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DIY – How to paint your second hand car with these simple 5 steps

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For those who choose to paint their second-hand car, this can be a money-saving and rewarding job, but it takes time. You can colour match your existing paint by taking your car details (make, year, model) to a car paint supplier. It’s best to carry out the job in a well-ventilated, sheltered area.

1. Choosing your materials

First, gather your tools and materials. You’ll need:

– a wet and dry sandpaper

– an electric sander

– masking tape

– clean cloths

– a spray gun

– a buffer

– undercoat

– top coat

– clear-coat lacquer

– paint thinners

– safety gear (face masks, safety glasses, latex gloves

Estimating quantities of paint’s important. For small/medium-sized cars will need:

– 1 gallon of base coat

– 3 gallons of topcoat

– 2-3 gallons of clear coat

For larger cars will need:

– 1.5 gallons of base coat

– 4 gallons of topcoat

– 4 gallons of clear coat

2. Prepare your area and car

First, prepare your working area to ensure it’s clean and dust-free. If you’re going to paint your car’s inner areas such as the engine area, doorsills and the boot, this will take a lot longer, but if you’re painting the outer body only, simply place masking tape over the areas you don’t need to paint (e.g. headlights).

3. Surface preparation

Sand away the existing paint using your electric sander. Tricky areas should be done by hand. You’re looking to achieve a smooth finish for the new paint to adhere to. Finishing off with fine wet-and-dry sandpaper, clean the surface using thinner to remove all dust and dirt and allow the surface to dry.

4. Surface priming

Begin by mixing your primer with the thinners, following the recommended quantities on the tin. If you’re new to spraying, have a practise run with an old piece of scrap metal.

The best technique is to hold the spray gun about 6 inches away from the surface. Moving your arm from side to side, spray the surface as evenly as possible. Start with adding the primer to the car roof, working downwards.

Use about 2-3 coats, allowing for drying time in between (this takes about 20-60 minutes). When finished, gently sand the entire surface until it’s smooth, then wipe it clean of dust.

5. Surface painting

Mix your paint with the thinners, again using the recommended quantities. Just as you applied the primer, apply the topcoat paint in exactly the same way.

Give the surface about 3-4 coats, allowing drying time in between, but before applying the final coat, sand down the surface by hand to remove any residue, then wipe it down with a clean cloth.

Finally, apply the clear-coat lacquer. While the clear-coat’s drying, remove the masking tape. When you inspect your job, any problem areas can be sanded down and re-sprayed. The last step’s to carefully buff your paint, then stand back and admire the finished result.

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