Aerosol automotive paint is an inexpensive way to paint a car. While it’s always a good idea to seek professional help when getting a fresh coat of paint for your vehicle, it’s not always possible to find a body shop near where you live, or perhaps you’ve got access to tons of aerosol auto paint and you want to try it out? Whatever your reasons for taking on this project, there are a few things you can do to get the job done flawlessly on your own.
Ample preparation is the key to a smooth finish. Preparing the vehicle to receive its new hue goes a long way towards determining how the end result will look. The first step is to peel off the existing paint coat by rubbing down the metal surfaces of the area you are painting using 600-grit sandpaper. Scuff the sandpaper over the surface until you see the paint flaking away. You need to make sure that the majority of paint, as well as any rust on the car, has been thoroughly sanded off. This may seem like a tedious job but will make the end result better.
Next up, repair any holes that may have been left in the metal at the time of removing rust. Fill the hole with putty until it is completely covered and remove any excess with the help of a flat knife edge. Once the putty has dried up, smooth it out with 1200-grit sandpaper. Clean the area that is to be painted over to remove any dirt or dust. Wipe off any lingering wax or grime with a cellulose thinner.
If you are painting only a small section of your vehicle, be sure to use masking tape to mask everything off that you don’t want aerosol car paint on. You can tape large pieces of paper overexposed areas, such as windows and windshield, to protect them from the aerosol car spray paint. Additionally, be sure to cover non-metallic areas, such as window frames, side mirrors, wheel rims, and car bumpers. Also, be careful to cover the area under your car so as not to get any paint on the floor.
Before you start priming, choose a well-ventilated and sheltered location to use the aerosol car spray paint. Aerosol auto paint works best in warm, dry, and sheltered conditions, so it would be more prudent to paint the car in a well-sheltered garage. Humidity makes it difficult for the paint to dry up, so avoid it at all costs. Additionally, wear a dust mask and safety goggles to prevent yourself from dust and paint fumes.
To apply the primer, you need to shake the can really well for a couple of minutes, and make sure it is at room temperature. Standing at a distance of approximately 10 inches away, apply the primer to the car. Spray primer over the entire surface that is to be painted in a back and forth manner. Leave to dry for 5 to 10 minutes and then repeat. Move at a consistent pace to achieve an even coat. Ideally, you need to apply 3 coats, waiting 15 minutes in between. Instead of applying a single thick layer of primer, it is best to apply multiple thin, even layers, to avoid the paint from dripping. Allow the area to dry for at least 24 hours after the last primer coat before applying the aerosol car paint.
When you’re finished, the primer will have a powdery finish, which is why you need to wet 1200-grit sandpaper and rub it over the area to smooth out the primer coat. Clean the area with warm, soapy water, and make sure to remove any dust. Rinse the car thoroughly and leave to dry completely.
Now, you’re finally ready to paint. Before you start, shake the paint vigorously for at least 3 minutes since the pigments in the paint separate over time. You will know when the paint is ready when the mixing ball inside the can begins to rattle easier while you are shaking the can. The key to a perfect aerosol car paint match is to test the paint on a piece of cardboard before applying directly to the car. Check the card to make sure that the paint has sprayed evenly and is the exact color that you were looking for. If the color seems patchy, shake the can again. A test spray also gives you an idea of how much pressure to exert on the spray button.
Now, the method of application of aerosol automotive paint is identical to priming; you want to build up layers rather than apply one thick heavy layer. When spraying the paint, hold the can 25 centimeters away from the car, parallel to the surface you are about to paint. Keeping a consistent pressure on the spray nozzle, spray the paint over the car in an even, back and forth motion. Continue spraying until the area has a light even coat. Move your arms at a consistent speed to ensure a smooth, even coat. As with a primer, you need about two coats of paint, 10 minutes apart.
Make sure to apply the next coat when the last one is sticky to make it easier for the paint to blend into the previous coat. Keep your paint can nozzles clean between each application by pulling them off and soaking them in lacquer thinner. Depending on the quality of paint and application, you may need more than two coats to achieve a smooth look. Before you apply your last coat of paint, remove any powdery residue with 2000-grit sandpaper and wipe down with a clean rag. Lastly, apply a layer of clear paint 30 minutes after the paint layer has dried up. Leave this coat to dry for 24 hours before using the car.
If you still find imperfections is your handiwork, sand back the affected area with 2000-grit wet-and-dry sandpaper and respray.