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Painting your car yourself

How does one repaint a car? In a doubtful economy I have decided to keep my 10 year old car. I have no hope of getting a girl with my old scratched and dented car. Are there any online resources?

PS Do not tell my wife?

You have two options. Neither one will look any good. You don’t just through paint on a car. The prep work is extremely important. If you don’t know how to prep a car…then don’t even bother trying to paint it.

A) Buy (or rent) a compressor and paint gun.

B) Buy a whole bunch of paint cans.

Third option is to go for a cheap paint job at places like Maaco.

I thought about Maaco but the reviews are not good. I have a compressor…would need to get a gun et cetera…when I was in high school I did some minor body work…wet sand etc.
How many pounds of pressure do you need…what kind of gun, filters etc… do you get
What is the mixture on the paint.
How long does the paint primer have to cure before final paint.
What about the clear coat.
These are the questions I need answered.

Buying the equipment you will need, finding a good location, buying the paint will likely cost you a lot more than having it done by your local auto paint outfit. If you do some prep, you might save a few dollars, but if you don’t do it right, the results will show it.

Painting requires some expensive equipment, a dust free location, and one very hard to come by, experience.

Yea, I have painted my own car (1970 VW) took me a couple of weeks and some do overs and I had a 1965 Sunbeam Imp done by Maco.  Both turned out well (not great by not bad).  Neither would have passed as new car paint.  

Best jobs are done on rainy days, it reduces the dust in the air and generally the shop does not have much to do since few people will think that having a car painted on a rainy day is a good idea so the staff have the time to do a little better job. 

Good Luck

Unless you have a knowledgeable person walk you through selecting the equipment and the paint and showing you how to prep the car, this is going to look pretty rough when you get done.

A mechanic is a technician. A painter is a craftsman. Not that one trade is better, but they are very different.

Plan on painting it a light color. The darker the color, the more skill is required.

I agree. The success of the paint job is in the prep work. When I had access to a paint booth on base I painted several vehicles. The first one came out terrible. They got better as time went on because I learned as I went. The last car I painted (62 Impala SS) came out perfect with a candy apple paint job. I don’t paint vehicles anymore because I hate the prep work and like I said the success of the paint job depends on the prep work. If you really want a good paint job then leave it to the experts (craftsmen).

You run the gun pressure @ 30 PSI.

The air has to be clean and dry. So you’ll need a high efficiancy filter along with a desiccant drier to remove moisture.

Use a new air hose.

You’re going to need primer, a surfacer/sealer, the base coat, and the clear coat along with all the other chemicals used in mixing the paint. Expect to pay up to $400.00 just for this stuff.

Don’t buy a cheap paint gun. This just results in a cheap looking paint job.

You’re going to need two tips for the paint gun. One for the primer, surfacer/sealer, and the base coat. And one for shooting the clear coat.

You’re going to need a respirator to protect your lungs from the chemicals.

Then you’ll need whatever supplies for preping the body for the paint.

So, you could be looking at $1000.00 just for supplies and equipment in order to paint the car correctly.


Painting seems to be a talent. Those with the talent can do a great job with the minimum of equipment while those without the talent make an expensive mess using the best equipment. With patience and determination an amateur can do a passable job but it requires many hours of prep work. I have painted large commercial trucks with paint store industrial enamel with acceptable results but totally failed at several efforts to paint a pickup.

If you’ve never done a paint job before…then Maaco is going to do a much better job then you possibly could. But…since you have the equipment…this is a GREAT way to learn. Sorry I can’t be more help…never did much body-work before…