The Ultimate Guide to Automotive Spray Paint – Top 10 Spray Paint for Cars

best spray paint for car

Some cars get pretty beat up over time. They start to look like old, rusted-out Junkers that need to be tossed in the trash as soon as possible. Fortunately, you don’t have to buy a new car just because yours looks a little rough. All you need is some of the best spray paint for cars, and you can spruce up your automobile until it looks better than ever before. 

You can improve your car’s appearance without having to spend a ton of money in the process. A good way of doing this is by using spray paint. However, with plenty of spray paints in the market, choosing the best one can be a bit challenging. 

If you are looking for the best car spray paint, you have come to the right page. This article has shortlisted the top 10 spray paint for cars and a comprehensive buyer’s guide.

Let’s dive in deeper!

10 Best Spray Paint for Cars of 2022

Here are the 10 best spray paint for cars that you should consider:

USC Spray Max 2k High Gloss Clearcoat Aerosol

USC Spray Max 2k High Gloss Clearcoat Aerosol is a professional, high-quality coat containing UV stabilizers to prevent yellowing. It is made in Germany and has a patented technology that offers you a high-quality finish to make your car look professionally done. 

It’s also easy to apply, dries quickly, and can be buffed to a brilliant finish within 24 hours. This clear coat is designed for spot repair or overall refinishing.

USC Spray Max 2k High Gloss Clearcoat Aerosol
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Pros

  • It can last for up to 8 years without yellowing or discoloration
  • Compatible with all types of paints, especially base coat and enamel paints.
  • It comes with a 1-year warranty.
  • It has patented technology that gives you a high-quality finish.
  • Dries quickly 

Cons

  • The paint platform is small; you may have to buy another can if you deal with larger surfaces.
  • It requires more preparation time than other products available in the market today.

SHINE ARMOR Graphene Ceramic Coating Spray

SHINE ARMOR Graphene Ceramic Coating Spray is an advanced graphene formula with a hydrophobic barrier technology. It has been designed to offer a long-term ceramic coating that protects against UV rays, bird droppings, and acid rain.

The best part about this product is protecting your car and giving it a shiny new look. You do not have to worry about it being uncomfortable to use either because it has been designed with comfort in mind.

The Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat is among the best car ceramic coating spray. It offers super hydrophobic protection that’s easy to apply and lasts up to one year. It can be used on all surfaces, including interior leather, plastic, and vinyl.

In addition, this product was formulated using the latest nanotechnology. The manufacturer has also used titanium dioxide, which boosts its durability and provides shine and gloss to your car surfaces.

SHINE ARMOR Graphene Ceramic Coating Spray
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Pros

  • Easy application
  • 3-in-1 formula
  • Lasts up to one year

Cons

  • Not appropriate for use on matte surfaces

POR-15 Chassis Black Top Coat Spray Paint

POR-15 Chassis Black Top Coat Spray Paint is an easy-to-use spray paint that provides superior rust and corrosion protection from dirt, moisture, salt, and road grime. It’s formulated with a unique blend of solvents, additives, and pigments that penetrate rust, creating an anchor pattern for the coating.

Moreover, it works by chemically bonding to the metal surface. It is a high-performance coating that can be used in direct sunlight and withstands temperatures up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The POR-15 Chassis Black Top Coat Spray Paint includes a patented tube of metal-ready cleaner and degreaser. 

POR-15 Chassis Black Top Coat Spray Paint
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Pros

  • It gives a rich, satin finish that won’t crack or peel
  • Resistant to chipping, chemicals, salt sprays, and solvents
  • Dries to touch in 2 hours, can be handled after 4 hours; fully cures in 3 days
  • Good for touching up work that has already been done or for quick jobs

Cons

  • It does not offer as much coverage as standard paint cans

Rust-Oleum 271903 Automotive Spray Paint

Rust-Oleum Automotive Spray Paint) provides a protective seal that resists tarnishing, chipping, and dulling. The high gloss coating creates a glossy finish to any vehicle. This works well on metal, wood, concrete, or masonry. 

