how to strip paint from a car

How To Remove Paint From Car

Looking for the best way to remove car paint to bare metal? Here’s the perfect guide for you.

There is a good number of reasons why you would want to remove paint from a car. Perhaps, the recent color is no longer bright, due to weathering. Maybe, you noticed the paint starts to brittle and peel off.

Either way, the situation compels you to strip the bodywork before applying a fresh coat of paint.

And a lot of people think the process may be a complex exercise but it’s actually easier than you think.

So, if you don’t know how to remove paint from a car, don’t miss a word in this article, because in the end,  you shall know everything you need to achieve a successful paint removal operation.

We designed a comprehensible step-by-step guide that will serve as a guard to work you through the entire process. Also, we will explore both commercial and simple DIY techniques.

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How To Remove Paint From Car | In 3 Ways

How To Remove Paint From Car

We have three major techniques on how to remove paint from the car. They’re sanding, chemical stripping, and sand-blasting.

Let’s look at them in detail.

1. The Sanding/manual Technique

The sanding method is popular and slightly easier. It involves the use of sandpaper or a dual-action sander with water to wipe the surface clean to ensure no residue is left behind.

The method is stressful. However, it’s the ideal way for vehicles that don’t have multiple paint layers, because it doesn’t require a massive amount of equipment. Also, it works excellently for removing little blemishes or rust.

2. The Chemical Stripping Method

This method requires the use of chemical paint stripper to completely remove old layers from your automobile.

Also, the method demands you remove and protect the parts of the car that you won’t be stripping before you proceed, else there bound to be complications.

3. Sand-blasting

Most people use an automated paint remover, which involves the use of a compressor or a sander to scuffs the paint off.

This method is not suitable for someone with a futuristic car, because It can seriously cripple the entire bodywork. Despite that, sand-blasting might not even be the best solution for removing car layers, but people still use it.

In short, the three guides will teach you how to solve paint removal riddle and take away the guesswork and headache.

More precisely, it will help you make the ideal decision as to which approach would be suitable for your situation.

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Method 1. Sanding

Step 1. Protect yourself. First thing first, taking precautionary measures is a necessity. The sanding process tends to kick up a lot of grits that are potential health hazards.

For this reason, it’s critical to put on dust mask and safety gloves to help safeguard you from any potential injuries. You can get PPE from the hardware store.

Step 2. Apply 220-sandpaper. Use the sandpaper to wrap around a sponge or a squeegee to produce a flat sanding surface. Secondly, sand the painted area with it until all the paint goes off.

Note: Apply the sandpaper in a circular motion with little pressure. But, if the paint isn’t coming off, in that case, apply a little more pressure.

Step 3. Clean the entire surface. Use a microfiber cloth or dry towel to wipe clean any leftover grit. Not only that, but you can also use a leaf-blower or a fan to blow the residues away.

Finally, use your bare hands to run over surface, should there be any leftover grit, wipe it again.

Step 4. Use 400-grit sandpaper to remove any remaining ridges or bumps.  It’s compulsory especially if you want to repaint the car.

5. Repeat step 3. But this time, use automotive soap and water to wash the surface. Lastly, rinse the area thoroughly with a hose, so you won’t mistakenly paint over dirt or dust.

6. Finally, you can now repaint and reseal if necessary.

Method 2. The Chemical stripper

how to strip paint from a car

Step 1. Properly tape areas you don’t want to strip. Tape the chrome trim and other exterior accessories so the paint stripper won’t ruin them. Also, ensure to cover the glasses, taillights, and headlights.

Step 2. Apply the chemical stripper. Apply enough stripper with either sprayer or brush to have a thin layer on the car. If you’re using a sprayer, spray from top to bottom to avoid unnecessary mistakes.

However, if you’re using a brush, rub the solution evenly in vertical strokes from top to bottom.

Step 3. Let the solution sit in for 30-minutes before scraping off the paint. You should use a paint scraper to peel off the paint. Apply pressure while scraping the paint in a downward direction.

Lastly, use a wet sponge or rag to remove any remaining paint.

Step 4. Rinse the vehicle thoroughly, then let it dry completely before repainting.

Method 3. Sand-Blasting the Car

Step 1. Ready your compressor with your blasting medium. If you’re working on a larger bodywork, use a large tow behind compressor about 40 and a blaster of size 12.

However, for a mini or more vulnerable part of the car like fiberglass, it’s wise to use soda.

