DIY Car Painting Tips to Take Note of When Looking to Achieve a Mirror-Like Finish

As your car starts showing signs of fading and peeling like sun-burned skin, it’s a reminder that the need to repaint your vehicle is already long overdue. While you have done the repainting job before, doing it again makes you less confident because the results of your previous work was not as professional looking as you had hoped it would be. You can still give the DIY car painting idea a serious thought, since there are now numerous tips and guides coming from professionals, which DIYers like you can use as reference.

As Much as Possible, Avoid Painting Your Car During Winter

First off, you probably know by now that winter isn’t the best time for you to undertake a DIY car repainting project. The reason why super cold months are not the best times of the year is because even if the surface coating dries up within a 24-hour period, it takes about a month or so for the paint to fully harden and adhere to the cold metal material. Nonetheless, the paint will eventually dry, just not as quickly as it would take if the paint was applied during warmer weathers.

If it seems the pandemic has given you time to do a car repainting job, doing so during winter is still something you can undertake and at the same time achieve with best results. You just need to exert extra effort and apply a different approach.

Enclosing a Newly Painted Car in a Bubble When Painting During Cold Seasons

Since cold temperature affects not only the drying time but also the new paint itself, professional car painters recommend building a bubble to cover the area where the painting job will take place. Just make sure to use plastic sheetings supported by a framework of zip poles or scaffolding. Moreover, the bubble tent should be large enough to enclose the car but without allowing the plastic material to touch the painted surface.

However, the paint booth or bubble will only reduce a certain amount of temperature enveloping the car and will probably not achieve the drying time afforded by warmer temperatures. An added suggestion is to use a space heater as a way to raise the temperature inside the bubble up to at least 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. As safety precaution, you have to make sure that the area itself is properly ventilated, while the space heater is not left unattended.

Wet Sanding the Car Before Applying the Clear Coat

If your issue with your previous car painting job is that it failed to attain that mirror-like glossy shine the way professionally painted cars look, you probably did not wet sand the car. After dry sanding and before applying the clear coating finish, the best results can be achieved by wet sanding the surface first. Wet sanding after dry sanding will remove all visible scratches created by dry sanding, making the metal surface look really extra smooth.

Keep in mind though that there are special wet sanding papers for this kind of job, because when learning how to wet sand a car, the first step is to soak the paper in water and preferably overnight. Unlike dry sandpapers, the abrasive materials of wet sandpapers are attached to a film or cloth, to make the sanding material sturdier even when wet.

Now here’s the thing, most professional painters use an orbital sander designed for both dry and wet sanding. It’s the kind that comes with a 1” inch inlet and plastic tubing through which water can pass and flow to the special wet sanding disc while sanding the surface.

The great thing about using a random orbital sander is that it not only reduces the tediousness of the task. It also works in a way that allows the sanding disc to change direction when hitting uneven or hardened surface particles. Rather than work on a single direction, the random shift prevents the sanding process to pass repeatedly in the same spot, which prevents creating more or deepening existing scratches.