Strip Paint From Your Car
If you are repainting your car or truck, it is a good idea to remove the paint completely instead of covering it up, unless you are sure that it has the original paint and that it is still in good condition. If you are painting over existing paint, the paint you put on your car is only as good as the coating beneath it. There are 3 major ways to strip paint from a car. You can sand cars that do not have multiple paint jobs, use chemical stripper for difficult jobs where you have to remove several layers of old paint or blast cars that have tight areas that you need to get into.
Remove Paint From a Car by Sanding
- Wear a respirator. At the very least, you should have a dust mask.
- Attach a 220-grit sanding disc to a dual-action (DA) sanding machine. Peel off the back of the sanding disc and attach it to the sander.
- Sand the surface until you remove all the paint.
- Switch the sanding disc to 400 grit and sand until smooth.
Strip Paint From a Car With a Chemical Stripper
- Wear a respirator and heavy duty gloves for safety.
- Remove everything from the exterior of the car that you do not want to ruin with the chemical stripper. Include all the rubber trim, fixtures and the glass.
- Pour or brush the stripper onto the painted surface of the car body. Let it stand for as long as the packaging label requires.
- Try scraping with a putty knife to see whether the surface is ready to scrape. If you cannot remove the paint easily, leave the stripper on longer or add a little more.
- Scrape the entire surface using a putty knife.
- Apply a second application of the stripper, if needed, and scrape again.
- Rinse the car with water and let it dry.
- Use course-grit sandpaper to remove any paint that remains and follow with a fine-grit sandpaper until smooth.
Remove Paint From a Car by Blasting
- Wear a heavy shirt with long sleeves, a sandblasting hood, heavy gloves and a respirator.
- Cover all the glass, chrome and the trim on the car or truck if you are using plastic particles for blasting. If you are using sandblasting, remove all the glass, trim and any chrome.
- You can cover the areas you want to protect with heavy material if you choose, but test it first to make sure the sand will not power right through it.
- Choose what type of medium you would like to use for blasting.
- Media comes in various materials including plastic or sand, and you can use different-sized particles. A good range of size would be anything from a size 40 to a size 12.
- You can also use baking soda if there is not too many coats of paint and if the vehicle is rust free.
- Choose the compressor and blaster nozzle that you will use for the job. Most nozzle sizes will state what horsepower the compressor must be to be compatible.
- Add the media to your compressor.
- Set the pressure to the correct setting, according to the media and size that chose.
- Blast the car until you remove all the paint.
- If sanding, you can use other types of sanding machines. However, dual-action sanders, although expensive, are the most effective way to sand.
- Use a quality respirator approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) when removing paint by chemical stripping or blasting.
- Be sure to read label directions and all warnings on the chemical stripper label.
- Always prepare your car by washing it and allowing it to dry before you begin.
- You must keep the DA sander flat against the surface of the car to prevent dents and gouging of the surface.
- Do not use heavy duty grinder sanding machines when removing paint from a car. They can actually dig into the sheet metal and leave marks that will show through the paint.
- Do not attempt to remove paint from a car unless you are in a well-ventilated area.
- When using a DA sander, never put 1 sanding disc over another. This could cause uneven sanding.
- Be aware that you could warp the surface if you media blast it too long in one area or if you blast with a medium that is too harsh.
- Do not sandblast sheet metal on the body of the car. Doing so will warp and damage the steel.
Things You'll Need
- Respirator or dust mask
- 220-grit sanding disc
- Dual-action (DA) sanding machine
- 400-grit sanding discs
- Heavy duty gloves
- Chemical stripper
- Putty knife
- Variation of coarse and fine sandpaper
- Heavy shirt with long sleeves
- Sandblasting hood
- Heavy material for covering
- Media for blasting
- Blaster nozzle
- Remove Paint From a Car Exterior