Car Paint Tutorial: 7 Techniques for Applying Auto Paint

January 27, 2012

If you’re painting a car for the first time, it’s advisable to take a car paint tutorial so you complete the job and obtain good quality results. Instead of getting the car painted by a professional, you could attain a show car-like appearance if you follow the basic principles of car painting. Although the process is a bit time consuming, you need to work meticulously so you get a good finish. The technique used to paint a car depends on whether you want to conduct a full body paint job or exclusively paint small dents and scratches. A spray gun is ideal for full body painting while a small brush or a toothpick is sufficient to touch up small scratches or dents. In order to paint the car evenly and obtain long lasting results, follow the techniques listed below.

Car Paint Tips:


Before you start painting the vehicle, you need to look for dents on the surface of the car. These dents become extremely visible if they aren’t rectified. To start off, clear off any rust that surrounds a dent and use a hammer to even out any high spots. You will also have to use a grinder to get rid of the paint that’s on the affected area. Once this is done, apply body filler and allow it to set according to the instructions mentioned on the package. You have to then sand the area carefully, so you get a smooth surface.

Preparing the Surface

After the dents have been attended to, you need to sand the surface of the car to take off old paint, rust and other particles. Remember that the key to a good paint job is preparation of the surface that has to be painted.


Once the sanding process is over, you need to apply a good quality primer that will also suit the type of paint you wish to use. As a general guideline, apply 2 to 3 coats of primer. Follow the instructions listed on the primer package to find out how many coats are required. After the primer has been sprayed on, you have to sand the surface of the vehicle. Take your time when you’re sanding the metal, as this ensures a smooth surface that’s free from any high spots.

Cleaning the Surface

After you finish sanding the vehicle, use a grease remover to clean the surface. You will also have to use an air compressor to rid the surface of any particles or dust that may have set in during the sanding process.

Choosing Paints

Make sure that you choose the right paint for your vehicle. Water based paints, solvent based paints, acrylic paints and urethane paints are some of the paints that are available in the market. You must read the car owner’s manual before making a choice. Although urethane paints are recommended and long lasting, you will have to purchase the necessary protective gear if you choose to work with such paints.

Mixing Paints

Most paints have to be mixed with a reducer, thinner or hardener so they attain the right viscosity. If the paint is too thin, it will run and show lines. On the other hand if it is too thick, it won’t flow out easily from the spray gun. Refer to the technical data sheets for the product you purchase and then mix the paint.


After purchasing a good spray gun, use small and even strokes to get a good finish. Remember to work from the top of the car, to its sides. You should apply thin coats and let them dry out thoroughly.

If you follow these techniques, you will be able to complete the task with relative ease. Also consider viewing free car paint ‘how to’ tutorials online to gain a better understanding of the car painting process.