How Many Cans Of Spray Paint To Paint A Car?

There are many things to think about when spray painting a car.

The first thing you need to do is make sure the surface you are painting is clean and dry. If it’s not, the paint will not adhere to the surface properly, and it will chip and peel off very quickly. You also need to choose the right type of spray paint for the job. There are various types of spray paint available, so you need to make sure you get the right kind for your project. Moreover, necessary tools are very important to complete the job.

This post will discuss some information about spray painting a car, such as how to spray paint a car yourself, how many cans of spray paint to paint a car, how long spray paint lasts, and how much it costs to spray paint at home. At last, you can answer if spray painting a car is a good idea or not.

Is Spray Painting A Car A Good Idea?

Yes, spray paint is a convenient and effective way to paint a car that any DIYer can do. But not any spray paint type. If you were to use house paint, it would prove disastrous to your vehicle. So, you will need automotive spray paints because they contain a binder to bring together the color pigment. In addition, it uses a thinner that levels the consistency.

Pros and Cons of Spray Paint

Pros

  • Quick and easy to apply
  • Available in a wide range of colors
  • Dries much faster
  • Less expensive than traditional automotive paint
  • Easy to clean up after painting

Cons

  • May require more frequent reapplication
  • Not as durable as traditional automotive paint

How Many Cans Of Spray Paint To Paint A Car?

Spray paint is not created equal. Some companies have thin consistencies while others are thick. The lighter the paint, the more cans you will need. Then, deciding the number of coats for a fresh look is essential.

Usually, you’ll need about 20 cans to apply three coats of fresh paint. The bumper can take as many as four cans, plus you’ll need more cans for the primer and clear coat.

This amount of spray paint is not exact for all vehicles. It’s essential to know your car make, model, paint color, and year before estimating how many cans of spray paint you want to purchase.

See also: How Many Clear Coats On Car?

How Much Does It Cost to Spray Paint a Car?

The important note is you shouldn’t skimp on the amount of paint you need to get protective layers for your car. Because these layers will help the paint adheres to the surface and will be durable.

One more note, standard spray paint will not do a good job. Any results it yields will be short-term, plus you may start to deal with flakiness that can lead to exposed metal and, finally, rust. So a high-quality automotive spray paint is recommended, it costs roughly $10 – $20 for one can. 

Based on my experience, the best spray paint brands for cars are Rust-Oleum and Dupli-Color. Both of these brands offer a wide variety of colors to find the perfect color for your project, whether it’s a small touch-up job or a complete repaint. Second, both of these brands offer high-quality, long-lasting products. And finally, both of these brands provide excellent customer service and support, so you can be sure that you’re getting the best possible value for your money.

Cost estimate:

  • Four cans of primer spray paint and 2-3 cans of clear coat. In total, you’ll spend around $250 on spray paint. 
  • A paint masker, film, masking tape, safety glasses, mask, and drop cloth. These items will cost roughly $300. 
  • Tools to sand the car down to bare metal to its original primer if you need the paint to adhere and prevent peeling. The vehicle may need dent repair and other automotive touchups. They include sandpapers, an air compressor, an orbital sander, solvents, and body fillers. These items may cost $300 or more.

In total, it costs approximately $900(at least) to spray paint a vehicle at home.

How To Spray Paint A Car

1. Prepare all tools needed and a suitable location for this DIY project

The place needs to be well-ventilated and provide ample working space for moving around the vehicle. This room also has to have minimal dust with access to electricity.

First of all, protective items are also important. They include:

Tools include:

2. Sand The Car Paint

Sand a car paint
Credit: https://carfromjapan.com/

Please make sure you wear glasses and a mask during the whole process. Sand the paint to original primer or bare metal. You’ll need to sand it down to a surface that allows the paint to adhere. Use circular motions to achieve the perfect level of sanding. The best results come from sanding the paint to bare metal.

Use 180-grit sandpaper to dry sand and remove surface damage or rust. Then, use 320-grit sandpaper to remove the scratches from the 180-grit sandpaper. Follow this sanding with a 400-600 grit to get the paint surface ready.

Buy grit sandpaper and circular motion below.

