Automotive Painting Guide: Commercial One Day Paint Jobs

You’ve got a car or truck that needs painting. But you can’t afford—or don’t want to pay—the two, three, or five thousand dollars it realistically costs to have a local body and paint shop do the work.

Or maybe the vehicle in question really isn’t worth a two to five thousand dollar paint job, but you’d like a nice paint job on it anyway.

 


This Tech Tip is From the Full Book, HOW TO PAINT YOUR CAR ON A BUDGET. For a comprehensive guide on this entire subject you can visit this link:
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK HERE

 

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Steve Dalton’s neighbor had this slightly scruffy ’91 Camaro and it quit running. A fuel-injected car, he figured it would cost too much to fix, so he was going to sell it to the local Pick-A-Part wrecking yard for $200. Steve offered him $200 for it, ascertained it was a bad fuel pump in the tank, replaced it, and had the car running fine in a few days. It had alloy wheels, a decent interior, and other amenities, but the body had some scrapes and dings (and prior work) and the paint was sad. So Steve started doing some bodywork on it and planned to take it to a one-day type shop for a repaint in the original color.

Steve Dalton’s neighbor had this slightly scruffy ’91 Camaro and it quit running. A fuel-injected car, he figured it would cost too much to fix, so he was going to sell it to the local Pick-A-Part wrecking yard for $200. Steve offered him $200 for it, ascertained it was a bad fuel pump in the tank, replaced it, and had the car running fine in a few days. It had alloy wheels, a decent interior, and other amenities, but the body had some scrapes and dings (and prior work) and the paint was sad. So Steve started doing some bodywork on it and planned to take it to a one-day type shop for a repaint in the original color.

 

That is, if you could find a body and paint shop that even does a regular, full paint job. I don’t know about where you live, but in most metropolitan areas these days, such shops make their money on collision repair, paid for by insurance companies. They pull frames straight, replace fenders, glass, and so on with new pieces, then spot-paint what’s needed to match the finish on relatively new cars. Most such shops won’t even work on anything resembling an “old” vehicle, let alone do a full paint job—especially one requiring a color change—which would require some hours of hand-work like sanding, masking, and so on.

And given that situation, if you can find a shop that is willing to paint your car, for whatever price, how good are they? Car painting is probably not their primary business. For whatever reasons—government regulations, cost of materials, cost of labor, or more likely the marked improvement in factory paint jobs that last much longer than they used to—there just aren’t many “auto painting” businesses anymore. There are a few high-dollar custom-paint specialists (where you’ll pay several thousand dollars—often into five figures). And then there are the low-buck one-day in-and-out paint places, such as Earl Scheib or Maaco, that have franchises all across the country (where you can get in-and-out for as little as a few hundred bucks).

 

GM had some primer coat problems around this time, and the paint on the roof and trunk had peeled. Steve had already stripped these areas and primed them, along with some other areas he’d bodyworked, when I contacted him about following the paint job for this book.

GM had some primer coat problems around this time, and the paint on the roof and trunk had peeled. Steve had already stripped these areas and primed them, along with some other areas he’d bodyworked, when I contacted him about following the paint job for this book.

 

Besides removing emblems and doing spot-priming, Steve wet-sanded areas that needed special attention, but decided to leave most sanding to the paint shop.

Besides removing emblems and doing spot-priming, Steve wet-sanded areas that needed special attention, but decided to leave most sanding to the paint shop.

 

Steve did any bodywork that needed metal straightening or plastic body filler, since he trusted his own work and it would be a considerable extra expense at the paint shop.

Steve did any bodywork that needed metal straightening or plastic body filler, since he trusted his own work and it would be a considerable extra expense at the paint shop.

 

The shop we chose is actually called 1-Day Paint & Body, a small chain located in the Southwest. Steve drove the car there then removed the taillights, license-plate bracket, and side-view mirrors.

The shop we chose is actually called 1-Day Paint & Body, a small chain located in the Southwest. Steve drove the car there then removed the taillights, license-plate bracket, and side-view mirrors.

