How to respray your car

Man with protective clothes and mask painting automobile car bumper in repair shop.

There are many reasons why you might want to respray your car. Minor dings and scratches that accumulate over time can impact the paintwork. A car respray is the easiest way to get back to a vehicle in pristine condition.

Whatever your reason, you should know that you’ll need a lot more equipment and preparation when you respray your car than for painting a wall in your house.

Paints to respray your car

In addition to the different shades available, there are also various finishes for car paints. To match your car’s current colour, a quick search online with the model, year, and colour will provide you with a list of matches to respray your car.

Solid paint

This is the finish on most cars. Standard options are white, blue, black, and red. This paint is usually added as a single coat with a lacquer layer for protection.

Metallic paint

This is solid paint with a small amount of metallic powder added. It doesn’t cost much more than solid paint. However, it needs multiple layers applied.

Pearlescent paint

Unlike metallic paint, this paint contains ceramic crystals or mica to give the finish a sparkle or shimmering refracted appearance.

Matte finishes

Matte finishes are less common than other finishes and are often used for high-end cars. However, it is a costly finish that is difficult to maintain, particularly if you get a chip in the paintwork.

Preparations to respray your car

When it comes to respraying your car, proper preparation will take up two-thirds of the process time. Now that you know what type of paint you want to use, you can follow these steps.

First, you need to focus on some safety issues. Spray paint and professional spray equipment involve releases toxic substances into the air. Ensure you have the correct protective gear, including a mask and goggles. In addition, check that the area you are painting in has good ventilation.

Preparing your car

A large part of the work you are going to do for a respray is preparation. So it is crucial to get this right.

  • Deal with any defects, bumps, dents, and chips before prepping the surface for painting. Even the slightest imperfection can be shown after a single layer of paint.
  • If you are respraying your car completely whole vehicle, split it into sections.
  • If you are not stripping down the paint completely, wash the area with a good car cleaning solution that does not contain wax. Any dust, wax or other surface material will affect how the paint adheres and the final finish.
  • Methods that can be used to prepare the surface of your car include:
    • Cutting relies on an abrasive substance to remove thin layers of paint.
    • Sanding is the quickest way to remove the top layer of paint on your car and is best done with a good sander rather than by hand. If you are sanding a whole car down to the metal and respraying from scratch, ensure you have enough time. Each panel will take at least a couple of hours so pace yourself.


Take special care to mask the parts of your car that you don’t want the paint to go over. If you are respraying a small area, you only need to cover everything likely to be touched by paint. When you respray your car entirely, you will need to adequately protect the windows, door handles, headlights, etc.


If you remove the paint down to the metal, you will need to add a primer before starting with the full respray. A primer seals the surface and creates a protective barrier. A couple of coats are necessary to ensure the area is adequately covered.


This can be the most daunting part of the job. For small areas, practice your technique beforehand. If you are painting the entire car, consider it as a whole rather than a selection of panels. Leave at least an hour for drying between each coat of paint.

Applying lacquer

For many paints, you need to apply a final lacquer coat through a couple of thin layers. You need to leave this for a couple of days before you do a final quality wax.

Contact AHK Motor Spares for detail

When planning to respray your car, visit AHK Motor Spares. We offer everything from base coat paints, beading and spray filler at competitive prices. Get in touch with our team today for everything you need.

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