How To Paint Car Parts


Nov 18th, 2020

How To Paint Car Parts

Wear and tear is inevitable, but you can control it. Patches of rust and scratches on the car's body can ruin its overall look. Fortunately, painting over affected car parts can do wonders. It’s a solution that you should consider.

You can have an auto body technician work on your ride, which can be costly. Alternatively, you can paint your vehicle at home and have that fabulous finish without the extra expense. 

If the job involves painting a few auto parts and is not extensive, you will only need a spray can and sandpaper. Big jobs, however, will require professional equipment such as a paint gun.

Can you paint over existing paint?

No. You cannot repaint your car without sanding down. This process, which involves manually stripping the car paint using sandpaper, helps the new paint to adhere to the surface of the car part.

There are two phases of the procedure – the first round requires coarse sandpaper (180-grit), which removes the car's surface damage and rust. The second phase removes scratches left by the first sandpaper. Fine sandpaper – preferably 320-grit – will help you finish the second phase.

Is painting metal car parts the same as painting plastic parts?

No. The difference between metal and plastic car parts is static charge. Generally, plastic items are more prone to static charge compared to metallic objects. Car parts are no exception.

As a result, plastic parts require impregnated wipes and anti-static agents during painting. The chemicals help reduce the static charge, minimising dust and dirt attraction on the plastic car parts.

Impregnated wipes and anti-static agents are available in online and traditional auto stores.

How to Prepare Car Parts for Painting

Before applying the actual coat, there are preliminary steps needed to ensure perfect results:

1. Cutting

During cutting, you will need a rubbing compound (paste-like abrasive material) to remove scratches and old oxidised paint. Previous fresh paint is exposed.

Note that there are several types of rubbing compounds. Each will give you different results. Therefore, it is essential to confirm the correct one before purchasing.

Remember to cover areas that won't require painting. Additionally, use masking tape for all edges. 

Then, apply the cutting compound on a clean cloth and use circular motions to rub the paste on the area of interest.

2. Dent Repair

The second step involves filling dents on the metal car parts. You will need a sandable body filler and a small amount of hardener. The mixture not only sticks well on metal but also lasts long and perfectly hides the dents. Again, be sure to confirm the best body filler for the best paint job.

3. Sanding

Sanding helps to remove the rust and surface damage. You will need both coarse and fine sandpapers. Start with the coarse 180-grit sandpaper and finish with the finer 320-grit sandpaper. Alternatively, you can use an electric orbital sander.

Ensure that you remove glossy spots in the sections you intend to paint. Doing so helps the primer and paint to adhere to the vehicle surface better.

4. Priming

Priming ensures that the paint sticks on the painted surface. Primers also seal the parts you are painting and work as a protective barrier before applying the final coat.

Note that there are primers for metal and plastic parts. Use the appropriate type for the part you need to paint on.

Remember to cover areas you will not be working on and to also mask off edges.

We recommend applying several layers of the primer, allowing each layer to dry between applications.

How to Paint Your Vehicle

1. First, wear a protective gear, and make sure that you are in a well-ventilated area. Auto paints contain harmful chemicals.

2. Tape off the edges and cover areas that don't need paint.

3. Shake the spray paint to mix it well and ensure the even distribution of colour.

4. Apply a thin layer of paint by moving the spray can in a sweeping motion. Maintain a diameter of 20 to 25 centimetres between the spray can and the car. Monitor the distribution of the colour to ensure its evenness. 

5. Read the manufacturer's manual to determine the drying time of the paint. Once dry, apply the second and the third layers in a similar manner.

6. Observe the treated car parts. If the primer is visible, add more layers of paint until the primer is covered.

7. Lastly, apply the clear coat. Use a 1,500-grit wet sandpaper to sand down the clear coat. This final step will give your ride the all-new shiny appearance but is optional.


When painting specific auto parts, be careful not to mess up other sections. When purchasing the paint, confirm that you have the correct shade. 

Your vehicle's identification plate bears your car's colour code. You will need the colour codes when ordering for paint if you want to get the correct shade. Take note that some vehicles have several tones that need a mixture of different colours. 

Also, you can use paint-matching tools. The goal is to get the exact shade when spot repairing. A wrong shade will ruin your DIY paint job by giving your car a patchy appearance. If you have a problem finding the right car paints, painting tools, car accessories, and car parts, don’t hesitate to contact or request a part today!

By Eric Anyega