 

Some shops don’t like to paint loose parts, but 1-Day said it was no problem. So Steve put the mirrors, side molding strips, and a new front air dam in the trunk for painting separately.

Some shops don’t like to paint loose parts, but 1-Day said it was no problem. So Steve put the mirrors, side molding strips, and a new front air dam in the trunk for painting separately.

 

When we visited, 1-Day offered four levels of paint jobs, ranging from about $300 to $1,400 (extra for a color-change or doorjambs), but a big selling point for us was that they all used DuPont Chromabase urethane (catalyzed) paint. Steve chose the highest-level job because (1) it was the only base-coat/clear-coat option, (2) they could match the color to the original on the car, and (3) it included a color sand and rub out, which Steve hadn’t planned on, but would gladly accept for the price. It took a while to find the color code for this car; Steve is pointing to it on a label found in a storage compartment in the trunk area.

When we visited, 1-Day offered four levels of paint jobs, ranging from about $300 to $1,400 (extra for a color-change or doorjambs), but a big selling point for us was that they all used DuPont Chromabase urethane (catalyzed) paint. Steve chose the highest-level job because (1) it was the only base-coat/clear-coat option, (2) they could match the color to the original on the car, and (3) it included a color sand and rub out, which Steve hadn’t planned on, but would gladly accept for the price. It took a while to find the color code for this car; Steve is pointing to it on a label found in a storage compartment in the trunk area.

 

You could do even more sanding and parts-removal if you wanted, but this is how Steve’s car entered the shop.

You could do even more sanding and parts-removal if you wanted, but this is how Steve’s car entered the shop.

Check the just-painted cars out front to judge a shop’s quality. These looked good. However, those at a competing (well-known) shop across the street showed grinder marks, surprisingly bad orange-peel, and a “Help Wanted” sign on the door—not good indicators.

Check the just-painted cars out front to judge a shop’s quality. These looked good. However, those at a competing (well-known) shop across the street showed grinder marks, surprisingly bad orange-peel, and a “Help Wanted” sign on the door—not good indicators.

 

Since you get what you pay for in this world, a few hundred bucks doesn’t promise a great paint job. The way we would turn a bottom-dollar finish into a decent one in the old days was to do a lot of the work ourselves, pay more, and make special requests on how the shop handled the job. Our first task, of course, was to take everything possible off the car that you didn’t want them to get paint on (otherwise they would). Second was to hand-sand all the paint, being sure to feather-edge any chips or scratches as much as possible, without sanding to bare metal. Third, the real trick was to pay twice the going rate (which was still plenty cheap) just to get them to spray on twice the allotted amount of paint. To tightly control costs, The Earl only allowed something like two quarts of paint per car, which barely covered a sedan, let alone a wagon. For the extra money you could get two coats of paint, including the rocker moldings, around wheelwells, and so on. Fourth—and this was important—was to ask them to paint the car with the doors shut. This way they couldn’t get any paint on the interior, which would invariably happen otherwise. Plus, the extra paint that would have been used in doorjambs could go on the outside of the car. Finally, we’d ask them not to paint the wheels, because no cool car had body-color wheels (especially not Earl Scheib body color), and they’d always get paint on the tires, too. Then, when we got the car home, after letting the paint dry for a week or so (so it wouldn’t pull off with masking tape), we’d sand and mask the doorjambs and paint them with spray cans in black, a color to match the dash/interior, or a shade as close to the outside as possible. And we’d paint the wheels white, black, or red and add whatever hubcaps were coolest at the time. Then after waiting the prescribed six months or so, we would wax the car. The remaining task was to keep it clean and take care of it. Even an old-days Earl Scheib paint job responded very well to care and upkeep. The more you waxed it (especially as the enamel paint finally hardened somewhat), the better it looked. If you did it right and kept the car up, even other car nuts probably couldn’t tell it came from Uncle Earl’s. Especially if you had it painted black.

