How to Paint Spray a Car in 5 Steps (2021)

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Whether your ride is looking a little worse for wear or you have decided it needs a new look, painting your car is a quick way to give it a new appearance. To do this efficiently, you can paint spray your car with a spray gun. This helps you get the job done fast and professionally.

You may be wondering how to start. You may have questions like whether you should use spray paint or a paint sprayer. Well look no further, our team has done the research and outlined how to paint your car in 5 steps. So whether you are new to using a paint sprayer or you have years of experience, you may have something to learn from this article.

Before you start, you’ll need a couple things to ensure the project goes off without a hitch and doesn’t end up making your car look worse than before.

Man using paint sprayer for car
Men painting a car

What You Will Need to Paint Your Car

To be able to give your car a professional paint job, you will need a few things, including:


  • An air compressor
  • A paint sprayer
  • A face mask
  • A power sander
  • Clear coat lacquer
  • Cleaning solvent
  • Primer
  • Car Wax
  • Masking tape
  • Mineral spirits/ Denatured alcohol


  • Safety glasses
  • A rag
  • News paper (for minimizing mess)

5 Steps to paint your car

So you have all the required materials and you are ready to paint your car, exciting! To guarantee the best possible outcome, make sure you set aside enough time for this project. Painting your car cannot be done in a day; try to leave at least 3 days to ensure you have enough time to get the job is done correctly.

With that being said, let’s get started painting your car. We’ve outlined the steps below, we hope they help guide you as you learn how to paint spray a car.

Step #1 – Choose the right paint sprayer

  • They’re are many different types of paint sprayers including, airless paint sprayers, cheap paints sprayers, and HVLP paint sprayers, so choosing one can be tough at times. If you are looking for the ideal paint sprayer for painting a car, we suggest you check out the guides above. Ultimately, if your are looking for a fine finish, an HVLP paint sprayer is the way to go.

Step #2 – Prepare the car

  • To ensure you end up with a perfect finish and a long lasting paint job, make sure to clean the car thoroughly and remove imperfections. That means you will need buff out any dents, wash the car well, and repair any rust that may be starting to show. Once you have completed this prep work, remove the trim (it can be replaced on the car after you are done painting).

Step #3 – Prime the car


  • A professional paint job should not be done quickly, make sure to take your time when priming the surface of the car. That means you need to bust out the power sander and sand your entire vehicle. Use circular motions until you can start seeing bare metal, or at least until the glossy layer has been removed. Once that is done, you can clean the entire surface with the mineral spirits or denatured alcohol. This will remove any particles or oils that could hinder the paint from effectively adhering to the cars surface. If you feel like the car surface is ready for painting, start to block of any areas you don’t want to paint with the masking tape. We suggest starting with your keyholes, glass, door handles and mirrors.

Car Priming

  • Use your choice of primer and ensure the car is covered, this will help your paint coats stick properly and look professional.
  • Give the primer some time to cure properly – make sure to read the primers instructions to find the correct amount of time. Once the primer has fully cured , you should go back to the car and give it a light sanding.
  • Wash the cars surface and wipe it down with a rag. Get ready, your car can now be painted!

Step #4 – Paint the car

  • Get your paint paint ready and make sure to follow the instructions to ensure the paint is properly prepared. After you have prepared the paint, start your paint sprayer and ensure it is running correctly. Once you are ready to go – hold the paint sprayer approximately 6 – 7 inches away from the car and spray in a sweeping motion, making sure to evenly layer the paint as you work your way around the car. Try to apply thin coats. From our research, it is typically suggested to apply 4 coats, leaving time for each coat to dry before applying the next.

Step #5 – Finishing the car

  • You are almost there! You are done painting your car and you are wondering what’s next. For starters, apply your finishing coat, this should include some type of lacquer or clear coat. Once the clear coat has been applied and has had time to dry, remove the masking tape. The best time to do this is right before the clear coat is fully dry, the helps it come off clean. With the masking tape off, start buffing the surface. This will give your car that new car look! To achieve this finish, you can use a rubbing compound, the compound will help bring out the shine in the finish.


Thats it! We hope this article gave you a good overview so you have the confidence to go and paint your own car. Make sure to do your own research before starting anything and take the time to ensure you are painting the car properly. This guide should give you some insight along the way as to how to paint your car properly.

If you have any comments, drop them in the section below!



Ryan is a writer for He's been a hobbyist and painter for a long time, and now enjoys teaching others. His content primarly focuses on reviews and guides for painters and construction professionals.

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