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There's nothing quite like the feeling of applying a new layer of paint to a car; especially an old one. The feeling that you're restoring a vehicle to its former glory is quite invigorating! However, one of the things you should realize you can not do is simply slap some paint on a car and expect it to look great. No, like all good things in life, painting a car takes time. As such, there is quite a bit of prep work you have to do before you can begin applying auto paint. Luckily, you have this handy dandy guide at your fingertips that will explain to you what exactly this prep work entails.
Find A Suitable Work Space
This is the first essential you need to get out of the way. You will need an area with good ventilation, suitable lighting, electricity, a lack of dust, and plenty of space for which you can use to work around the vehicle. It also pays to find an area you are comfortable with and which you might be familiar.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to preparing their car for a paint job is using a residential garage. The presence of heaters and furnaces is an extreme fire hazard – especially because of the paint fumes – and should be avoided at all costs.
Gather any tools you deem necessary for this job. Among them, you should count the painting equipment, safety equipment and sanding and polishing tools. Make sure all of your tools are readily available to you during your work session.
Remove Rust and Repair Dents
It is important you remove any rust and repair any dents you do not want to be visible after this paint job. Rust should be removed by being sanded and buffed out, while dents, depending on their severity, can either be hammered out or taken to a professional for a full repair job.
Remove Chrome and Plastic Trim
Although not all chrome and plastic trim can be removed, a great deal of it can, and a great deal of it easily can be removed. Remove the stuff that can be easily removed. If you can't get everything off, don't worry, not everything was designed to be removed.
This is the meat and potatoes of the surface preparation process. It is absolutely integral you perform a great sanding job. The frame of your car should be sanded down to its bare metal or, at the very least, its original coat of primer. If this proves to be an impossibility, just sand it down to the best of your ability and make sure the coat of paint you apply will adhere to this surface.
In order to test this, take a bit of the paint you're going to use and simply apply it to the surface of the vehicle. If it doesn't stick, you will know this right away. The paint will slide off and you will have to sand that portion back down again. Don't worry, that process is relatively painless and doesn't take more than a few minutes.
Cleaning and Taping Off
Before you apply the final layer of paint, there are two small final steps that you should do. First, give the car one last quick clean down. Then, using masking or painting tape, tape off the areas of your car you do not want to be covered by paint.
Prepping your car for a new paint job is a relatively painless task. It just requires a bit of knowledge and elbow grease! If you don't feel comfortable painting your car on your own, you can take it to a local auto body shop to have the job done for you.