So you’ve decided to go down the route of the “poor man’s paint job” – or so they call it. Painting your car is no easy task, especially if it’s your first time doing it. Take this as no invitation to paint your car all by yourself if you even have the slightest doubt that you can do it.
Still, if you do learn how to complete this task all by yourself, you’ll be saving lots of money; not to mention you’ll have full control over what your car would look like. This is great news for those of you artistic souls who wish to bring a piece of their soul into their vehicles. Of course, this is also for us regular folks who simply wish to change the color of their car.
And so let’s begin this simple guide on how to paint the different parts of your car.
For this sort of project you’ll need a decent quality paint sprayer, first and foremost. We’d suggest going for an HVLP (high volume, low pressure) model, since we’d want to treat the vehicle as delicately as possible. Remember that this is not a process that you can rush, so allot a couple of days or a few weekends to finish this job. You’ll also need to be very patient.
You will also need paint, masking tape, newspapers, and lots of sandpaper. Also bring polishing tools, sanding tools, and safety goggles (as well as a mask to protect you from the paint fumes).
Find a place to perform the task. You’ll need somewhere with good ventilation, minimal dust, good lighting, electricity, and lots of room to work around your vehicle. So basically, that translates to: “not your garage”.
Residential garages sometimes have furnaces that can cause an ignition of paint fumes – those of which will accumulate while you paint.
Bring all the equipment to your setup spot and pray it won’t rain for the next couple of days.
The first step is to make sure your car is in perfect condition. And we’re not referring to its performance. It needs to have no dents, no rust, and no other minimal imperfections that will make the car look ugly once it is done being painted.
Here comes the first of many sanding procedures: sand the paint according to your liking. You may want to want to the bare metal of the vehicle, or to the original primer. You can sand just enough so that new paint will cling to the car. It’s all up to you. Of course, the best result is usually when people strip it down to bare metal.
Clean all surfaces thoroughly, making sure no oils are on the car. Next, use masking tape and newspaper to cover all surfaces that you’re not supposed to paint, including glass, window trim, mirrors, door handles, and grills. Make sure there are no holes in either covering material.
Also cover the area around the car with plastic to avoid permanently coloring the room – the car is the only objective after all.
The Preliminary Process
If you removed all the paint down to bare metal, prime the surface of the car with corrosion-resistant self-etching primer. Prime all the surfaces you removed rust and body filler from. If there are any scratches left during the preparation, now’s the time to fill it up with enough paint.
You may then allow the primer to cure, relying on the information provided on the container. Sand all primed surfaces smooth and then clean the surface to remove any dust or oil that has accumulated.
The Poor Man’s Painting Job
Don’t take it as an insult that we’re calling this the poor man’s painting job – it is a very cost-effective way to paint your car. After all the sanding and priming, you can now feel free to spray the car with the color of your choice. Be gentle with the HVLP paint sprayer – it is made to be precise, but you can never be too careful.
Just make sure the paint is thinned correctly for the equipment you are using, but also avoid over-thinning, it decreases the gloss of the result. Also try to remove blobs of paint and drips on the side. Be patient and gentle with this procedure, it is for the best.
Lastly, allow the paint to cure and then finish sanding and cleaning your car. Admire your work and question the world: why would you ever pay for someone else to do this job?