BLACK+DECKER Random Orbit Sander

BLACK+DECKER Random Orbit Sander

Dura-Gold Premium 180 Grit Gold PSA Longboard Sandpaper


Dura-Gold 180 Grit Sandpaper 

3. Dent Repair

Car dent repair
Credit: https://shop.advanceautoparts.com/

Apply body filler to the small patches and dents that need repairing. You’ll need to use a filler along with a hardener. However, do not aerate or whip the mixture. If you do this, it will introduce bubbles. Now, wait for the mixture to harden and sand it until smooth.

Buy body filler below:

Bondo Glazing and Spot Putty Filler

Bondo Glazing and Spot Putty Filler

4. Clean all Surfaces

Clean car's surface
Cleaning will remove oil residue and get the car ready for painting

Now, use denatured alcohol or mineral spirit and a rag to wipe down all the surfaces. This process removes oil residue and gets the car ready for painting.

5. Tape surfaces

Using masking film to cover car paint surfaces
Credit: https://www.q1tapes.com/

Use the masking film and masking tape to cover all the areas that don’t need to be painted. These include the window trim, door handles, mirrors, grills, etc.

Buy masking film and masking tape below:

3M Hand-Masker Advanced Masking Film

3M Hand-Masker Advanced Masking Film

3M Automotive Refinish Masking Tape


3M Automotive Refinish Masking Tape

6. Apply Primer

Apply two-three coats of corrosion-resistant primer. Allow 15 minutes between each layer for drying. Then, allow the primer to cure according to the instructions on the primer. Once the primer is cured (it can take up to 24 hours), you’ll need to sand the primer with a wet 1200-grit sandpaper until the surface is smooth.

Finally, wipe the car with a microfiber dipped in thinner.

Buy Primer below:

Rust-Oleum, Gray, GrayRust-Oleum 249279 Automotive Filler Primer Spray Paint.

Rust-Oleum Automotive Primer Spray Paint

7. Apply Paint

It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on using the brand’s spray paint.

Shake the can gently for at least three minutes to build pressure in the can. Then hold the can six inches away from the car. Use wide side-to-side motions to apply thin, even coats. It will be a few hours before you cover the car evenly with two coats of paint.

Wait for the directed drying time. Now, you’ll need to sand all the surfaces before applying the last coat.

Buy best spray paints for cars below:

Rust-Oleum Available 252462 Automotive

Rust-Oleum Available 252462 Automotive Spray Paint

Dupli-Color Chrome Aluminum Premium Acrylic Enamel Spray Paint

Dupli-Color Enamel Spray Paint

8. Apply Clear Coat

Apply the lacquer coat after the paint has dried completely. Then, remove the masking tape while the clear coat is still wet. Next, allow the clear coat to dry by waiting for the directed time.

Buy clear coat below:

Dupli-Color BCL0125 Clear Exact-Match Automotive Top Coat

Dupli-Color BCL0125 Clear Exact-Match Automotive Top Coat

POR-15 Chassis Black Top Coat Spray Paint

POR-15 Chassis Black Top Coat Spray Paint

See also:How Many Coats of Clear Coats on a Car?

9. Buff the Painted Surface

Use circular motions to buff all the painted surfaces. After which, use a rubbing compound to achieve a glossy finish.

Buff a car
Credit:https://www.goldeagle.com/

Buy a rubbing compound below:

3D One Car Scratch Remover Rubbing Compound


3D One Car Rubbing Compound

How Long Will It Take to Spray Paint a Car?

Preparing the car for painting takes the longest. Sanding, detaching removable parts, repairing dents, and priming the surface takes 3-4 days. 

Painting takes the shortest time. However, different layers will have different times to dry. For example, the primer takes up to 12 hours using an oil-based primer. This will depend on the room temperature, type, and room humidity. On average, you should wait 3-4 hours to apply the color coat if you’re not using an oil-based primer. 

The color coats take 30 mins or up to 24 hours to dry, depending on the type of spray paint. You’ll need to perform a few touchups before applying the clear coat. 

An entire spray paint job can take a few days to two weeks.

How Long Does Spray Paint Last On A Car?

Car spray paint needs proper care and maintenance to last long. So waxing the car regularly is necessary to protect the paint from UV and adverse weather. With good care and maintenance, spray paint can last up to 10-15 years.

Final Thought

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to change the color of your car, spraying it is likely going to be the best option.

However, if you want a more professional look or plan to keep your car for an extended period, you may want to consider other options.

So, are you going to paint your car yourself? Buy spray paints now to get started your DIY projects.

You may concern: Is Acetone Safe on Car Paint?

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