How to Paint Car Door Handles

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Coat metal handles with an etching primer.
Coat metal handles with an etching primer. (Image: Door handle and key hole on an antique car image by John Sfondilias from Fotolia.com)

You can enhance the look of your worn or mismatched car door handles by refinishing them with the right paint. Before you begin, you should understand a couple of crucial points. Car door handles are composed of plastic or metal. Each of these surfaces is ill-suited for paint adhesion. You must condition them a particular way, depending on their composition, or they will ultimately reject new paint. In addition, you must apply the correct type of paint, or you will end up with shedding.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Coarse sponge
  • Water hose
  • Towels
  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • Masking paper
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Galvanized metal etching spray primer
  • Oil-based spray primer
  • Oil-based spray enamel

Scrub the car door handles with ordinary dish soap, using a sponge. Rinse the handles, using a water hose and dry them thoroughly, using clean cloth towels.

Abrade plastic car door handles to promote adhesion. Sand the handles until they have a slight grit. Skip this step if the handles are metal.

Protect the doors from paint over spray by covering them with masking paper and painter's tape.

Coat metal car door handles with galvanized metal etching spray primer. Use an oil-based spray primer on plastic handles. Maintain a distance of 8 inches between the door handles and the spray nozzle as you apply. Wait 4 hours for the primed handles to cure.

Coat the primed car door handles with an oil-based spray enamel. Maintain a distance of 8 inches between the door handles and the spray nozzle as you apply. Wait 6 hours before touching the handles.

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