Amateur Car Paint Spraying Myths (And How to Respond)

Posted on 19 October 2016 Jake Martin

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To make a success of car spray painting, you need the right tools, the right paint, the right environment and the right training. Without these, the result is likely to be a botched job at best, with uneven paint coverage and poor colour matching. This is why the unequivocal advice of professional paint sprayers (echoed by us) is for amateurs not to attempt it at all. 

So it never fails to surprise us when our customers tell us what well-meaning amateur car enthusiasts have to say about car paint spraying. These are some of the most worrying car-spraying myths we’ve heard from amateurs over the last couple of years. Maybe some of them will be familiar from your own work – perhaps when you’ve had to undo the results of such ‘tips’ at your body shop!  For each tip we’ve included a myth-busting reality check that explains why car spraying should only ever be entrusted to the pros.

Myth 1 - “It Will Be Quicker Spraying The Car Myself. I Don’t Need To Go To A Body Shop.”

We frequently hear this from people who love tinkering with their cars and are reluctant to spend money on a job they feel they could do just as well themselves, especially if there is only a small panel that needs spraying

Reality: For enthusiastic amateurs, spraying a car may seem like a great idea until they decide to put it into practice. They then find that a quick job takes a very long time indeed.

Paint sprayers use specialist equipment costing thousands to produce the high quality job they do. Also, qualified spray painters have years of experience working with these paints to ensure a good colour match and correct application of Clearcoat. Learn more about colour matching with this great article - Colour Matching Made Easy - The Industry's Hidden Secret.

Myth 2 - “Spray Paint You Can Pick Up At Retail Shops Is Just As Good As Professional Paint – And It Will Save You A fortune.”

Reality: Buying cheap car spray paint is a disaster waiting to happen for amateurs. A good way to convey this risk is to talk about the danger of nozzle blockages. Not only are cheap nozzles not designed to regulate paint flow speed, but commercial spray cans are typically intended only for small jobs. Spraying a car is a large undertaking, for which the nozzles are poorly suited.

Aerosol paints sold by retail shops are not sufficient for painting vehicles. Vehicles should only be painted using the correct spraying equipment ensuring a professional job is carried out.

Some Spray Aerosol faults are: spitting, incorrect colour match, low gloss levels, textured appearance and incorrect use of spraying metallics.

Myth 3 - “A DIY Paint Job Will Last Just As Long As A Professional Spray.”

Reality: If someone says this to you, encourage them to think for a moment about the amount of punishment a car takes on a daily basis; from wind, grit, grease, rain, frost and dirt. Most shop bought spray paints simply aren’t durable enough to withstand this for long. Even if a DIY paint job looks good at the beginning (which is unlikely), it will soon start to chip and look flaky.

Myth 4 - “It’s Okay To Apply The Base Paint Directly. There Is No Need For Primer Or A Clear Coat.

Reality: This myth is fortunately fairly easy to counter. Without proper surface preparation, followed by a primer, clear coat, base layers and a drop coat, a car spray paint job will look terrible. Many amateurs fail to recognise that a wet sanding is essential to remove dust, scratches and other impurities from the bodywork. Additionally, at least one coat of clear paint is normally required for the topcoat to have a decent and even appearance. Only body shops have the equipment, painting environment and professional paints on hand to ensure the paint job looks good.

How To Achieve The Perfect Colour Match

Once amateurs understand the science and technical skill that goes into car paint spraying, with any luck they will come straight over to your body shop without trying it themselves. For bodywork professionals interested in high quality paint jobs and perfect colour matching, we have created a FREE video tutorial. FLP Group’s Jordan Salt demonstrates proven techniques for primers, clear coats and base coats: perfect for the next time you have to remedy a customer’s amateur spray paint disaster! For immediate access to the video, please click here. To help you get spot-on colour matching and great results from your professional sprays each time, don’t forget to check out our extensive range of products and paints on our main website.

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