How to Paint a Car Without a Spray Gun

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Painting a car with an automotive spray gun is the best way to get a professional looking paint job. If you don't have access to an automotive spray gun and air compressor system, there is another method you can use. Auto parts stores are now selling automotive quality paint in a regular aerosol spray can.

Things You'll Need

  • Automotive spray paint
  • Automotive spray primer
  • Automotive clear coat
  • Sandpaper
  • Dual action sander
  • Masking tape and paper
  • Sand the car using 120 grit sandpaper and a dual action sander. This removes all old paint and helps prepare the surface for new paint. This step can be done by hand, but the sander saves a significant amount of time.

  • Use masking tape and paper to cover any areas of the car that won't be painted, like the windows, wheels, trim, lights, door handles and mirrors.

  • Wipe the car down with wax and grease remover to remove oil from fingerprints and dust particles. If left on the surface, these things can cause imperfections in the finished paint, such as orange peel or bumps.

  • Spray two thin coats of primer on the car's surface and allow each coat to dry for 30 minutes. Hold the spray can about 10 inches away from the car, starting at the top of the car and working your way down and towards the rear.

  • Paint the car with three or four thin coats of spray paint. Several thin coats allow for even coverage and are less likely to cause runs in the paint. Use the same spray pattern as you did with the primer, allowing 30 minutes for each coat to dry.

  • Spray three coats of clear coat paint on the car, using the same spraying patterns and drying times as with the paint and primer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't sand or spray paint on the car without wearing a respirator mask.
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