5 Auto Body And Paint Surface Preparation Tips
Auto painting consists of a series of step-by-step tasks.
When combined, these steps produce a quality paint job that looks fantastic, feels smooth looks flawless, adheres securely, and has lasting durability. When a job comes out nice, you also feel pretty damn good too!
The outcome of any auto painting stage is determined by the thoroughness and result of the previous stage. Poor work during any stage will affect the end result, remember this. Just make sure you complete each stage of the painting process to the very best of your ability. If you make a mistake, don’t pass over it, simply go back and correct it, no big deal. It’s all a learning curve.
Don’t rush any of the stages, always keep your end goal in mind; a professional looking paint job that you will be genuinely proud of for years to come. Inside of the VIP area of this site, we hold your hand and walk you step-by-step through each step until you get it and are ready to get the job done.
Auto Body Surface Preparation embodies 5 areas that ultimately prepare auto body surfaces ready for paint. Let’s start with auto part removal.
Click on any of the 5 links below for more information on each topic
- Tacking your vehicle before paint
- Paint Mixing Ratios
- Auto body questions and answers post
- Rust repair using kitty hair and fiberglass fillers
The Best Way to Prevent Overspray – And why Auto Part Removal is Important?
Experienced auto painters and automotive enthusiasts can always detect if a vehicle has been repainted.
It should be your desire therefore to perform such a thorough and meticulous paint job that nobody has any idea your vehicle has been near a spray paint gun, unless it’s an obvious and outlandish custom paint job of course.
Tiny amounts of paint overspray that manages to get onto window moldings, door handles or light assemblies will be giveaway signs that your vehicle has been worked on.
A closer inspection of the vehicle surface may also reveal some sanding scratches that would indicate that some degree of bodywork has been performed.
A buyer may suspect that your vehicle has possibly been involved in an accident and the damage repaired. Whatever he/she believes to be the reason; your car will no longer be so attractive to buy.
Where to begin.
To make sure that no overspray is able to accumulate anywhere on auto parts and accessories including trim, it would be a sensible option to start by detaching or peeling off, anything that gets in the way of painting the basic surface of the car.
This will even include removing some larger pieces such as plastic bumpers that should be painted separately and reinstalled on the repainted body later.
This allows for controlled and thorough body preparation and is the best way to prevent overspray concerns and paint build-up along the edges of trim.
Where to find help.
For those auto parts and accessories that you aren’t sure how to remove, ask a service manager from a local dealership, a professional auto body shop or an auto paint supply store.
Don’t risk breaking auto parts and accessories when
willing assistance is readily available.
You can also get the information you need from a factory repair manual for the make and model of the vehicle you are working on. You should be able to obtain one of these for a late model vehicle from a dealership.
You should also be able to pick one up from an auto part store, if all else fails browse around on the Internet for one.
Before you buy, flip through it and make sure it has the required information that you need. These manuals are very handy to keep for any future problems you may encounter.
You need to be systematic in your approach when removing auto parts and accessories
You will find that most of the auto parts and accessories from a vehicle including door handles and mirrors are secured in place with screws, nuts or bolts.
It won’t take you long to see the benefits of removing auto parts and accessories. This stage is completed much faster than masking, however don’t rush through it. Have a sensible plan ready for removing and storing each item.
Large boxes work well for this. It is simple to label the boxes for each section of the vehicle. Put screws, bolts and nuts back on the part it came from once you remove it so you’ll know exactly where they are when it’s time to put everything back onto the vehicle.
Once you get trim strips off, it’s best to remove all the clips. Put them and any other fasteners or small parts groups, in zip-lock plastic bags or smaller marked cardboard boxes and store them in the same place as other items from your project.
Some newer model vehicles use adhesives to hold the emblems, badges and trim in place. It is a good idea to examine each item before you try to take it off so you can determine exactly how it is mounted. You don’t want to have to buy new to replace broken pieces.
If you want to replace them after painting, however, get new ones, with fresh adhesive, from the dealer.
You will find that some door handles can be removed by loosening a heavy duty screw found horizontally across from the handle on the edge of the door.
Other door handles are secured by a couple of screws or nuts; you will need to access these from inside the inner door cavity. To gain access to the handle support you’ll need to take off the interior door panel.
Interior door panels are usually secured either with screws or clips. If you can’t find any screws around the perimeter of the panel then it is likely it is held in place with plastic clips fastened securely into retainer mounts.
You can easily pull them loose. Before you do, make sure you remove the arm rests and window and door handles first.
After you have removed the interior door panel, you will see a piece of plastic or similar material between the panel and the door skin. This is the vapor barrier.
It is designed to prevent water from entering the vehicle after it has leaked past window trim moldings.
It is very important that you don’t damage vapor barrier. It’s very easy to simply roll them up to the top of the door and tape them away safe.
For light assemblies, these are generally secured with screws found on the back of the housing assembly. You can remove the rear light units from inside the trunk area or by pulling them out from the outside.
Grilles can be a little trickier to remove. Look for screws around the perimeter of the grille section. Entire grille assemblies are usually made up of a series of parts which can be removed as one unit so long as you remove the correct screws.
Most grilles have parts that are held together with clips that you would have to remove also.
It’s important to leave the headlights in if possible; this will prevent the current light beam setting from being disturbed. If you need to remove them however, remember not to touch either of the screws that have springs underneath them. These are the directional adjustment screws that adjust the headlights in all directions.
You shouldn’t have any problems removing the bumpers on older vehicles; they have support bolts which are easily located.
Newer car bumpers aren’t as easy. Take your time when removing a bumper from a vehicle and get help if you need it due to these parts often being quite heavy.
You definitely don’t want a bumper to fall on you while you are under the vehicle loosening the bolts so take the proper precautions.
If you will be painting the door edges then you are going to have to remove the weather stripping. You’ll need to take a closer look at it first to see how it is secured into place.
Sometimes you will find that it is held in place using adhesive, therefore an adhesive remover will have to be used.
It may appear to be substantial enough to be pulled straight off however, it is better to be safe than sorry and opt for the adhesive remover.
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