This product is formulated to provide rust preventive paint on surfaces exposed to intermittent heat up to 2000F or for light rust and smoke stains. It can be used to touch up minor surface imperfections in previously painted metallic surfaces. 

Pros

  • It can be used on nearly any surface, from wood to metal to fiberglass
  • Many colors available in both gloss and flat finishes
  • Dries quickly when used in thin applications
  • Easy to apply and has a very good spray pattern which is perfect for large surfaces such as the hoods of cars or trucks
  • It can be used on multiple surfaces

Cons

  • Tendency to run when applied thickly or over high gloss surfaces 
  • It might dry unevenly, leaving streaks in places where there should be none

Rust-Oleum 254860 11-Ounce Specialty Spray Color Shift

Rust-Oleum Specialty Color Shift contains advanced light interference pigments that produce a distinctive color flip. The color changes based on the viewing angle, with one color dominating at lower angles and another at higher angles. The actual color will vary depending upon application technique and surface profile. 

Color shift is perfect for automotive accessories, general craft projects, and home décor accents. It is also ideal for wood, metal, wicker, plastic, glass, plaster/ceramic, paper mache, and more. Color-shifting pigments create an iridescent rainbow effect. It adds a unique touch to automotive accessories, wheels, and more. Not intended for use on the entire body of the vehicle.

Pros

  • It contains advanced light interference pigments that produce a distinctive color flip
  • Color changes from one shade to another when viewed from different angles
  • Ideal for automotive accessories, general craft projects, and home décor accents
  • Fast drying

Cons

  • The price is high compared to other spray paint brands.
  • There are only two color options. 

Rust-Oleum 363515 Automotive Premium Custom Lacquer Spray

Rust-Oleum Automotive Custom Lacquer Spray is a premium quality lacquer that provides a brilliant finish. It dries in 25 minutes and covers up to 15 sq ft. This spray delivers a smooth finish without runs or brush marks and is fast drying for quick coverage. 

It is ideal for metal, wood, plaster, or paperboard use. The color can also be applied to most surfaces, including metal, wood, and plastic.

One of the main reasons this product is so popular is its aerosol spray feature. You can easily spray the product onto your vehicle to get the same look as if you were spraying a standard lacquer finish onto your vehicle with a brush. The only difference between using this spray type is that it gives you much more control over how much lacquer you are spraying and where you are spraying it on your vehicle.

Pros 

  • Easy application with great results
  • Fast-drying formula
  • Excellent adhesion to a variety of surfaces
  • Resists fading and chipping
  • Provides a beautiful smooth finish

Cons

  • Difficult to apply evenly, resulting in an uneven finish 
  • It may be harmful to the environment.

Dupli-Color MC201 Blue Metal Cast Anodized Color

Dupli-Color MC201 Blue Metal Cast Anodized Color is a specialty product for custom painters. It replicates the look of oxidized metal to make your project appear older. It can be used on various surfaces, including metal, wood, and plastic.

Dupli-Color MC201 Blue Metal Cast Anodized Color dries fast and has superior coverage. It’s available in 11-ounce spray cans that are easy to use. Dupli-Color MC201 Blue Metal Cast Anodized Color is formulated with special alkyd resins that provide maximum weather resistance for lifetime durability.

Dupli-Color MC201 Blue Metal Cast Anodized Color has a rich metallic finish that’s highly reflective, creating the appearance of oxidized metal. It can be brushed onto any clean surface, including metal, wood, and plastic, to replicate oxidized metal’s look.

Pros

  • Oil, gas, and heat resistant to 500°F intermittently
  • Durable enamel finish duplicates the look and color of anodized metal
  • A bright metallic finish enhances the appearance
  • For use on automotive accessories and parts

Cons

  • It takes a couple of coats to get complete coverage.

Dupli-Color Epae10000 Premium Acrylic Enamel Spray Paint

Dupli-Color’s Premium Acrylic Enamel is a no sanding/scuffing required single-stage formula to provide excellent coverage and color retention. This enamel also features a small amount of rust inhibitor for metal substrates. Dupli-Color Premium Acrylic Enamel dries quickly and provides a smooth, durable finish with excellent color retention. This enamel can be used on metal or wood surfaces.