 

MuscleCarB

   
 

The Don’t-Do-it-Yourself Paint Job

Like so many things in our modern world, the quality of one-day “in-and-out” paint jobs has improved significantly. Of course, as you might suspect, so has the price. But at most such auto-painting places, you now get choices. As I mentioned, the old “spray it, bake it, and drive it away” job now costs about $250 to $500 depending on the place, but that’s still dirt cheap. But now most such shops offer a range of paint stage options, starting with name-brand two-part (catalyzed) paint and a wide range of color choices. Additional levels include masking and painting doorjambs, under hood, and so on; base coat/clear coat in even more colors; and even (at at least one chain we checked) a complete color-sanded and rubbed out modern paint finish for about$1,500. As of this writing, that’s about half what a similar paint job would cost else-where (at the cheapest, if you could find a shop to do it).

So don’t ridicule the “drive-thru” auto paint shops these days. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why one might be a better option than painting your car in your own garage. And then let’s see what you can do at home—and with your choices at such a shop—to optimize the paint job you can get for a very good price.

 

First stop was the sanding booth in back, where Romulo started on it with 220 dry paper on a jitterbug.

First stop was the sanding booth in back, where Romulo started on it with 220 dry paper on a jitterbug.

 

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Although Steve had filled most of them, Romulo found a few more spots that required spot putty. Then he continued working the car with an orbital palm-sander, first with 220, then with 320 paper.

Although Steve had filled most of them, Romulo found a few more spots that required spot putty. Then he continued working the car with an orbital palm-sander, first with 220, then with 320 paper.

 

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Unlike many such shops, this one did a significant amount of hand sanding, especially in critical areas such as around handles, locks, and door/hood/trunk edges.

Unlike many such shops, this one did a significant amount of hand sanding, especially in critical areas such as around handles, locks, and door/hood/trunk edges.

 

We were also surprised that Romulo finished by spot-priming areas, especially where he had spot-puttied. Plus, he used lacquer primer (as had Steve), which is usually a no-no under today’s catalyzed paints. But he explained that 1-Day starts the painting process with a catalyzed sealer to stabilize what’s on the surface and (hopefully) whatever gremlins might be underneath. Smart move.

We were also surprised that Romulo finished by spot-priming areas, especially where he had spot-puttied. Plus, he used lacquer primer (as had Steve), which is usually a no-no under today’s catalyzed paints. But he explained that 1-Day starts the painting process with a catalyzed sealer to stabilize what’s on the surface and (hopefully) whatever gremlins might be underneath. Smart move.

 

Let’s say you don’t have an air compressor, or a spray gun, and all the other equipment necessary to paint a car. If you’re starting from zero, it adds up to quite a bit of stuff. It would cost quite a bit more than one or two one-day paint jobs.

Even if you have some or all of the equipment, maybe you keep a pretty tidy garage, and you don’t like the idea of filling it with catalyzed paint fumes and overspray: or the prospect of hanging up all that plastic sheeting and sealing everything off looks like more work than you want to do just to paint this one old car. At the other end of this spectrum, maybe you don’t even have a garage to paint your car in, or the one you have isn’t really big enough to do the job.

Regardless of whether you have the equipment or the space, perhaps you’ve never spray-painted anything in your life, or the few attempts you’ve made have been less than satisfactory. You’d really prefer to have someone who knows how to handle a spray gun shoot the color on your project car.

Fine. Given those parameters, let’s look at what the one-day paint emporium can offer you.

For starters, they all have professional, well-ventilated and filtered, usually temperature-controlled spray booths to spray the paint in. You don’t have to prepare the space, plus your car is painted where there is no dust, no dirt, and no bugs, m’lady.

Not only do they have good, up-to-date spray booths, but they have industrial-size compressors, industrial-quality water-traps and air filters, the latest HVLP spray equipment, and so on. They have to. The government mandates it and checks on them regularly.

 

 Next stop was the masking station where Alisa—“Fastest Masker in the West”—looked like she was ready for anything with her well-equipped taping cart.

Next stop was the masking station where Alisa—“Fastest Masker in the West”—looked like she was ready for anything with her well-equipped taping cart.

