When you’re doing a budget project or painting a “driver” you might not want to take a project all the way through the concours restoration process but you also don’t want the vehicle to look like it was redone in the dark with your eyes shut.
With modern base coat-clear coat systems things are a little different with how the panel will look when applying your top coats. With older style coatings like lacquer or even single stage paint the color coat will have a heavier build and not only is the color of the car but also will be the last line of defense. Because of this those single stage type coatings may cover small imperfections like light scuff pad scratches or even very minor imperfections in the surface. The first time you paint a car with base coat – clear coat you will notice that the base coat goes on very thin and doesn’t always fully hide everything. You may see just a hint of imperfections in the surface and depending on the color this may or may not be an issue.
Base coats usually go on in 2-4 coats until the entire surface is fully covered with no primer showing through. After that you will apply 3 or more coats of clear coat and you will see the clear coat actually cover AND fill those minor imperfections in the surface. This may be alarming to someone that hasn’t paint a car themselves before, but it is part of the process and shouldn’t alarm you.
We suggest going over the entire panel with 320-400 grit sandpaper to get it fully sanded and then going over everything with a fine scuff pad to assure everything has a tooth for the paint and clear to bite into. If you see any scratches larger than 320-400 scratches (if you can feel them with your hand or finger nail they’re too deep). As you apply your multiple coats of base coat and then clear coat you will see those very minor imperfections disappear so DON’T STRESS!!
We hope this little tech tip helps a DIY enthusiast painting a car at home. To see our full line of painting and auto body products you can visit our site HERE.