The paint is ideal for use on all OEM paint surfaces, perfect for automotive accessories, bodyside moldings, cladding, bumpers, and more. It features an advanced spray system that allows you to spray at any angle, even upside down, for those hard-to-reach areas.

Pros 

  • Superior adhesion and durability
  • Excellent coverage and color retention
  • Durable finish with excellent color retention
  • Resists fading, chipping, cracking, and peeling
  • No sanding/scuffing is required for adhesion
  • Fast drying

Cons

  • The smell can be so strong and harsh to the person applying

ACDelco GM Original Equipment 19354941 Summit White

From ACDelco’s GM Original Equipment line, Summit White is an acrylic lacquer that provides a glossy finish. It is a base coat, so it must be clear coated for protection. This paint is not recommended for metal or plastic surfaces. It has been tested for resistance against weathering and corrosion to ensure durability and longevity.

In addition, the ACDelco GM Original Equipment Touch-Up Sprays are the ideal way to repair small unsightly scratches or chips in your vehicle’s finish. The spray is a fast-drying enamel that provides excellent color matches and long-lasting durability. This original equipment touch-up spray has been manufactured to fit your vehicle, providing the same performance, durability, and service life.

Pros

  • High-gloss finish that lasts for years
  • Low odor that does not irritate the skin
  • Non-slip s and scratch-resistant surface 

Cons

  • Not all colors are equal, resulting in a mismatch
  • It can be heavy and lumpy, thus interfering with a smooth finish.

SEM Paints SEM15243 Satin Black Color Coat Aerosol

The SEM Paints SEM15243 Satin Black Color Coat Aerosol is a high-quality coloring solution for your vehicle. It is made of the best pigments and has no metallic additives that can affect the color or finish. 

Moreover, the paint is easy to apply and provides excellent results with a proper gloss finish. The aerosol spray ensures easy application and comes with a 12-ounce container that is enough for painting large surfaces.

Formulated to match, restore or change the color of most plastics, vinyl, and carpets. This coating is a great option for those who want to change the color of their interior components, as there is no need to remove them from the car. Simply scuff and spray to achieve an OEM quality finish.

Pros

  • The paint does not contain metallic additives that can affect the color or finish of your vehicle.
  • It can be used in the undercarriage, wheel wells, engine bays, etc.
  • It provides you with a professional quality coating that helps protect your vehicle from corrosion and rust.

Cons

  • It can be a little expensive

So, there you have it. Here’s what you need to know if you’re looking for the best spray paints for your car. Remember that only practice will make perfect no matter which specific products you choose. No matter how well you prepare or how good your spray paint is, don’t expect professional-level results on your first attempt. 

You’ll learn more about what kind of surfaces work best and how to do it by making some mistakes, so don’t fret if your first few attempts aren’t up to your expectations. You can fix them later on using any of the best spray paint for the cars listed above. Many of these spray paints are high-quality, so find one that suits your needs and budget.

Things to Consider Before Buying Spray Paint for Cars

Car spray painting kits, also referred to as automotive paint sprayers, spray paint guns, and automotive paint guns, make it possible for your vehicle to look new without getting it serviced by a professional. As long as you have the right tools and the best spray paint for your car, you will get an even-textured and smooth coat of paint for your vehicle in no time.

It is crucial to look for these factors in choosing which spray paint to buy:

Brand & Quality

You’ve already spent a lot on owning a vehicle, so why would you do anything to compromise its appearance by buying something substandard? No matter how good you are at spray painting or how much you have prepared for the task, it will all boil down on the paint’s quality. 

It doesn’t always mean that unbranded spray paints are bad, but ask the pros, and they will tell you to trust your instinct. If it doesn’t sound good to you, it might not work even though it costs way lower than the brand of paint you are eyeing. 

