How Much Work Is Involved in Repainting a Vehicle?

If you have a mechanically sound vehicle that just needs a new coat of paint, you may wonder if you should repaint it on your own. How hard is it to spray-paint a vehicle like this and is it something that you should take on yourself?

Understanding the Challenge

As you will want your vehicle to look the part once you have finished the work, you need to understand how much time and effort is involved. You will certainly need the right tools and equipment, but you will also need the perfect environment. This type of project cannot be rushed, so the vehicle will be off the road for some time, and your location needs to be chosen carefully and in an area that will not be disturbed.

Preparing the Area

If you have a double garage, that may give you enough room all around the vehicle to do the work properly, but the space must be well ventilated and lit. You will need to clean it carefully to get rid of any dust, and ideally, the concrete surface should be sealed. Don't forget that you will need safety glasses and a face mask as you do not want to be breathing in those fumes.

What You Need

Before you get down to the work itself, consider the equipment. You will need:

  • an electrically operated sander and a range of different paper and pads to get rid of those imperfections and prepare the surface as effectively as you can,
  • an air compressor and a spray gun,
  • copious amounts of masking tape and old newspapers,
  • undercoat, plenty of acrylic enamel or polyurethane paint and a top coat lacquer,
  • plenty of patience, which is probably the most important tool of all!

Initial Work

If you want this job to work out well, take plenty of time to get rid of any imperfections, dings or dents, together with any evidence of surface rust. You will then need to remove all the plastic or chrome trim and mask off any areas to avoid overspray.


You will have to sand down the entire vehicle using a circular motion to expose either the original primer or the bare metal. Clean everything off with mineral spirits as this will help remove any oil residue.


When it comes to priming and painting, you must allow time for each coat to cure or dry and might have to sand certain parts of the vehicle in between each. It may take three or four coats of paint and perhaps over several days before you can add the clear coat lacquer.

A Better Option

As you can see, this is a major job and could certainly benefit from some experience. As you may not have any of this, you are best advised to outsource the entire task to a professional instead.

Contact an auto spray painting service to learn more.