 

Most one-day type paint shops are used to masking everything on a vehicle, so Alisa made quick work of all the windows…

Most one-day type paint shops are used to masking everything on a vehicle, so Alisa made quick work of all the windows…

 

...and didn’t hesitate with small parts like door handles, locks, and headlights.

…and didn’t hesitate with small parts like door handles, locks, and headlights.

 

Steve removed the door panels (mainly to get the side mirrors off). Since this was to be a “doors closed” paint job, we figured that’d be it. But, again surprisingly, Alisa masked off both the doorjambs and the inside of the doors, all around.

Steve removed the door panels (mainly to get the side mirrors off). Since this was to be a “doors closed” paint job, we figured that’d be it. But, again surprisingly, Alisa masked off both the doorjambs and the inside of the doors, all around.

 

Further, she masked the inside of the tailgate, from the weatherstrip in (leaving the painted edge to get repainted), and similarly sealed the trunk area with tape and clear plastic.

Further, she masked the inside of the tailgate, from the weatherstrip in (leaving the painted edge to get repainted), and similarly sealed the trunk area with tape and clear plastic.

 

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This is how the car looked before it went in the spray booth. You can see it’s well-sanded and there wasn’t a lot to mask (the whole masking job took about 15 minutes). They wouldn’t let us in the booth to take pictures, but you can see it in the background. It’s actually a spray booth attached to a separate drying/heating booth. The painter mixed the base coat from toners in the shop to the formula for the color code of the car.

This is how the car looked before it went in the spray booth. You can see it’s well-sanded and there wasn’t a lot to mask (the whole masking job took about 15 minutes). They wouldn’t let us in the booth to take pictures, but you can see it in the background. It’s actually a spray booth attached to a separate drying/heating booth. The painter mixed the base coat from toners in the shop to the formula for the color code of the car.

 

And, perhaps most importantly, their painters know how to spray paint. They do it all day long, every day. The gun-wielders in such places have usually worked their way up, and have plenty of experience. The management knows they can’t have painters that cause runs, drips, or ugly orange-peel, because at their prices and with their schedule, they can’t afford to have “re-dos.” Besides, learning to lay on a good, even, smooth coat of paint isn’t that difficult. It just takes practice and experience. These guys have plenty.

Finally, even given the advantages listed above, the one big drawback to old-day $19.95 paint chains was that they used their own, usually low-quality, non-brand paint. No matter how well it was sprayed on, it had an evil tendency to peel back off (especially given their minimal—if any—surface sanding or prep). Well, the quality of paint in general has improved significantly since then, in most cases (though we will see what happens when and if water-based paints are phased in). But the better news is that most of these places, for a moderate increase in price, offer two-part (catalyzed) paints in name brands (i.e., Dupont, PPG, etc.), a much larger choice of contemporary colors, and even two-stage (base coat/clear coat) options.

We don’t know which chains, franchises, or local one-off auto paint shops of this type exist in your area, but they are plentiful. To check one out, pay a visit, find out what level of options they offer (including brand and type of paint used), and what the warranty is. But much more importantly, look at some of the finished cars in the lot, waiting to be picked up by customers. That tells you much more about their quality than any front-office salesman.

 

What You Can Do

You don’t need a book to tell you how to take your car to a shop to get it painted. We wouldn’t have included this chapter if there weren’t some ways in which you could participate—add your own effort—to make a one-day paint job turn out better than average, and to make it an acceptable substitute for either painting the car yourself or taking it to the high-dollar shop (which, we should mention, takes a whole lot longer than one day to prep and paint your car).

If you’ve been reading this book front-to-back, you’ve probably already surmised that the two primary things you can do at home to improve a one-day type paint job are to: (1) take as much stuff off the exterior of the car you don’t want painted as possible; and (2) thoroughly hand sand the existing paint on the car.

