For a car, the paint job has many layers. There is the bare metal which some primer is sprayed onto. After that, the base coat goes on.
This is the main color that you see. On top of the base coat goes a clear coat. The clear coat protects the paint under it and the metal panels of the car.
Most people might not realize that there is a clear coat on their car and just think the mainbase coat is the final layer. One question that comes up a lot though, is can you paint over clear coat on a car?
After reading this article you will have a better answer to this question, which has many opinions.
Reason To Repaint Car
You may be wondering if the clear coat is there to protect the paint underneath it, then why would you need to repaint the car. Well over time the clear coat can wear and damage can occur to the pain below it.
Also, if your car ends up with deep scratches, that can’t be buffed out, then you might need to repaint a section of your car.
One other reason is you might just get tired of the color that the car currently is. Maybe you have found your dream car model and year wise, but it isn’t the color you want. In that case, you would need to paint it.
Should you Paint Over Clear Coat
Now that you know why you might need or want to repaint a car it is time to get to the question at hand which is should you paint over the clear coat.
Well, the short answer is NO because the clear coat is there to protect the paint and therefore makes it hard for other things, including paint, to stick to it.
However, there are exceptions to this no rule. Most of the time, the clear coat does not need to be completely removed to paint over it and most of the time the car does not need to be completely primed again.
If you are just performing touch up work, then you only need to scuff the clear coat to make the new paint adhere.
However, if you don’t scuff it enough or paint too thick, then the new paint will be noticeable. Generally, you have to paint a larger area, then just the scratched part to blend the paint well.
If you are changing the color of the car however, then it is a good idea to not paint over the clear coat. By painting over the clear coat on large areas, it can lead to waving and the old color showing thru.
This is because you need a lot more paint to cover the old color, especially if there is a major color change.
In this instance, you will want to completely remove the clear coat and make sure you are down to the old base layer. Then you will want to apply a primer before adding the new base coat color and new clear coat.
How to Paint Over Clear Coat
If you decided to paint over the clear coat, then there are still a few steps you should take.
First, make sure your car is completely clean. The reason you do this is you don’t want any imperfections caused in the new paint or for your car to get scratched while you are trying to repaint it.
Then you have to scuff up the old clear coat to make sure the new paint will stick. The way you scuff up the clear coat is you take some sandpaper or a sanding block. You get it wet and then go over the areas that you are going to paint.
It is a good idea to tape off the trim and other areas that you don’t want to be sanded, so you don’t mess up other parts of the car.
You could also remove the part of the car that is getting repainted if it is a large area and you want to do that.
The grit of paper you use should start out with around 300 and work over it. Then you want to use something finer like an 800 to make sure it is extra scuffed.
You don’t have to remove all the clear coat, but you want to make sure you get it scuffed good.
Also, if you are going to paint over the clear coat you want to make sure the sanding is done evenly. If you get down to the base coat at any part, then you will have to remove all the clear coat or it won’t look good.
Once it is all scuffed up good you want to do one last good washing of the area to make sure all the loose particles are gone. Then it is time to get the new paint out.
A lot of people will use a spray gun or spray paint to paint over the scuffed up area. You just want to make sure to use smooth even motions so the paint will go on evenly.
You don’t want it to go on too thick in spots or to run. After you are done painting it you need to let it dry completely.
Then you can apply some new clear coat to protect your new paint job. If you took your car apart, then you can put it back together after the clear coat has dried.
If you only taped off, then make sure the paint and the clear coat is dry before removing the tape.
But recommend you not paint in this way, let remove clear coat first, then repaint your car is the right way.
So, to answer the question of can you paint over clear coat on a car, the answer is no. However, there are sometimes when you can get away with it if you do it right.
If you are changing the color or doing a large area, then you really should remove all the clear coat and reprime to get the best paint job.
If you are doing a smaller area of painting though or an area that is hard to see, then you can get away with painting over the clear coat if you do it right. Be sure to scuff up the old clear coat good to make sure the paint will stick well.
Also, be sure to take your time and apply the paint evenly to prevent warped looks. As long as you follow these steps in most situations you should be able to paint over your clear coat and not have people notice.