Hiring a professional auto painter
Painting your vehicle may be too much for you to do on your own. In this case, you may choose to use an experienced professional automobile painter instead. Whenever choosing a professional, you should check his or her qualifications and make sure that that person is qualified or licensed for automobile painting according to the requirements of your state.
Before selecting a professional painter, compare multiple painters, check Angie's List for service reviews and visit their shop to ensure you are getting the best professional painter for a reasonable rate. Once you've narrowed down your list, be sure to get three detailed estimates.
Reasons to repaint a car
Repainting a vehicle can provide many benefits, but what are the main reasons to repaint a car?
Prevent rust. When cars get old, rust starts forming, especially in climates where roads are salted for winter snow and ice. Rust can cause the value of your car to decrease rapidly. Painting can help prevent rust from forming on your car by adding an extra level of protection from the elements that cause rust to occur.
Promote personal flair and aesthetics. You can show off your personality with a customized paint job. There are many ways to personalize your vehicle's paint, including custom decals, murals and two-tone paint.
Paint damage. Faded, cracked, peeling, scratched or chipped is another reason to paint your car. The following list describes eight factors that can cause paint damage:
Fire damage can cause paint to buckle or peel.
Hail damage can cause chips and dings.
Tree sap erosion acts as glue. If left for too long, the tree sap can eat away at the paint. In addition, it can cause paint to become speckled.
Stains from spilling gasoline at the pump can cause paint to fade or dissolve if left for too long on the vehicle.
Fingerprints and writing on the vehicle with your fingers can also cause scratches and other paint issues.
The acidity from coffee and soda spills left on the vehicle can eat away at the paint and cause paint damage.
Dirt can also cause paint to scratch, fade or speckle if not removed on a regular basis.
Bird feces and bugs can also cause paint to fade or dissolve due to the acidity in the material.
New or replaced parts in a different color. After an accident or other issue, your vehicle may need a new part. Many auto body shops will contact a salvage yard to get a replacement part, which typically will be a different color than the rest of your vehicle. You may choose to repaint your entire vehicle so that the paint is even, rather than painting only the new part.
Car painting options
Auto paint comes in many forms and styles. Here are the types of paint available:
Metallic paint can add a unique effect to your vehicle that can increase its value. The only downfall to this type of paint is that it can be difficult to match if you need to fill a scratch or paint a new part.
Acrylic paint is easy to apply and adds a glossy look to your vehicle. There are three types of acrylic paint:
Lacquer-based paint is inexpensive and easy for the inexperienced painter to apply. This type of paint chips easily and fades over time reacting to UV light and other chemicals.
Enamel paint creates a hard shell that is less resistant to chipping than lacquer-based paint. This type of paint is not easy to apply.
Urethane paint can be used over the top of almost all other paint types without reacting with the former paint. This type of paint is highly toxic and requires the painter to wear a face mask.
Water-based paint is a nontoxic paint that is relatively new to the auto industry. Currently, limited colors are mainly used for adding graphics to vehicles. These water-based paints are easy to apply although a protective acrylic coat is sometimes required to seal the paint on the vehicle.
Wraps is an alternative option to painting if you want to personalize your car without affecting the car's resale value. They're also used for commercial purposes. Wraps are temporary and can be removed prior to selling the vehicle.
The car painting process
Here's what's involved in painting your vehicle:
1. Empty the vehicle. Your car will need to be completely empty prior to beginning the paint job. This includes removing the engine, radiator, seats, dash, console and trim. If you are having the car professionally painted, the professional will remove everything necessary for your paint job.
2. Prepare the car. The first step to preparing the vehicle is to wash the car. Dings and divots will require smoothing and sealing. Wax and prior paint will need to be stripped and the vehicle will need to be sanded and primed prior to painting. You may need two to three coats of primer prior to painting the car so that the old paint doesn't bleed through the new paint job.
3. Paint the car. Using the type of paint you selected, start painting your car. You'll need to wait after painting to make sure that the vehicle is fully dry. Make sure to protect the car against dust and other substances that can get stuck in the wet paint.
4. Sand and buff. You'll need to sand and buff the finished coat of paint to make it smooth.
5. Seal the paint job. Finally, you'll need to apply a clear sealant after washing the residue left from the buffing process.