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Painting Car With Airless Sprayer: 8 Simple Steps To Get The Job Done [2023 Updated]

painting car with airless sprayer

The paint sprayer is the best tool for painting large structures like houses, walls, vehicles etc. An airless paint sprayer is a variant of a sprayer used explicitly for the purpose of painting large surfaces. It can accomplish the painting job quickly and efficiently as it is capable of covering a large surface area in a short span of time. Professionals prefer airless sprayers for larger painting projects so that they can complete the job with an excellent finish in less time. 

An airless sprayer will enable you to paint your modem car. Car paint can be done using this type of sprayer. Airless sprayers can make it possible to paint a car’s metal body effectively. Although airless sprayers do an excellent job at painting vehicles, they aren’t actually designed for that task. Well, this article, will show you the correct process of painting a car with an airless sprayer.

How To Paint A Car With Airless Sprayer?

1. Required Equipment/Materials 

  • 80-grit to 400-grit sandpaper 
  • Quality sanding machines, like an orbital sander 
  • Respirator or dust mask, gloves, eye-protective goggles and suit 
  • Body filler 
  • 18-inch by 750 feet roll of painter’s paper 
  • 2-inch and ¾-inch roll painter’s tapes
  • Quality paint sprayers, like HVLP sprayer
  • Compressor and regulator
  • Paint 
  • Paint filter and mixing cup 

    2. Step-By-Step Process

    Step 1: Remove Materials From Your Workstation 

    The place or garage where you will be working should be as free and ventilated as possible. Hence, remove all those materials from your workstation, which you do not need for the project.

    This will ventilate your room. The paint contains toxins, inhaling which is injurious to health. 

    If the workstation is ventilated, the smoke coming out of the paint during painting will go out quickly. Your safety is very important during painting.

    Therefore, before starting the painting, put on a respirator or dust mask, gloves, and goggles, and then put your hands in the work.

    Step 2: Sand The Surface

    Sanding is necessary before painting a car body. This will remove old paint and debris. For sanding, we recommend choosing 80-grit, 120-grit, and 400-grit sandpaper.

    During sanding, you may replace sandpaper as per your requirement. In the case of a sanding machine, you can use an orbital sander or a disc sander. 

    For a disc sander, start by sanding the surface of the car using 80-grit sandpaper. Then use 120-grit sandpaper to sand the car again. Finally, when you use 400-grit sandpaper, wet it and sand the car body. This allows the blockage from the resulting debris to be avoided.

    Step 3: Cover The Car’s Parts

    Cover all exterior parts of the car, such as the windows, headlights, and taillights to protect against the splatter of paint. It is best to cover with a larger painter’s paper and secure it with a smaller painter’s tape.

    Use two-inch straight tape to seal the larger seam, and three-quarter-inch tape to seal the smaller seam.

    You have two options for covering a car’s wheels – strong polythene paper or a simple painter’s paper roll. Also, cover the garage or workstation floors and other appliances in the garage with a plastic or drop cloth to protect them from spills and splatters of paint.

    Step 4: Prepare Your Spray Gun

    HVLP sprayer guns are a great alternative for car painting. This sprayer’s paint cup rests on top of the nozzle, thus gravity has an impact on it.

    This sprayer’s mechanism produces less overspray, which reduces the amount of paint that is wasted. It is also preferable for the environment to use HVLP sprayers. Environmental pollution is minimal.

    These spray guns include four main adjustment knobs, including nozzle adjustment, paint volume control, fan speed, and air volume adjustment. These four knobs need to be configured for proper use.

    The air compressor typically has a regulator attached to it. Regulators, which are calibrated to PSI, regulate and measure the air pressure that is released by the compressor.

    You can buy an external regulator in addition to the one that comes with the air compressor and attach it to the air inlet valve on the spray gun handle. You will be able to determine the precise air pressure utilized for paint atomization thanks to this. Glue a regulator outside to the sprayer’s inlet. 

    Air volume adjustment is not necessary with this attachment. Next, turn on the machine while the spray gun and air compressor are connected to each other. Set the pressure to the range that is advised for painting automobiles.

    This change is possible only while the machine and compressor are functioning. For the majority of HVLP sprayers, a pressure range of 20 to 30 psi is ideal.

    As you’ll be using this pressure for the final painting, turn off the machine when you reach the designated point and leave the setting alone. A significant paint rebound effect and excessive overspray will result from excessive pressure and paint will waste.

    Inadequate atomization is likely to occur only when the pressure is too low. This causes incredibly ugly patterns that look like small drops on a car that is supposed to be painted.

    Step 5: Pour Paint Into Mixing Cup 

    When handling paint, put on a protective suit, safety goggles, respirator, and gloves. As soon as the paint can is opened, pour the paint into the mixing cup. To prevent outside sources from contaminating your paint, always keep the main paint container closed.

    Pour the paint through the filter into the paint cup of the spray gun and secure the lid after diluting it first for the best results on your project.

    Step 6: Run The Test 

    To perform the spraying test, use a sheet of metal. In the absence of a metal sheet, you can use cardboard. To start the test, mount the spray gun with the paint cup on it.

    When testing, adjust the controls and adjustment knobs. To control the direction of the paint stream, adjust the nozzle control. This makes it possible to apply paint either horizontally or vertically.

    At the sprayer’s back, behind the paint cup, is where you’ll find the fan control. Your spray pattern’s length and width are governed by this.