Step 2. Start Blasting the Vehicle. While blasting, ensure you hold the compressor about 12-14 inches, and about (30-36 cm) away from the bodywork. Then Squeeze the trigger on the compressor to commence blasting the car.

On the contrary, if the distance isn’t striping the paint, draw the nozzle nearer until the paint peels off. It’s ideal to blast in a horizontal motion.

Furthermore, avoid lingering onto a particular area, because the pressure may damage the metal underneath the paint.

Step 3. Keep on Sandblasting. Continue sandblasting until there is the paint residue. Once the paint has been removed completely; stop blasting to avoid crippling the metal underneath.

You can still sand it with 80-100 grit sandpaper if the surface is rough (having a sharp and uneven edge) to smooth it out.

Step 4. Prime the surface immediately, then paint if necessary. Prime the surface immediately. Apply 3 coats of automotive primer to prevent any formation of dust.

Here’s a video walkthrough on how to remove paint from car:

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Will rubbing alcohol hurt car paint?

You should never use isopropyl alcohol at full strength or it could permanently cause damage to your vehicle’s paint. Isopropyl alcohol, when diluted accordingly, can also be used to prep surfaces for paint, glass or wheel coatings.

How do I get dried paint off my car interior?

You can remove dried paint from your car interior by wetting the paint and using a blunt object to shave the paint off. We recommend trying a disposable razor, a blunt butter knife, or a paint scraper. If this doesn’t work, you may want to try paint thinner.

Does WD-40 Ruin car paint?

In addition to preventing bugs from hitting your vehicle, WD-40 is also a great option for removing already stuck-on bugs, bird droppings, tree sap, and grime. It won’t damage your paint; just remember to rinse it off with soap and water afterwards.

Is Goo Gone safe for car paint?

Is Goo Gone Automotive safe to use on car paint? Yes! That’s what it’s designed for, just wash with hot, soapy water after you’re done using the Goo Gone.

Can Magic Eraser be used on car paint?

While Magic Erasers can come in handy for removing dirt and grim from your car’s cupholders and dashboard, don’t use them to polish the outside of your car. The eraser’s abrasiveness can do damage to your car’s paint.

How do you get dried pitch off a car?

The steps to remove tree sap from your car are likewise very simple:

  • Wash your car with Decon Soap.
  • Pour sap remover (or alcohol) onto a microfiber towel.
  • Put the towel with remover on it on the sap on your car and let it sit for 30 seconds.
  • Rub the area until the sap is gone.

Is Vinegar safe for car paint?

Vinegar is perfectly suitable for cleaning the interior of a car and is safe for all surfaces. It is important, however, to not let the vinegar dry on any surface, but to wipe it off with a clean microfiber towel immediately. Vinegar should not be used on car paint, as it will dull and damage the paint.

Will Windex hurt my car paint?

Do not use Windex on car paint. Windex is much too harsh to use on the paint of your car, and it could cause some significant damage. When you use Windex on this finish, it will eventually strip it away. When that happens, you may start to notice areas of paint that are chipping or falling completely off.

Does acetone hurt car paint?

Acetone contains chemicals that will eat away at car paint. This liquid will dissolve the paint to the base. If you remove the acetone immediately, the damage will be minimal. It can be taken off with soap and water.

Does Toothpaste harm car paint?

While toothpaste itself may not ruin your car paintwork, it is possible to damage your paint by rubbing the toothpaste on the paint surface.

Does rubbing alcohol remove paint?

Rubbing alcohol is one of the most versatile cleaning substances you can use, and it’ll work on wood. Latex-based paint can be removed pretty easily with rubbing alcohol. All you need is the alcohol, a rag, and enough time to go over the painted object and wipe away all its painted decorations.

Best Way To Remove Car Paint To Bare Metal | Conclusion

If you’re using any of these methods, it’s imperative to wash the vehicle and let it dry before priming or repainting.

For me, I choose to wax the surface to make corrections easier. But, do not let procrastination or fear of the unknown stop you from Doing-it-yourself.

No DIY homeowner ever started big. They all started small, so if they can do it, you too can do it.

It’s a gradual process. Block by block a house is built.

The only way you’re risking something is if you don’t heed to our guide. All it takes is a few tools you can easily get from a nearby hardware store, then select any of the above methods.

The bottom line, if you’re using the chemical method endeavor to check out the best paint remover for cars. We made an exclusive list of the best chemical stripper to help facilitate the removal process.