- Car Care & Maintenance
Is Painting Your Car a Do It Yourself Project?
Technology makes it not such a good idea
Back in the day of street rods and oil-based machinery paints, a lot of people used to paint cars at home but the results weren't that good then. The automotive paint finish has advanced a lot since those days. You don't see old blue cars turning purple with oxidization and reds fading to a sort of orange and finishes becoming matte instead of glossy.
When acrylic lacquers and clear-coats hit the market, the result was a much better finish for the car but the do-it-yourself market just went away because who has a paint booth, ventilation system and airless spray equipment available in your backyard. This stuff in itself tells you why it is cost prohibitive to tackle this as a hobby.
Painting a car requires a lot of labour to get a smooth finish. Most people won't sand between coats when painting their house so it is unlikely that they will take the necessary time and care to ensure a quality and lasting paint job.
My advice would be to look at finding a reputable paint shop to do the job. You will have some recourse if the job isn't satisfactory unlike your only choice is to keep sanding and applying another coat in your own project. The amount of time in masking and other preparation doesn't make this job a lot of fun.
My last exposure to what approximates the do-it-yourself type painting project was in the forklift business where we repainted used forklifts. The problem was that in order to get a factory like finish, the labor costs were too high to make the sale profitable. Even more of a concern was the fact that the forklift would be scraped and scratched up in the first hour of use by the operator so a high quality automotive finish just wasn't practical. You also had little time for the paint to dry so we used fast-dry enamels which are cheaper and quick to set up. They make the product look good leaving the building but won't stand up over the years which is what you are looking for in repainting a car.
Save yourself a lot of aggravation and money and leave this task to the experts. Maybe you can find something you can actually repair on a car by yourself today as an alternative. The old hot rod days were remarkable. People actually built cars from the ground up in their garage. Accept the fact that some things just aren't the same anymore and find some other project to undertake. If you need some inspiration or an idea just ask your other half. They usually have lots of stuff to suggest on the "honey-do list".