How Do I Paint My Car With An Aerosol Spray?

There are two things that are important to remember when you are painting – preparation and patience. When selecting paint you want to be looking at a good quality product. The 2 for a £1.00 might be tempting, but you may have to use substantially more to achieve the finish you require. You will do better to go for the more expensive and better quality products with well-established track records. Paint is generally not something that can be bought cheaply, it is the apperance of your car and therefore should be done correctly.

Preparation: The importance of proper preparation cannot be over emphasised. This part of the operation is usually not taken very seriously, yet, in reality is critical to the quality of the end result. Following most label instructions involves one or more of the following cleaning steps.

Stripping The Existing Coating

1- Remove the old paint coating with: a good quality paint stripper – Frost highly recommends POR Strip, strip and clean discs/cathodes like Stripping Cathodes, and Stainless Steel Wire Wheel.
2- Remove any corrosion using a good quality rust remover like Eastwood Rust Dissolver or POR-15 Metal Ready. (if you are unsure on thi step, you can view our Removing, Treating and Preventing Rust article)
3- Thoroughly clean the area using pre painting prep solution like PRE Painting Prep.

Painting Over An Existing Coating

If the previous coating cannot be easily removed, clean a small area and apply the new finish over the old. Check to see if any undesirable or unfavourable reaction has taken place. If you are happy with the test results, make sure the old paint is solid and free of dirt, silicone and oil. Next, scuff the surface using sandpaper (Frost recommends Scuff Pads) This will allow the new paint to get a good key and take to the old paint. if you are painting a small section of your vehicle, be sure to use masking tape to mask everything off that you would not like to be covered. Ensure it is masked really well using and paper for larger areas. Paint can travel a long way so cover up more than you think is necessary.

Preparing To Spray & Spraying

Be sure you are working in a well-ventilated area. It is generally best to apply aerosols at a room temperature of around 20-30°C. The optimum humidity level to apply is below 50%. Painting in higher humidity can cause the paint to “blush”, a condition caused when moisture in the air condenses on the paint as it is drying.

1- Ensure that the surface you are preparing to paint is clean from any dirt or grit. Clean the surface appropriately such as with soap and water. Then ensure that the surface is dry before applying any paint. It is very important that the surface is clean and dry as any dirt on the surface may cause the paint not to be applied evenly/ correctly.

2- Shake the aerosol thoroughly, usually, one to two minutes of vigorous shaking is required to get the contents mixed and thinned enough for applying. 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.

3- Test spray. Should the cans spray nozzle be clogged, do not use a pin or a needle to unclog the nozzle, this could cause damage and ruin the spray action. What can be done to solve this problem is to carefully remove the nozzle from the aerosol can, and soak it in cellulose thinners (This will restore the spray head to its original condition). Replace nozzle using a twisting motion to avoid damage to the sealing o-ring. Proceed to test the aerosol on a scrap piece of wood or material. This is important as there may be small amounts of grit built up in the nozzle that would give an uneven finish. Continue once you are confident you will get an even spray.

4- When spraying you must ensure that you spray with your can in an upright position, and spray with the nozzle pointing towards your work. You should always maintain a proper distance between the nozzle and the item being coated. This distance is normally 8” to 12”. Move from left to right in short burts, gradually applying the paint. This will allow you to achieve an even coat throughout the surface without any build up. Frost cannot stress this enough. Many people assume that you should get close to the material you are painting and keep a continuous spray. This will only cause a build up of paint which will dry unevenly and look messy. Patience is very much necessary whilst painting to achieve the best results.

5- Depending on the surface of the material you are painting, a few coats may be required. This can be judged by yourself. wait at least an hour between coats.

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