The brands of these paints say a lot about their quality. It’s like putting a company’s name out there to be judged, not because they are ready to fail, but because they trust that their products are superior to many other paints with no names.

Besides, branded spray paints do not always cost much more than generic ones. Always prioritize quality above anything else if you want an outcome that looks pleasing and would last a long time.

Related Post >> 25 Best Spray Paint Brands of 2022

Heat Resistance

Why do you need heat-resistant spray paint for your car? The car gets hot when you start its engine and drive it around humid areas. You wouldn’t want it to look melting if you used a different paint on its surface.

Spray paints for cars have this capability, but the temperatures they can withstand vary depending on the product’s brands. On average, these spray paints can withstand up to 300 degrees, but there are products capable of withstanding 400 to 500 degrees. So if it’s always sunny where you live, choose the spray paint with higher heat resistance.

Dry Time

Unless you intend to spray paint your car in an area you are confident wouldn’t be exposed to dirt, dust, or an insect flying around, which is nearly impossible, you have to get a product with a fast dry time. No matter how careful or good you are at spray painting, you can’t control the other factors that may decide to pass by or touch the car before the paint gets dry.

The set-to-touch dry times of the highly recommended car spray paints vary from two to six minutes. Do not get anything that will dry longer than that, not unless you are willing to start your project from scratch.

Related Post >> How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry?

Durability

The spray paint for your car has two components – the solids and the fluids or solvents. The more durable paints have a higher ratio of solid to solvent. This will give your car a thicker, more coverage, and better hide if you choose pigmented paint. You will also experience less overspray when using paint containing high solids. This means more value for the money you’ve spent buying the paint.

Rust-preventive

Spray painting your car is not only for aesthetics. It also protects the car from weathering and the formation of rust. This is why it is important to use the kind of paint that effectively prevents rust from forming on your car’s surface.

Adhesion

Paint adhesion is another important factor because this will determine its longevity. Note that some paints are formulated with adhesive for certain surfaces. This is why buying car paint specially formulated for cars is important. 

It’s best to try the paint first at a small and less visible part of the car to see if its adhesion is good. However, if the paint you buy has weak adhesion, you can use a paint modifier or adhesion promoters to make it stronger. 

Finish

The paint acts as a protective finish on the vehicle’s surface. It protects the car’s metal from deteriorating due to corrosion, rust, and other factors. It is crucial to get the kind of paint that will hold up for an extended period and withstand factors that can affect its quality. These are the factors that your car is often exposed to, such as weathering, dirt, and abrasions. 

Related Post >> What Spray Paint Finishes Are Available?

Transparent

While car spray paints come in a colorless and clear finish, it is only advisable if you don’t intend to hide any of the flaws in the car’s surface. If you want to hide the underlying material, you need to find paint with suitable characteristics and color. However, if you only want to make the paint thicker without adding to the color you’ve already applied, you can use transparent paint to get the job done.

Thickness

When it comes to spray paint thickness for cars, it’s best to opt for those with thicker consistency because these are more high-quality. At the same time, thicker spray paint formula tends to be more durable than others. 

Color

You can get car spray paints in many colors. However, if you want to hide an underlying material, you must choose a more pigmented color than what you are trying to hide.

In addition, spray paints with higher color payout require fewer layers. This means there are fewer chances of streaking, allowing for a better overall result. 

Material

You have to find the right spray paint depending on the material you will be working on. These paints are generally flexible. However, you need to find specific types intended for the car’s parts made from other materials, such as a plastic bumper. 

Painting Size

Painting size pertains to coverage or the surface area you intend to work on. You have to get paints with a higher solid to solvent ratio if you want greater coverage. Spray paints with high coverage will make the task easier to finish, and its outcome will last longer.

Size & Volume

Before spray painting your car, make sure that the size and volume of the paints you have bought are enough to cover the vehicle’s surface. You wouldn’t want a vehicle half-baked or, in this instance, half-painted. Painting the other parts of the car some other time will affect the overall look of the paint’s color and finish.

