Auto Paint Repair

Tips for Painting Plastic Auto Parts


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When you paint plastic auto parts, there are several tricks that you should know to avoid any mistakes. Although you are dealing with car paints, painting plastic parts requires different preparation than painting the metal parts.

If you do plan to paint the plastic parts of your car, you need to know the proper techniques and precautions to ensure a lasting finish.

  • Identify the Type of Plastic: Identifying the kind of plastic the part is made of is one of the most important steps in painting them. The correct paint you will use will depend largely on the type of plastic the part is made of. There are generally two types of plastic used to make auto parts - Thermoplastic and Thermoset.
  • Separate the Plastic Auto Part from the Vehicle Frame: It's best to remove the plastic auto part you want to paint from the rest of the vehicle frame. By doing this, you can clean and prepare the part thoroughly. If you are unable to remove the part, then mask the rest of the car thoroughly.
  • Always Clean the Auto Part: Cleaning is an essential part in auto painting, so for plastic car parts you also need to clean them thoroughly with soap and water. Make sure that you clean both the interior and the exterior of the part to avoid any contamination. It is best to use hot water when cleaning plastic auto parts to remove any molds that may have grown on them. Use an automotive soap that is pH-neutral. This is to remove any grease, oil or dust particles, which allows the paint to adhere properly to the part. After cleaning the plastic part with soap and water, wipe it with isopropyl alcohol. You then need to use a wax/grease remover.
  • Use the Correct Sandpaper: A common mistake when painting plastic auto parts is the type of sandpaper used for sanding. Use an abrasive that is softer. Do not use aggressive or coarse sandpapers, since this might damage the surface of the plastic. It is recommended that you use an abrasive pad that has sanding paste that is purposely designed for plastic. Don't sand the part if you have not thoroughly cleaned the area, because this can result in more problems.
  • Place the Part in a Painting Fixture: Make sure that you put the auto plastic part on a painting fixture before painting it. This will ensure that the part will be painted in the same position as when it's on the vehicle, and that the metallic in the paint is sprayed in the proper orientation.
  • Apply Anti-Static Agent: Plastic can take on static charge, so to avoid this, apply some anti-static agent on the part. The procedure for a plastic auto paint job is generally the same as painting metal frames, although some types of plastic require an adhesion promoter.
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