In the first category, how much you disassemble the car depends on a few factors, including its age, and assuming you want to drive the car to the paint shop and back. Older cars have readily detachable non-painted components such as chrome bumpers and grille, headlights, taillights, mirrors, door handles, hood ornaments, and so on. These are all relatively easy to unbolt and remove. If you’re driving the car to the shop, you need at least taillights and brake lights, and you may want things like turn signals, door handles, and mirrors. One trick is to loosen these compo-nents and pull them slightly away from the body (about 1/8 to 1/4 inch) so paint can get behind them; but don’t let them hang down, covering metal that should be painted.

Newer cars with body-color bumpers, handles, mirrors, and so on are problematic. Most one-day paint shops don’t want to deal with any loose parts; they want to roll the car into the booth and paint it as a whole, with all parts at least semi-attached. Ask your chosen shop how much disassembly they do or don’t allow.

Likewise, we assume that a vehicle being painted this way will not be getting all new interior, glass, and so on. So, obviously, leave all windows in place. On some cars, chrome or stainless trim around windows is easy to remove and greatly simplifies masking. On others it cannot be removed without removing the glass, gasket, and all. Do not try to take off trim that you’re not sure how to put back on. Masking it is much simpler, and in this case better.

 

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The actual painting process—sealer, base coat, clear coat, drying time—doesn’t take all that long. The car came out looking smooth and glossy, and looked even better when all the masking was removed.

The actual painting process—sealer, base coat, clear coat, drying time—doesn’t take all that long. The car came out looking smooth and glossy, and looked even better when all the masking was removed.

 

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The shop told us up front that, despite their name, the top-of-the-line job, including rub out, was going to take longer than one day. That was fine. When we arrived early next morning, 1-Day’s “roving rub-out expert” had beaten us there and already color sanded the whole car with 1500-2000-grit paper. After having taped window edges for protection, he was just starting to buff the roof with a variable-speed electric buffer with a foam-cutting pad, using liquid compound.  You can see in these photos how the color sanding dulls the glossy clear coat to a velvety finish, but then the compound-buffing quickly brings it back to an even smoother and glossier luster.

The shop told us up front that, despite their name, the top-of-the-line job, including rub out, was going to take longer than one day. That was fine. When we arrived early next morning, 1-Day’s “roving rub-out expert” had beaten us there and already color sanded the whole car with 1500-2000-grit paper. After having taped window edges for protection, he was just starting to buff the roof with a variable-speed electric buffer with a foam-cutting pad, using liquid compound. You can see in these photos how the color sanding dulls the glossy clear coat to a velvety finish, but then the compound-buffing quickly brings it back to an even smoother and glossier luster.

 

MuscleCarB

   

 

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We’ll talk much more about the color sand and rub out process in Chapter 11, and it is pretty unusual for a one-day type paint shop to offer this option. But, as we say in the text, if they know they have to sand and rub it, they’ll be sure to put enough paint on. Here the “buff guy” adds a minimal amount of compound from a plastic squirt bottle, then quickly brings up a gloss with the power buffer on the hood. The whole sand-and-rub took about half a day.

We’ll talk much more about the color sand and rub out process in Chapter 11, and it is pretty unusual for a one-day type paint shop to offer this option. But, as we say in the text, if they know they have to sand and rub it, they’ll be sure to put enough paint on. Here the “buff guy” adds a minimal amount of compound from a plastic squirt bottle, then quickly brings up a gloss with the power buffer on the hood. The whole sand-and-rub took about half a day.

 

While many such shops won’t do them, 1-Day was fine with painting a few parts separately, including the side mirrors and front dam, seen here coming out of the spray booth.

While many such shops won’t do them, 1-Day was fine with painting a few parts separately, including the side mirrors and front dam, seen here coming out of the spray booth.

 

Back at the shop to pick up his painted and buffed $200 ride, customer Steve was quite satisfied. After reinstalling the taillights, license, and mirrors, he drove it home.

Back at the shop to pick up his painted and buffed $200 ride, customer Steve was quite satisfied. After reinstalling the taillights, license, and mirrors, he drove it home.

