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Is Prepping Your Car for Painting a Good DIY Project?

This blog is certainly not intended to teach you everything you need to know to about how to paint your car, but hopefully it will give you a kick start. At Richard Karr Collision, we always like sharing helpful suggestions with you for our blog readers in Waco, TX, but we should always advise you to use a professional whenever you can. But, for people who like doing things themselves, here are some basic recommendations for you.

So, here are some directives on how to prepare your car for paint, with the idea of taking it to a professional painter once you're ready to do the actual painting.

When it comes to painting a car, the initial prep work is important and by doing it yourself, you can definitely save a ton of money. So first, make sure to remove as much of the trim as you possibly can that are adjacent to the areas that you'll be painting, including bumpers, mirrors, grilles and other assorted exterior items.

The next step is to methodically clean every inch of  the areas where you'll be painting. Start it with with a mild detergent, and follow it up with a good wax and grease remover and then apply a broad layer of tape to any regions of the car, such as the windshield molding if you haven't removed it yet.

 Now it's time to start that sanding process. Sand down the old tired paint at least down to the original paint level using a dual-action (DA) orbital air sander, which is much less likely to dig in like many other sanders on the market now. 

Generally, the concept is to use sandpaper finer (a higher number) than 120 grit, although you may need to use coarser grits for things like removing rust or excess fillers.

If you decide to do the masking work, you will need to know it is time-consuming and may require a certain skill level to do it properly. If you’re not painting the vehicle's trunk, engine compartment, etc., you should  take special care in masking off these areas from overspray. Using weather strip material or even weather strip tape can help you to seal the joints between body panels to prevent paint from seeping in between.

To achieve this, utilize a thin plastic tool such as a plastic knife or filler spreader to get masking tape under the edges of any remaining trim pieces such as surrounding the windshield or moldings around the windows.

Make certain that you also mask off the tires and wheel wells, and form an apron around the underside of the car to keep overspray off of these areas.

Sources: DIY News, AAA and USA Today

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