Tips For Repainting After Collision Damage

Posted on: 16 August 2016

If you were in an accident that left some surface damage to your car, you may decide you want to restore it yourself. With the right preparations, you can restore the finish on your car even without investing in a professional spray booth to have the whole car repainted. Here are some things you should keep in mind as you restore your car's paint finish.

Clear Off Any Rust

When auto body panels are damaged, the creases and dents expose the metal beneath the paint. This exposure to the elements can lead to rust development if you don't address the damage quickly. You'll have to remove any rust that's present before you can paint, because rust underneath the paint will keep it from adhering.

To eliminate rust that's just on the surface, you can sand it away with sandpaper. Once it's gone, apply rust inhibitor to the exposed metal to keep it from coming back. That allows you to paint over the area without worry of rust under the paint finish.

If the rust has started to eat into the metal, which happens over time, that means replacing the entire metal panel completely. If you're dealing with a small section, you can usually just cut it away and weld a new piece in its place. However, when the damaged area is larger, you'll want to replace the entire body panel.

Create A Smooth Surface To Paint

Use a sander to eliminate the old paint from the area in question. You need to expose bare metal for the paint to properly adhere. Then, invest in some body filler to create a smooth, level surface to work with. Fill in any divots, dents or uneven areas with the body filler, then carefully use a scraper to level it out as best you can.

Once the filler's dry, sand the surface so that it's smooth. This final sanding is important, because it creates the surface the paint will stick to. Use a block sander when you do this because you need to be able to apply even pressure.

Apply The Paint

Start with a layer of primer. The primer covers the bare metal, sealing it against any exposure. Apply it in a thin, even layer. Once it's dry, you can move to the paint. Apply the paint the same way, making sure the layers are thin and even. You might have to apply several coats to get the coverage that you're looking for.

With these tips, you can do minor body repairs on your own. However, if the damage is extensive or you're not comfortable with your auto body skills, talk with a local collision repair shop (like Central Body Co Inc) to help you out.