Keeping Your Car Tidy

Keeping Your Car Tidy

Tips For Preparing Your Car's Body Panels For Paint

by Dean Reyes

If your car is in need of a new paint job, you may decide that you want to do it on your own. However, you might have heard that painting a car isn't something you should try to do at home. The truth is with a little bit of preparation work, you can get a flawless paint job whether you're doing it at home or taking it to a professional spray booth. Here are some tips to help you get your car's body panels ready to take a new coat of paint.

Get Rid Of The Rust

Rust is common, particularly on cars that are exposed to salt, snow and other materials on the road. Unfortunately, it's also destructive to paint. Fresh paint won't adhere to rust well and will simply bubble up and flake.

  • Surface Rust – Get rid of surface rust easily by lightly sanding the rust spots away and then treating the area with a rust inhibitor. Rust inhibitors are available in several forms, including gel and spray. They use phosphoric acid to turn rust into iron phosphate. That conversion keeps it from spreading. Then, you can paint directly over it without concerns of bubbling.
  • Set-in Rust – If you have rust that's spread beyond the surface of the metal, you're going to want to remove it completely. If it's a small section, you can cut that piece out and weld a new section in its place. Just make sure you sand or grind the welds smooth so that you have a clean surface to paint. For extensive rust, you'll want to replace the body panel in its entirety. This protects the rest of the car from the rust spreading.

Smooth Things Out

Every car's body panels are prone to dents and other damage. Before you can paint your car, you need to smooth these out. Otherwise, you'll have pools of paint and a clearly uneven finish. Here's a look at what you need to know about smoothing things out.

  • Start With Body Filler – Clear away the old paint using a grinding wheel or sanding tool. Then, fill in the dents, divots and other damage with a quality body filler. You'll want just enough filler in each space so that it's filled completely. Then, run a flat scraper across the top to smooth it as much as possible. You'll probably have to mix the filler onsite right before you use it, so make sure you follow the instructions carefully.
  • Sand Everything Down – The final sanding is vital, because it's what preps all of the panels so that the paint will adhere. You'll want to use a block sander for this step, because it will ensure even pressure across the entire surface. If you try to do it by hand, you might end up with fingerprints on the surface. Start the sanding process with 180-grit. This takes care of any high spots from the filler. Then, gradually shift to finer grit paper as you go until the surface is completely smooth. Don't use your eye to determine it, though, as a visual inspection can overlook flaws that your hands will not. Run your hand over the surface lightly. If it's even, you're all set to apply paint. Just wipe everything down with a tack cloth first to remove the dust.

For more help or to have the work done professionally, Redcliff Autobody auto body painting specialists can help.


About Me

Keeping Your Car Tidy

Do you have kids? If you do, then you know how impossible it can be to keep your car interiors in decent condition. Our four boys are constantly trying to smear things into the upholstery. However, by using a few clever tricks, my wife and I have been able to keep our cars in good shape. The goal of my website is to help other parents to care for their cars, so that they don't end up paying for pricy repairs later. Having kids isn't always easy, but by knowing how to keep them from destroying your ride, you might be able to avoid a few unplanned expenses.