Use this guide to help you re-paint parts of your car, or your entire car. This guide covers arguably the hardest method — rolling on the paint with a roller. You can also use cans of spray paint ("rattle canning" the car), but the best results will come from an air-powered sprayer — but also at the highest cost.

Generally speaking, a car's paint job consists of a base layer (the colorful part), and a clear coat layer on top of the base. If you were to spray paint the with an air-powered sprayer, that would be the method to pursue. However, since this guide shows how to roll on the paint, we'll be using a glossy Rustoleum Enamel paint that will serve as both base and clear coat. You'll have to roll on several thin coats of paint, but it will still technically be a "single coat" paint job.

Always work in a well ventilated area and remember to use proper safety gear when prepping the car for paint and when painting, especially respiratory safety gear. This is bound to be a long and involved project, so work slowly and carefully to have the best possible paint job possible. Also take a couple of pictures of the car before starting the job, so you can remember how terrible everything looked like prior to your new paint job :)

  1. Use the proper safety gear when sanding. Full length clothing, a painter's mask and eye protection should be worn to prevent irritation or injury.
    • Use the proper safety gear when sanding. Full length clothing, a painter's mask and eye protection should be worn to prevent irritation or injury.

    • Remove all the headlights and tail lights so that the paint matches on the edges of the body. Cover any holes that you don't want to become dusty and painted.

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  2. Use a power sander with a low-grit sand paper to strip the old paint off the surface of your vehicle. Use a sanding block or just the sand paper to reach small or hard-to-get places.
    • Use a power sander with a low-grit sand paper to strip the old paint off the surface of your vehicle. Use a sanding block or just the sand paper to reach small or hard-to-get places.

      • Make the first pass with at least 100 grit, possibly even as low as 40 grit sandpaper. Coarser grits will remove the paint efficiently, but leave a very rough finish.

      • Make a second pass with finer sandpaper (200 grit), to reduce the scratches and smooth out the body.

      • Repeat the procedure with 400, 800, and 1500 grit sandpaper to make the car's surface super-smooth. Spend a good amount of time with each grit, as it will be much harder to remove the deep scratches down the line.

    • Wipe off the sanding dust occasionally to help speed the sanding process.

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    • Once you have stripped the paint off all the parts that you wish to paint, rinse them with water and wipe them down with a clean lint-free cloth so the paint will stick.

    • Cover all parts of the car that you don't want to be painted using masking tape and/or double sided tape with drop cloth. This includes lights, windows, mirrors, grills, tires, the ground/any close-by surfaces, etc.

    I would agree, when it comes to car paint please use a spray gun. Also make sure you are using automobile paint and have the right amount of paint thinner or it will be to thick and will either a) clog up your paint gun or b) will end up looking bumpy. Also do light thin coats. Play with the pressure valves and the amount of liquid that is feed into the gun. Also test first on some cardboard so you can figure out how fast to go and how much pressure to use.

    wesscripps - Contestar

    • Make a mixture of 50% Rustoleum paint, and 50% mineral spirits. The paint will be very, very thin.

      • If you over-apply the paint, it will run down the sides! Over-applying the paint will negate all the hard work you put into prepping the car for painting. If it happens, use a rag doused with pure mineral spirits to wipe off the runs.

    • Apply several thin coats of paint onto the car. Wait approximately 30 minutes between each coat to allow the paint to partially dry.

      • You will probably have to apply at least five thin coats of paint before the body (especially the Bondo areas) are no longer visible. Don't rush, and don't over-apply the paint.

    What type of roller did you use?

    Chealsea Colwell - Contestar

    • After the paint has fully dried, inspect it for cracks, runny spots, or any imperfections.

    • Smooth out any imperfections by wet sanding with water and 1500 grit sand paper.

    With the imperfections, after wet sanding with 1500 grit sand paper, did you then repaint the sanded surface?

    chris not Einstein - Contestar

    Awesome preview. I brought my paint and rollers. Will start tomorrow or next day. Thanks

    Carl Mertz - Contestar


To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

20 personas más completaron esta guía.

WOW I can't believe you rolled it after you did all that work to sand and mask off everything. How did it come out? You must have done a lot of 600 to smooth it all out. Do yourself a favor, go to Harbor Freight, get a spray gun and compressor. People Please don't use a brush!!! roller is much better but will leave bumps.

JonnyGood - Contestar

If memory serves, the optimum pressure for a spray gun is about 25 psi and the optimum distance is a foot (300mm) and when doing so, you need to DIRECT spray the panel, which isn't necessarily easy with all the angles etc. For the top coat, I found using a wide fan spray to be best, which resulted in the least number of imperfections, but you need to remember, your local environment WILL affect it, a dust free spray room is obviously the best, but thats not always available

gaisasanktejo - Contestar

I might try this if I ever buy a cheap beater just to test it lol

Michael Kimmel - Contestar

YOU are Awesome.This Article is really awesome.the way of explanation is great.I am also working on similar website,I would be vary thankful to you if you likes to visit my website as well.Here is the link of my website.

car how - Contestar

I did it! I followed a combination of different guides and recommendations. Totally worth it!

Tessa - Contestar

I don't have access to a enclosed garage or room for my car. When I try to spray paint in the open, the wind carries it away giving me hardly any control. Therefore as an alternative I had no choice but to try your method. I had to do quite a bit of wet sanding to get rid of the orange peel but at the end result it looked great considering it was done by a roller. A great alternative when you just can't use a spray gun. Thank you !

Tom Alen - Contestar

Did u forgot to mention primer?

rico umali - Contestar

You also forgot that after sanding to clean car with comet and a red scuff pad. Rinse well the use an air hose to get any dirt off. Then tape it up, primer and try to get out of the open to paint.

Rule of thumb for any paint job … 1/3 of dirt comes from you 1/3 from the garage 1/3 from the car.

I would have put 1 or 2 coats of color on then a couple of coats of clear

skonrad1965 - Contestar

I wouldn’t recommend this method, I would only paint a car with the proper equipment such as this spray gun that is cheap and will make the job much faster and it will look much better. If you are worried about trying to use this kind of equipment, it is actually very easy to use and you can get far better results than rolling the paint on. You can find a lot of good instruction videos about how to do this properly and easily, as well as a lot of videos to help you solve many common issues here:

O'Brennan - Contestar

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