 

On the other hand, don’t rule out a full-on glass-out/interior-out paint job at a one-day paint shop. It would require a way of trailering or towing the vehicle to and from the shop. And, obviously, you’d have to make arrangements with the shop to do this (though it’s actually much easier for them, since little or no masking would be needed). You’d have to leave the doors, hood, and trunk attached. But all the other stripping is hand work you can do at home. So if you don’t have the equipment, space, or experience to paint it yourself, but you do have the time and energy to completely disassemble and reassemble the car, this is one viable option, especially if you pay for the better or best paint they offer. I know of one vintage dragster that was painted during restoration by Maaco, and is now on display in a museum.

As far as sanding is concerned, that’s covered in the preceding chapter. A full hand sanding of the car is the one thing none of the in-and-out paint shops do, because it’s way too time-consuming for them. But it doesn’t really take that long, and you can easily do it at home. It doesn’t take any tools or dedicated space. Just some time and sweat.

The other thing you can do at home, as outlined here in Chapter 3, is basic bodywork. Again, you can do much of this with hand tools. And it can save you quite a bit of money. A big caveat is that no paint shop wants to guarantee a paint job over somebody else’s bodywork—you have to deal with the individual paint shop on that. But, if the vehicle in question needs bodywork, I think that leaves you two choices. Maybe two and a half. The half is to straighten any bent sheetmetal as best you can, using hammer-and-dolly or whatever tools you have available. But leave it in bare metal or pre-existing paint—don’t use any filler or primer. Depending on your skill and the predilections of the paint shop, this might save you some money on body-work costs—but not necessarily. The first full option is to let the paint place do whatever bodywork/priming they (or you) deem necessary, and pay their price. The second is to do the bodywork yourself and forego any guarantee on the paint. This is well worth considering if (1) your bodywork is good, and (2) you’re going for a lower-priced paint job, anyway. In fact, even if you’re getting their best spray job, the point is that the chances of the paint going bad are slim (especially if you do good prep on your part, and keep up the paint job after-wards), and the cost of having them do the bodywork could often be more than having the car repainted, if it does go bad. See how that logic works?

 

Tips and Tricks

The old “pay more for extra paint” trick might still apply, though you probably wouldn’t want to pay double the price just for an extra coat of paint. But ask them how much they’d charge.

Some places include a color sand and rub-out with their highest-priced paint job. Depending on the extra cost, this could be well worth the money, because then they know they have to put enough paint (or clear) on the car so as not to rub through it—and if they do, they have to fix it.

Otherwise, the hot tip is to get the catalyzed paint (or base coat/clear coat), because then you can rub it out yourself as we show in Chapter 11. Most one-day type paint places won’t do a rub out because it’s so labor-intensive—or charge accordingly if they do. But the problem here is the same as trying to rub-out a factory paint job—you don’t know how much paint they put on the car, but you know they didn’t intend it to be rubbed out. You might be able to buff it out (carefully), or you might go through. If you can get them to add an extra coat of paint or clear for a decent price, then you can color sand and rub it out at your cost (free) with much less fear of rubbing through. On the other hand, if you’re happy with a glossy finish like a new car (not rubbed out), that’s all you need. Wax it and enjoy it.

Most of these paint places are onto the “doors closed” trick. Their lowest-priced paint job is usually a doors-closed deal. That doesn’t mean you get any extra paint on the outside, but at least it insures you don’t get paint on the interior, and you can paint or other-wise detail the doorjambs and other such areas yourself.

If you are paying them to paint the doorjambs, they’ll probably do a good job of masking off the interior opening. But it’s very difficult to mask the doors’ rubber weatherstrip seals. Unfortunately (especially for newer cars) they can be expensive to replace. But if you care about such things as detailed doorjambs, you should really remove the rubber seals, clean the area with adhesive remover and sand it, and then install new seals after the painting is done. It also wouldn’t cost you anything but your time to remove the upholstered door panels and the window frames (if any).

 

For the rubber and plastic side moldings, repainted by the shop, Steve used double-sided, highly adhesive “trim tape,” available at dealers or most parts stores, to reattach them, asking a friend to help align them and get them straight.

