Why You Shouldn’t DIY Your Car’s Paint Job

Driving a CarOwning a car is a privilege that allows you to get from Point A to Point B with minimal discomfort. It eases the burden of traveling, particularly since you have your own space and you travel at your own pace. Yet despite the comforts that owning a car can give you, most people do not realize that it actually comes with its own set of responsibilities.

How so? Consider the fact that the expenditure that comes with owning a car does not stop when you actually purchase one. You also have to consider the price of gasoline, parking fees, insurance fees, and the maintenance fees you routinely have to shell out for. Some people think skimping on maintenance saves them money, but the truth is that it only makes you spend more in the long run.

Remember that your car is only as safe as you want it to be. If you try to be frugal about maintenance (such as replacing only one tire when all four tires are already worn out), then you are also compromising your safety.

The beauty of DIY

It comes as no surprise that car repairs often amount to a hefty sum at the end of the day. After all, you have to pay for the price of the parts and accessories, as well as the labor fees, which can be quite pricey if the damage is big. As a result, many car owners are thoroughly scouring their cars’ manuals to be able to diagnose basic problems with their vehicles.

This also gives them the following benefits:

  • Knowing what is wrong with their cars and understanding what to do the next time the problem recurs.
  • Saves them money from the diagnosing fees some car repair shops charge.
  • Saves them money for labor if they are mounting easy-to-install accessories, such as a dashboard camera.

Yet while the spirit of DIY can be praised for saving car owners a few dollars each time their car needs attention, there are several issues that you must never try to resolve on your own. One of these problems is trying to fix your car’s paint.

auto body shop paint repairThe paint conundrum

There’s nothing like a newly painted and polished car, but maintaining it is a job all its own. No matter how careful a driver you are, you can get dents & surface scratches in various ways, including the natural wear and tear of daily driving or through a car collision that damaged both your car’s body and paint.

Now, many people think that painting their car is as simple as painting a room. You just lay a border, dip a paint brush into a bucket, and have your merry way repainting your vehicle. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

Here’s why you shouldn’t DIY your paint job:

  • It takes time and expertise. If you are going to DIY your paint job, then you would need to allocate at least a couple of weekends for it, if not more. It also requires extensive experience and patience, what with waiting in between coating and ensuring that each coat dries properly. What’s more, you need to properly prep your vehicle for the paint job. It is not as easy as laying down newspaper on the ground and spraying it with paint — you need to know what you’re doing to do a good job. Also, painting the details of your car such as your trunk and inner door sills would add more time too, as you have to strip down your car to its skeleton. Do you have this skill and patience? If you’re not that comfortable about your abilities, then best to leave the painting to an expert.
  • You will need space. Not only do you have to allocate a specific amount of time to do your DIY job, you also have to allocate space for it, too. It would be good if you have a shed to protect your car from the elements, but oftentimes than not, most people do not have this luxury so they paint their cars outdoors. If you’re painting outdoors, ensure that there are no factors that will land over the wet paint, such as leaves from trees and even dust. You will also need to hose down the area, thoroughly wash and dry the car, and remove all the dust. You will be surprised by how dust can ruin wet paint. Professional auto body repair shops use a paint booth which eliminates dust and bakes on the finish.
  • You will need to prep your car. This means sanding the parts in need of paint work. You can do this by using sandpaper and an electric or air-powered sander. Each panel takes about two hours to be sanded properly.
  • You will need to match the paint. You have to get paint from a specialty store, such as an auto supply. After getting the paint, you have to follow specific instructions on how much primer to apply, as well as how much coating it will take to get the specific color you want. It will take many trials and errors before you will get it — you will also need to practice on a sheet of metal to ensure that your spraying technique is up to par.
  • You will have to buff the paint. Finally, it’s not enough that you have sanded your car and painted it — you also need to buff it to give it that shiny finish. However, you will need a buffer. You will also need to know exactly how to hold it and not to remove the paint off your vehicle.

At the end of the day, it would be far easier and more affordable to have a professional paint refinish facility complete the job for you. They have the expertise and the technical know-how to make your car look brand new with just a fresh coat of paint. Finally, you wouldn’t have to purchase the tools and equipment to return your vehicle to original condition — an auto body shop will have that for you.

Read more: Automative Paint FAQ

Tina Small has been part of the Airpark Collision Center team since 2006. Working directly with customers, her goal is to share frequent customer questions, and proper methods of collision repair.

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