Prep is What Makes the Paint Job



It doesn’t matter if you’re painting your automobile yourself or hiring someone else to do it for you; proper preparation is crucial. It’s a tedious task that requires a lot of grunt labor, which takes a lot of time. There isn’t a lot of information out there regarding how to properly prepare for a trip. To save money on your next paint job, learn how to prep a car for paint yourself and see if you can’t save a couple hundred dollars in labor costs.

Here, I won’t get into dent removal, rust repair, or body filler application. All of that occurs before you even begin your preparations. When the body is smooth, there is a mix of old paint and bare metal and body filler on it. All the tools and supplies you’ll need to prepare an automobile for painting will be discussed in detail.


You must remove all previous dirt, wax, oil, grease, fingerprints, and other contaminants from the surface before applying any finish. If they aren’t removed beforehand, these objects can lead to “fish eye” and other paint concerns.

You should always wheel your automobile outside before washing it to remove any dust. Using a blow gun and an air compressor, this can be accomplished. Sanding dust likes to lurk in the nooks and crannies of surfaces, where it will go unnoticed. When you squeeze the trigger on your paint gun, a cloud of dust erupts, bringing you back to the beginning of the process.

Once the dust has been removed, wash it as you would a car. Do not forget to wash your hands with soapy water to remove any grease or engine oil residue. Remove any remaining oil or polish by wiping the surface down again with a cleaning solvent once the soap and water scrubbing has finished and the water has dried. Other cleansers, such as mineral spirits, acetone, lacquer thinner, or other products, can be used, however Eastwood sells a compound called PRE Paint Prep specifically for this purpose. Let the body dry completely before wiping it down with a tack rag.

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The following phase in the preparation of a vehicle for painting is more time-consuming. The fresh primer and paint will adhere better to the metal if the old finish or bare metal is sanded to “scuff it up.” A vibratory sander can speed up the process, but some components of an automobile will always necessitate manual sanding because of their complicated designs. For your first significant sanding project, we recommend that you use a variety of sanding blocks to complete the task. If you want to level filler like the pros, don’t use a DA sander-it takes a lot of practice to produce an even finish with any kind of powered sander. To remove the finish, you can use a power sander or a surface conditioning tool if you’ve had some expertise with these instruments.

In addition, a wide range of grit sandpaper recommendations will be given to you, ranging from 400 to 1200 grit. If there is body filler or old paint to remove, you should start with 400 grit, and if you are simply scuffing a good but faded original paint job, you should use 600-800 grit. Using less sandpaper by wet sanding (often submerging the sandpaper in a pail of water) will speed up and simplify the process. After sanding, use PRE to clean the surface again.

Once the primer coat has dried, you may begin shooting the second coat. There are exposed metal sections and places filled with body filler that need to be sanded down first. Epoxy, urethane and self-etching primers are among the many types of automotive primers available. This type of primer is not suggested for use over body filler because of its tendency to self-etch. When painting over existing paint, it is common practice to apply a coat of primer sealer to prevent any chemical reactions between the old and new paints. Put 2-3 coats of primer on the entire automobile once the bare spots are covered. When using primer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how many coats to apply and how long it takes to dry. Wet-sand the primer with 800-1200 grit sandpaper once the final application has dried. Remove any drips, scratches, or other imperfections with sandpaper. Using a clean, dry rag and PRE solvent, clean the car again. Be cautious not to overdo it, or the priming will be wiped off.

The primer’s instructions should be checked before moving on to painting. Some have a time period in which painting is not permitted. An hour after priming or 24 hours after drying, for example, might be recommended per the instructions. Depending on the priming, some paints will lose their ability to cling to the primer after a certain period of time. Consider these time frames when planning your project’s timetable.



 You’re all set at this point. It’s time to bring your car to the body shop for paint prep, which is the final step in the automotive paint process. A plastic sheeted booth in your house with a couple fans for ventilation might be all you need.

You can learn how to prep a car’s paint in a short period of time if you’re willing to put in the effort. The prep guy at the body shop may see multiple automobiles a day, but you’re more likely to pay attention to the tiniest of details when it comes to your own vehicle.

What you can accomplish in your own garage will blow your mind. If you take your time and plan carefully, you can almost certainly expect spectacular results. Of course, you won’t be able to paint like this right away, but it’s never too late to start.

Red Corvette