Automotive Paint Stripper Methods

April 6, 2012

Compare the pros and cons of the main automotive paint stripper methods, based on the type of paint replacement that needs to be done.

Applying Automotive Paint Stripper

If you are considering removing the paint from your car, then one thing to consider is using an automotive paint stripper. These devices take the paint right off your car without you having to do a lot, and can really get the old coats of paint off of your classic car quickly and easily, without damaging the frame. If you are looking for good automotive paint stripper brands, then there are a number of things that you should consider before selecting one particular method for your own vehicle.

Full Body Strip

This is perhaps the most destructive of the chemical strippers available to the public, and often has to be done at a specialist garage or other expert location. In the full body strip, the car is completely submerged into the chemical, often for several days at a time. This removes the paint layers, and any undercoat that may also have come with the car. It is not suitable for stripping aluminum areas, however, so this would have to be followed up by a scrub with some sandpaper to clear the metal.

The advantage of this type of full body strip is that it also removes any rust and corrosion from the body of the car, so if your classic car has been left in a garage for 20 years, then you may find that the full body stripper is the best way to get rid of both paint and rust at the same time. On the downside, aluminum metals will be destroyed by the process, so if you have any doubts about the metal make-up of your car, then you may need to pick another method.

Stripping by Hand

This is the most common method of stripping cars. The stripper used is often a simple paint remover, which is available either as a liquid or as a semi-solid paste. These are then spread over the car, and can be worked in with a putty knife, paint scraper, or other basic household tools. It is often necessary to use several coats of the stripper before all the paint is taken off, and this can mean a lot of hard work for the person doing the stripping work. On the positive side, paint stripper can be used on aluminum as well as other soft metals that are likely to be negatively affected by the full body strip. On the downside, the bottom coats may be difficult to shift, and often require sanding, and the chemicals in the stripper can be noxious, and may burn skin.

Both of these methods of stripping are used by car restoration teams, and there are a lot of reasons why they can be used with a classic car restoration project. You need to examine the car and work out exactly what it is composed of before you make your decision on what automotive paint stripper to use.

Auto Body Restoration with Paint Strippers

If you are trying to repair a classic car, then probably the last thing that you will want to consider is using paint strippers to help remove paint so that you can work on the body below. Paint strippers are notoriously harsh on classic car paintwork, and can sometimes remove far more than you intended. However, if you want to get the best from your classic car restoration, then you will need to find a way to get these two processes, stripping the car and restoring the car, working together in order to remove old paint and get something better onto the car. Before beginning to strip the car, you will need to know how to use these tools to help you proceed with auto body restoration.

  • Outline a plan. Before you begin to use your stripping tools on the car, you will need to work out a plan of where you want the strippers to be used, and what you will do with them. Read all the instructions on your paint removal tools before you proceed, as you can sometimes be mistaken about what you need to do with them. Take care to note exactly how long you will need to leave the strippers on for, as too long can cause damage to the auto, which is the last thing that you want. You may decide to remove the body panel completely from the car in order to avoid damage.
  • Prepare the car. If you are not going to remove the panel, you will need to protect the rest of the car from the stripper. Do this by using newspaper and tape to cover any vulnerable areas such as the engine, the windscreen or wheel ends. Make sure that anything that can be damaged by the stripper is properly protected before you continue. You should also cover the ground below the car with more newspaper. Once the car is prepared, make sure that you have removed any bumps and scratches with a piece of sandpaper before you continue.
  • Apply the stripper. You should then proceed to put the stripper onto the car. Most strippers come in a spray can, but this might not be the best way to manage a car which has been restored. Instead, use a tin of stripper and an old paintbrush. Apply the stripper in even coats, and then leave for about 20 to 30 minutes before continuing. Once this time has elapsed, strip off the paint using a paint scraper, or similar tool, and then wash over the surface of the area with a damp sponge or rag. This should help to remove any lasting traces of paint from your device.