automotive primer for old paint

What Automotive Primer Should I Use Over Old Paint?

What automotive primer should I use over old paint? This is one of the questions we often get asked here, and we’re going to address it today.

First of all, if you want to repaint your automobiles, you should be concerned about what type of primer you will use.

However, there are two approaches to repainting an automobile. Whether for automobile interior/exteriors or automobile engines, you can either choose to apply new paint over the old one or remove the old paint in terms of prepping before applying a new one.

Whichever process you wish to go with, you need the right primer, and this is what we will be covering on this post.

Can You Apply a Primer Directly Over Old Paint?

What Automotive Primer Should I Use Over Old Paint

The straight forward answer is Yes!

But there is a condition.

Before applying a primer on a bare old paint, the paint should not be loosed. If you have old loosed paint flakes on the surface, then it is necessary to prepare the surface before applying the primer and new paint.

This prepping will entail scraping off the old paint and using the appropriate sandpaper to smoothen the surface and ensure that the metal is exposed for better bonding with the primer.

What Automotive Primer Should I Use Over Old Paint?

After observing the nature of the surface you intend to paint, you can go ahead and use any of these recommended primers highlighted below.

1. Rust-Oleum 2081830 Automotive Primer Spray

Rust-Oleum is no doubt one of the best brands when it comes to paint and primers. This primer is specially designed for use on automobile parts and bodies.

One thing we love about this primer is the great bond that it gives you. With this, your paint will stay strong on your automobile while looking professional. Use to prime automobiles, it works under for most automotive lacquers and enamels.

Whether you are painting over old paint or painting on bare metal, this primer will do a great job.

The Oil-based formula used for the primer makes it compatible with automotive paints. The primer dries to touch in 15 minutes and offers good coverage. If using multiple coats, you will need to apply each coat in 15 minutes intervals.

The primer is available in a 12Oz. spray-on container and will cover up to 12 sq ft. It creates a flat gray finish that can be covered with any topcoat.

  • This primer is easy to use
  • It offers good coverage
  • It is affordable
  • It dries fast
  • Excellent rust prevention
  • The spray pattern is a little narrower, so it will take time to complete your priming

2. Dupli-Color Scratch Filler& Primer

Dupli-Color is another impressive manufacturer you will rest assured when buying a product from them.

Apart from being a primer, it also acts as a filler. It will fill and cover-up both light and imperfection scratch on your automobile surfaces – thanks to the hi-build automotive formulation.

Using this primer gives you a smooth and rust-resistant surface.

It works perfectly on metal, fiberglass, and wood. Whether for interior or exterior purpose, you can never go wrong.

It will work well in all parts of your mobile. It gives you a flat gray finish, allowing you to change the color of your automobile or maintain the same color.

It is available in an 11oz spray-on container with an excellent spray pattern and offers excellent coverage.

  • It leaves you with as smooth and rust-resistant surface
  • It is fast drying
  • It fills light scratches and minor surface imperfections
  • Offers great coverage
  • It does not fill deep scratches as advertised by the company

How to Apply An Automotive Primer Over Old Paint

automotive primer for old paint

Here we have the steps you can follow to apply an automotive primer on old paint.

It is common knowledge that before applying a primer, you should first scrape away the old paint from the body of the item you intend painting. This will help the primer adhere and form a good bond.

But in this case, when the old paint still looks good and well bonded, you may not require to follow all the prepping procedure like you are painting a rusted surface. The following steps should be considered.

Step 1:

If the surface, or better still, the old paint is not glossy, you will need sandpaper to sand the surface. This is to ensure that the old paint will have enough surface area to bond with the primer since you will not be taking them out entirely.

Step 2:

Apply the primer by spraying on the automobile surface. Since the recommended primers here comes in spray can, application is easy.

Endeavor to apply thin coats within a time interval of 15 minutes until you have achieved the desired texture. Depending on the state of the surface, you may need to apply between 2 – 5 coats.

Step 3:

After allowing the primer to dry, then you can move ahead to apply the right paint.

So typically, you are applying a primer over old paint while applying the new paint over the primer.

It is essential to also take note that for any of these automotive primers, it is highly recommended to use oil-based paints.

Can you prime over old automotive paint?

It’s good to prime over auto paint to fill up the existing imperfections. For better adherence with the auto paint, I suggest that you leave the primer to dry 24 hours before painting your car. Doing this gives your primer ample time to fill up any defects on the car’s surface.

Do you need primer over old car paint?

Any time you sand away from your vehicle’s paint and expose bare metal, you should apply primer before you paint, sanding lightly between coats to be sure you’ve got a smooth surface every time.

What is the best primer to use on an automobile?

Epoxy Primer – Epoxy primer is considered a good standard base when it comes to ensuring the auto paint bonds to the metal and promotes a quality paint finish. It’s formulated specifically to prevent corrosion, so epoxy primer for cars won’t sand as well as other types, like urethane primer.

Can you spray primer over paint?

Epoxy primers are considered by many to be the new standard as they can be used on metal or existing paint. Simply spray on, wait 30 minutes and sand if necessary.

Can I put primer over paint on metal?

Painting Over Painted Metal

Finally, you’re ready to apply paint. Start with a layer of primer made especially for use on metal, which will help the new paint bond to the surface. It may take as little as 15 minutes or as long as 24 hours for a coat of metal primer to dry depending on the manufacturer.

What is high build primer?

High-Build Primer Surfacer is a flexible acrylic coating for priming steel, aluminum, urethane, fiberglass and plastics. FEATURES. • Provides superior adhesion. • Excellent filling properties. • Works on flexible or rigid substrates.

What grit should I sand primer with?

600 to 800 Grit – This sandpaper grit range is perfect for sanding surface imperfections in the primer, prior to paint application. It is recommended to start at the low grit end and work your way up to 800 grit. 1000 to 1200 Grit – When you need to remove base coat imperfections, this grit range will do the job.

How long after priming a car can I paint?

around 24 hours
Most primers should sit on a car for around 24 hours before applying the base coat of paint. Some primers may dry in as little as 30 minutes, but experts say to apply the primer 24 hours before painting for the best results.

How much primer does it take to paint a car?

For a small- or medium-sized vehicle, you’ll need approximately 1 gallon of base coat or primer, 3 gallons of topcoat, and 2 to 3 gallons of clear coat. Larger vehicles will require about one and a half gallons of base coat, four gallons of topcoat, and three to four gallons of clear-coat lacquer.

Can you spray epoxy primer over old paint?

Can You Paint Epoxy Primer Over? The paint should be fine and won’t lift if it’s not. If the primer is a prepared sanded surface, spraying it over paint is not a problem.


It is possible to paint over old paint. However, you will need a little bit of prepping procedure, which entails sanding and priming.

Ensure that the old paint is not loosed; otherwise, it will be challenging to achieve bonding. For loosed old paint, you’d have to go through the proper prepping of the surface.

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