    You will obtain a focused and limited circular design if you close it. The paint pattern becomes bigger or more pronounced the more you screw it. Additionally, the finish lightens. 

    The amount of paint coverage is controlled by the fan adjustment. You should pull out the controls even further if you’re painting the area of the car that is the widest. When you enter the car’s intricate or small spaces, tighten the fan controls for narrow patterns. Just below the fan adjustment is the knob for the fluid adjustment. 

    This regulates the flow of paint from the paint holder. More color emerges as it moves forward. In order to acquire a decent coating, you will therefore need to go over the surface numerous times, which wastes additional time. Overly loosening the knob will result in the discharge of more paint.

    Step 7: Paint Your Car 

    Hold the HVLP sprayer 8 to 10 inches away from the car body when spraying it. The machine’s nozzle needs to be parallel to the target. Keep your hand firmly in place when spraying. It is recommended to move your hand a little bit before activating the sprayer’s trigger. And the trigger continued to move for a short while after being released. 

    When you pull the trigger or let it go, the paint will come out of the machine, which causes the paint to gather.

    To avoid making any parts disappear while ensuring adequate paint-substrate interaction, 50% of the painting surface should be overlapped. Start with a thin coat. You can avoid paint runs by doing this. 

    Additionally, it makes problems simple to fix if they arise. Keep the final two layers slightly thicker than the first layer. Only apply a second coat after the first has dried. Check the finish once all three coats have been applied to ensure that your job was effectively finished. 

    Step 8: Clean Up The Sprayer 

    After the task is accomplished, remove the plastic sheet or drop cloth cover from the workstation or garage floor and other items. It is best to clean the sprayer immediately after painting.

    Because the paint is still dry inside the sprayer.  Therefore, if you clean the sprayer immediately after the work is over, you will be able to clean it easily. 

    Later, if you go to clean the sprayer after the paint has dried on the inside of the sprayer, it will take more effort. You will be able to remove the paint residue with ease using a paint removal agent.

    Is It Possible To Paint A Car With An Airless Sprayer?

    An airless sprayer can be used to paint the car. An airless sprayer is helpful for painting cars, although it might not be able to achieve such a precise finish with one. An airless sprayer produces a mess.

    An airless sprayer may be used by anyone to paint over a car body, but if you want a nice finish, you should use modern urethane paint and a clear coat, and urethane paint isn’t compatible with airless sprayers. 

    Any old brush or the inexpensive sprayer will work just fine for applying auto body paint. However, professional-quality paintwork is required if you want your car to look as beautiful as contemporary models. On modern cars, long-lasting urethane paint and clear coat are costly, but they will significantly improve the finishing. 

    Modern clear coats and urethane paints are incredibly toxic. Therefore, if you must use contemporary urethane paint, it is preferable to finish the painting process with an air sprayer.

    Why Is Spray Painting A Car A Terrible Idea? 

    If you want to ensure a fantastic and durable finish to your car painting job, your painting preparation and technique will need to be advanced. It is imperative to use quality products in the case of painting automobiles. A sprayer ensures the seamless painting of any object.

    Most importantly, working with a sprayer saves a lot of time. Nevertheless, a few specific reasons make it a bad idea to spray paint a car. Here we have listed four reasons that will help you know why spray paint is not a good idea for a car!

    1. Sprayer Can Make Your Painting Job A Hassle 

    Commercial paint sprayers are explicitly made to produce a constant flow of products when painting an automobile with compressed air.

    This sprayer is metered precisely. Spray cans’ ultra-cheap nozzles, which are not guaranteed to flow at the same speed, determine how quickly paint shoots out of them.

    As a result, the quantity of spray paint on any particular area of your car may vary significantly. Your enough time will be spent in respray. That is, to get a better finish in car painting, you will have to work hard. That is why is one of the reasons why the process of painting a car with a sprayer is considered terrifying.

    2. Color May Not Match

    Even though the color on a can of spray paint cap matches the one on the shelf next to it, there is no assurance that the color inside the can will match. This is due to the fact that spray paint color quality control is batch-based.

    Furthermore, until you begin spraying, it is impossible to tell whether the cans from the store come from the same batch. You’ll get an excellent polish, but it will present an uneven hue depending on which panel you see.

    3. The Cans Will Be Closed 

    Paint cans were never intended for spray-painting automobiles. They were designed for simple tasks. That is until the paint can be empty. Their nozzles couldn’t manage the constant paint blasting.

    The nozzle will start to clog as soon as you hold down the spray paint can for more than 10 to 15 seconds. This may leave a mess of drips on the ground and even the automobile. Additionally, paint globules may separate from the nozzle.

    4. Paintwork May Not Last Long

    Spray paint was not made to withstand the harmful effect on a car. Paint may leak from the hood due to engine heat, and it may adhere to the front of the car due to rocks and other debris kicked up by other vehicles.

    Additionally, your spray paint job may fade much more quickly than vehicle paint if it is constantly exposed to snow and rain. Even if you apply a clear coat on your car, you might eventually need a professional paint job.


    Although an airless paint sprayer isn’t ideal for a car painting project, you can still use it to paint your car. Must follow the proper techniques when painting your car with an airless sprayer.

    Painting in the wrong way can spoil the look of your car, which you will have to work double hard to fix later. Significant painting effects can improve the look of your car.

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