How to Apply Car Paint Primer

You must apply car paint primer before applying the finishing car paint. While the car can be painted by a professional or a car painting service provider, you can save money by doing it yourself. Before priming the car, it is necessary to remove the old paint first and prep the car surface.

Tools and Materials

  • Wax Remover
  • Paper
  • Sandpaper
  • Eye Goggles
  • Respirator
  • Putty
  • Cleaning Materials
  • Masking Tape

Step 1 – Clean the Car Surfaces

Before priming, clean the car surfaces to remove any dust, grease or debris that may interfere with the priming and painting process. Clean dust and dirt with water and a mild detergent mix. Scrub off tough dirt, and rinse thoroughly with water. To completely remove wax or grease, use a wax remover.

Step 2 – Repair Holes and Sand the Car

If there are any holes and imperfections on the surfaces, use a putty to fill them out. Allow the putty to dry. Sand the putty to make it level with the surrounding areas. It is also necessary to sand the car to remove any rough areas and allow the primer to stick to it easily. Fine grit sandpaper will work fine, but tougher areas will require medium grit sandpaper. Wash the car to get rid of dust and residue left. Before priming, allow the car to dry completely.

Step 3 – Cover Areas to Be Left Unpainted

Cover the windows, the mirrors and the other areas that do not require paint with paper and masking tape. Ensure that the covering is complete so that even if they are painted, the paint will not get through. If you use newspapers or thin sheets of paper, always ensure that they are applied in several layers. Double check all covered areas before priming. 

Step 4 – Mix the Primer

Always use goggles, mask and gloves when priming. To mix the primer correctly, always check for the manufacturer’s recommendations as they may vary. The typical ratio would be one part primer and one part thinner. Some manufacturers recommend a ratio of 2:1 of primer and thinner. Mix the solution well with a paint stick to ensure it adheres correctly to the car.

Step 5 – Prime the Car

Use a primer that is designed for exterior use as this is more durable than those designed for interior use. Use a clear coat primer as well if preferred. When applying the coating, cut them evenly. Double check all surfaces to see if there are any areas missed. When working in a closed area such as a garage, be sure to open the door and provide enough ventilation inside the room. Wait for it to dry completely before sanding and painting.

Step 6 – Sand the Primed Car

Before applying the car paint, sand all primed surfaces once more with fine grit sandpaper. Do not use rough grit sandpaper as this may strip off the coat. Check areas that have uneven surfaces and sand them well to make them level.