A little nick on the car can cost you a couple of thousands to repair and repaint. So getting an entire car painted by a professional is going to leave a huge hole in your pocket. If you don’t want to spend that kind of money on a used car, you could just do it yourself. Here are a few DIY tips on how to paint a second-hand car.

Before we get started, do note that the end result may not be as it would if you got it done at a garage. However, you are also going to spend less than 20%, so the trade-off is decent.

Let’s get the paint rolling.

​​Supplies to Buy

  • ​​​Face mask
  • Safety glasses
  • Painter’s tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Spray gun
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint thinner
  • Clear lacquer
  • Buffer

For an average-sized hatchback or sedan, 2 liters of primer, 3 liters of paint and 2 liters of clear lacquer is recommended.

Prep Work

​​Find a big covered space to do the paint job. There are chances of dust and leaves spoiling the work outdoors. 

Thoroughly clean the car to remove any dirt. Put on your face mask and safety glasses.

The first big job you need to do is sand. You need to spend a few hours doing this if you want the optimum finished result. Sanding will remove the dirt, thin layers of rust and give you a smooth canvas to paint on.

Then comes priming. Put the primer and thinner in the spray gun and practice using it first. Once comfortable, start spraying the car from the top-down. You will need at least 2 coats of the primer. Let each coat cure for an hour before applying the next one.

Now you will again need to sand the car to get a smooth finish. Don’t sand too much or you will strip down all the primer. You need to sand just enough to get rid of a powdery feel.

The Actual Paint Job

​​Clean your spray gun and put in the paint color you want. Add thinner to get the right consistency.  

Put painter’s tape on areas of the car you don’t want to get paint on. These would include lights, door handles, bumper, etc.

Use the same top-down method to spray your car with paint. Spray at least 3 even coats. Give it an hour or more between coats to ensure it is completely dry and cured. 

Once the last coat has dried, wipe it down with a clean cloth to remove any powdery effect.

Final Touches

You now need to paint the clear lacquer to get a glossy final result. Clean your spray gun and put the lacquer. You can put 1 or 2 coats depending on your personal preference. 

Use the same top-down method to spray the lacquer. Remove the painter’s tape before the lacquer dries or it will get stuck to the car. 

Let the car completely dry. Then lightly use a buffer to buff the entire surface.

The DIY paint job of your second-hand car is done!

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