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Isn´t it the worst feeling to see your car with dingy and faded paint? Don´t you hate it when you have to take your car to the shop, only to know that it will cost you tons of money? We are aware of that feeling, and today we are going to tell you how to play some DIY tricks with automotive paint guns.

Car Body Painting with HVLP

It sounds scary but, if you follow through, you will get a professional look in no time and make substantial savings on the way. However, first things must come first. You need to be systematic and have excellent prep work. Allow us to show you how to use your automotive HVLP spray gun to paint your car like a real pro.

Here´s what you´ll need:

  • 1200 and 200 grit
  • Wet sandpaper
  • Dry Sandpaper
  • Electric sander (air-powered will work too)
  • Masking Tape
  • Newspapers
  • Air Compressor
  • HVLP Spray Gun
  • Buffer
  • Paint Thinners
  • Face Masks
  • Safety Glasses
  • Undercoat
  • Topcoat Acrylic
  • Enamel Paint
  • Clear-coat lacquer
  • Dust extractor (optional)

Tip # 1: How Much Paint to Use

It is paramount that you know how much paint, topcoat, and primer you will need to re-paint your car. We don´t want to be in the middle of painting and suddenly be left without paint to continue, do we? So, for a medium size car, you will need one gallon of base coat approx., around two or three gallons clear coat and two gallons of topcoat. For a larger car just add half a gallon to the all the paint and primer. Some might say this is a bit too much but, relax. You are not a professional with a car paint sprayer ready to go after all, and you will probably need to try the gun and sprayer with the paint first, make a few corrections, and it is likely to be a waste of paint and primer in the beginning. Makes any sense? Ok, if you want to preserve the color of your car, not change it, you have to give the color code to an auto paint shop (on your vehicle´s compliance plate,) they are experts and will match the color perfectly.

Tip # 2: Prepare Everything

There is one part of preparation that many people hate; that is removing dust. Remember safety comes first so, it is time to put on your mask, safety glasses and remove all the dust. You must clean all the dust in the area, the best way to do it is by hosing down the zone where you are going to paint and wash your car to clean any dirt, grease or grime.

Tip # 3: Stripping and Priming your ride

If you want your vehicle to look spectacular, you must start sanding away with circular motions. These instructions are critical, if these procedures are done correctly, then your project will be perfect from start to finish. Take into account that sanding the car to the metal will give it the ultimate finish but, it is a long process, which might take you up to two hours. So, if you just want to give your car a smooth finish you can get it using both the wet and dry sandpaper only, and then, sanding the car to the metal is not a must. To remove the rest of the dust use the thinners and clean up with the rag. Up to this point, just wait a bit for the thinner to evaporate and then continue.

Now, start masking the areas you do not want to paint. Mix the primer with thinners with recommended proportions. Practice your car paint sprayer technique before you can actually start painting. You can use different sprayers for practicing and then choose which one is best for you. Practice your technique as many times as necessary on a used car part in this way: Hold the HVLP automotive spray gun 6 inches away from the used car part and make constant movements from side to side. Be careful though, do not hold the trigger of the gun continuously, and hold it only when you spray, or you will leave thicker spots of paint when you change directions.

After finishing your practice, apply the primer on the car in thin coats, you must wait for the coat to dry before applying the second coat. The approximate waiting time is 10 minutes per panel and about 20 minutes or an hour for recoating the primer coat.

When you are done with the primer, give the surface of the vehicle a smooth finish with the 1200 and 200 grit. Clean with thinner and the rag but, don´t use too much of the product or the primer will strip back.

Tip # 4: It´s Time for a Little Painting

Just as you did with the primer, mix the paint with the thinner using the recommended proportions. Again use the same spraying techniques to apply the topcoat paint, the paint will take the same approximate time to dry off as with the primer. You must apply three or four coats of paint and on the last coat remove any residue with the use of the sandpaper and finally wipe down with a rag. Repeat these last two steps with the clear-coat lacquer.

The next step is vital in this part of the process and should be done very carefully, remove the masking tape of the clear coat while it is wet. Only do this while the paint is still wet. Then, check for imperfections. If you happen to see any flaws on the surface, use the sandpaper to make it smooth again and spray once more.

That´s all there is to it, all you need to is practice, be patient and be persistent. In time, you will see that a DIY paint car project is doable, and, most of all, very satisfactory. Your car will be as good as painted in a professional shop and without having to spend much money.