Methods for Stripping Auto Paint

While Do-it-Yourself automotive painting is possible, if it’s your primary means of transportation it is best done by a professional who understands the precautions and processes. When you’re repainting your vehicle, the best idea is to remove the paint completely – not just paint over the old layer. You’ll get a much nicer, more even coat if you strip the paint completely before repainting, and you won’t have to worry about the condition of the original paint job before you repaint. Luckily, the process is pretty straightforward but some auto technician training may help to know what you’re doing.

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When all is said and done, there are predominantly three different, yet effective ways to strip the paint off of your vehicle.

First of all, if your car hasn’t had multiple paint jobs, you can use a dual action electric sander to remove the paint. You’ll want to use around a 220 grit disc for the first pass, and then a higher grit disc – around 400 – to smooth it out after you’re done. This is the least invasive and intensive process for removing paint.

If the vehicle is a bit older and has had a few paint jobs in its life, you’re better off using a chemical paint stripper to get rid of all of the old coats. With chemical paint stripper, however, it’s a much more involved and careful process. You’ll have to remove all of the parts and fixtures you don’t want to get the stripper on, such as the glass and the rubber trim. Then, simply apply the stripper to the areas you want to strip the paint from with a brush and let it sit for the appropriate amount of time as indicated on the product. After it has dried thoroughly, use a scraper to remove the paint. If you find the paint is tough to scrape off, apply more stripper and wait a bit longer. Afterwards, give the car a thorough rinse and then sand off any remaining paint to bring it to a smooth finish.

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Now, if it’s an exceptionally tough job, or one that requires getting into hard to reach areas, you might want to consider using a blaster with either sand or plastic particles to remove the paint. This is the most intense method of stripping paint and will require a sandblasting hood, thick gloves and a respirator. You will want to remove all chrome, trim and glass from the vehicle before you start blasting, lest you damage the other parts of the vehicle.

If you’re not entirely sure what method would work best for you, it is definitely advisable to give your go-to auto mechanic a call.

With all of these methods, it’s incredibly important that you wear proper protection at all times. That means at the very least both a respirator and protective eyewear, though in the case of the blasting method, you will want extra protection. Be sure to work in a properly ventilated area, preferably in the shade and away from too much sun or artificial heat. If you stick to these helpful tips, you should have a shiny new coat on your vehicle in no time at all!

Check out this video for more tips on using paint stripper!

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