For the rubber and plastic side moldings, repainted by the shop, Steve used double-sided, highly adhesive “trim tape,” available at dealers or most parts stores, to reattach them, asking a friend to help align them and get them straight.

 

To be honest, we didn’t think the paint shop was going to mask the doorjambs, and you can see some hints of primer overspray in there (from Steve’s prior bodywork). But this is much preferable to having painted upholstery. Steve will now mask and detail the jambs with his own small compressor and spray gun.

To be honest, we didn’t think the paint shop was going to mask the doorjambs, and you can see some hints of primer overspray in there (from Steve’s prior bodywork). But this is much preferable to having painted upholstery. Steve will now mask and detail the jambs with his own small compressor and spray gun.

 

Speaking of masking, you might think you can do a more meticulous job than the entry-level laborers doing it at the paint shop. You might be right, and it could benefit you to run a single layer of 3/4-inch tape around such things as window frames or openings. This allows you to drive the car, and the maskers can add taped paper over your tape. On the other hand, these guys mask cars all day, every day. They might not like the way you tape something, or even be offended by it. Remember in the last chapter I mentioned that it’s always better when masking to err in favor of getting a little paint on the trim, rather than not getting paint on the body where it belongs. This is taught to most of the maskers at these paint shops, and part of their job is to go around the car when it’s done, cleaning paint off any chrome trim, rubber, or other parts that shouldn’t have gotten paint on them. You can do the same at home. Using lacquer thinner (very carefully) on a rag or razor blades, you can clean areas that might have gotten some stray paint on them. This is generally easier than trying to pre-mask the car yourself. If, by chance, the paint shop did miss a spot—because of mismasking or bad spraying—they should fix it, immediately, under their warranty. It’s not that hard to do.

Such detailing goes for the rest of the car, too. One telltale sign of a recent quickie paint job is body-color overspray on the gas tank, exhaust pipe, or other undercarriage parts visible from road level. After you get the car home from the one-day paint store, another day spent with a wire brush, maybe some coarse sandpaper, some masking paper and tape, and a few spray cans of semi-gloss black or some other neutral color (i.e., dark gray), can finish off the undercarriage, engine compartment, trunk, and so on.

But speaking of spray cans, do not use any on the exterior of the vehicle before you have it painted, especially by a one-day shop. If you’re doing the one-day paint job because you don’t have your own paint equipment, you might feel strong urges to touch up spots, as you’re sanding, with spray can primer.

 

Looking at the finished product, you’d never guess this was a $200 car with a 1-Day paint job. It looks great. And because it’s high-quality DuPont Chromabase urethane paint, it’ll stay looking good as long as Steve polishes it and keeps it up. Depending on what similar shops offer in your area (or even selecting a lower-price job from 1-Day), doing your own bodywork, prep, and (careful) rub out, you could get the same results for hundreds of dollars less. But this one is well worth the moderate price.

Looking at the finished product, you’d never guess this was a $200 car with a 1-Day paint job. It looks great. And because it’s high-quality DuPont Chromabase urethane paint, it’ll stay looking good as long as Steve polishes it and keeps it up. Depending on what similar shops offer in your area (or even selecting a lower-price job from 1-Day), doing your own bodywork, prep, and (careful) rub out, you could get the same results for hundreds of dollars less. But this one is well worth the moderate price.

 

Don’t do it. You never know what’s in spray cans these days, and whatever it might be, new two-part paints usually don’t like it. I found through bad experience that the same is true for old-style lacquer primers—even good-quality lacquer primer shot from a gun. It wrinkles up under new catalyzed paints.

So I guess the final trick, the primary rule, for getting a good one-day-type paint job is to follow their rules…for the most part. Otherwise, do the disassembly and prep sanding they won’t do, clean and detail the car afterwards yourself, and then wax it regularly and take care of it. If you do, nobody will know it was a cheap paint job.

 

Written by Pat Ganahl and Posted with Permission of CarTechBooks

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