Budget

Choose the right kind of paint for your car to ensure you will be pleased with the outcome. If budget is a concern, you can postpone the project until you have enough money to buy quality paints that will make your car look good, with a color and finish that can withstand the test of time.

Guide for How to Spray Paint on Car

Here are some guidelines to answer and check before deciding to take on the task of spray painting your car:

Can you spray paint on a car?

Spray painting a car can be tasking, but it is also a more cost-effective way to give your vehicle a new look than sending it to a pro.

You are the only person who can answer if you can spray paint on your vehicle. If you are persistent, have a good eye for colors, and intend to get this done, don’t let anybody dissuade you from your plan.

Can you use normal spray paint on a car?

You have to use automotive paint to spray paint your car. You cannot use paints intended for other purposes, such as house painting, wood, or decors. A car spray paint has color pigments and can thin out to give off a good consistency. It also binds the pigments with the binders the paint contains.

What kind of spray paint is best for a car?

When it comes to the best paint for your car, you can only choose from urethane and acrylic paint. Between the two, urethane has proven to be the more durable one. It will last long as it is chip-resistant. Acrylic paints are typically made using water, so you can expect them to last longer than urethane.

How many tins of spray paint for a whole car?

It depends on the size of your car. You will need around four cans of auto primer for an average-sized car. You will divide these auto primer paints into three quarts of color and use a quart of acetone placed in a plastic container.

Should you sand between coats of spray paint?

It’s important to sand in between the application of each coating. This will prevent the outcome from being too shiny. Too much sheen will highlight the imperfections of the surface and reflect light. You also have to sand the surface before spraying the final coat. 

How can I get a smooth surface with spray paint?

If you follow the steps to a tee, your vehicle’s surface will be smooth. Make sure you lightly sand the surface once the coat is completely dry—resume painting after sanding until you’re done.

How long does it take to spray paint a car?

The complete process may take several days to a few weeks. It depends on many factors, including the weather and your spray painting products. Some paints dry longer than other spray paints.

How to Paint A Car with Spray Can?

Tools

Here are the materials you will need to spray paint your vehicle:

  • Paint sprayer
  • Air compressor
  • Sanding pads
  • Power sander 
  • Polyurethane, enamel, or acrylic paint
  • Primer
  • Masking Tape
  • Newspaper
  • Cleaning solvent
  • Sandpaper with 2000-grit
  • Rubbing compound (optional)
  • Mineral spirits or denatured alcohol
  • Rag
  • Clear coat lacquer
  • Primer/undercoat
  • Safety glasses
  • Face mask
  • Paint thinner

Steps on How to Spray Paint a Car

Step #1: Find an Appropriate Location

Find an ideal location where you will spray paint the car. It has ample space to move around and be well-lit and ventilated. Choose an area with minimal dust and where you can easily access electricity. 

Avoid doing the task anywhere that might pose a fire hazard. The spray paint may ignite when exposed to heaters and furnaces, so a residential garage is not recommended.

Step #2: Check for Imperfections

Check the car’s surface for any imperfection. They will affect the final look of your painting job, so you must remove plastic or chrome trim, sand out rust, and fix visible dents. You can replace trim and moldings once you’re done.

Step #3: Smooth Out the Surface

Make the surface of the vehicle smooth by sanding it out. Use circular motions in sanding your car. This is a crucial step for the spray paint to adhere better to the surface. You can sand out just enough for the paint to adhere if you are in a hurry. However, it is better to sand up to the original primer or up to the bare metal of the surface.

Step #4: Clean the Surface

Put mineral spirits or denatured alcohol in your rag and clean the vehicle’s surface. This will remove the oil residue in the car for better paint adherence.

Step #5: Cover the Parts that Will Not Be Painted

Cover the car parts you don’t intend to paint, such as door handles, grills, glass, window trim, and mirrors. Cover them with newspaper and masking tape.

Step #6: Apply the Primers

Apply a self-etching and corrosion-resistant primer on the surface if you have sanded it out to its bare metal.

Read the primer’s instructions and follow the proper duration for curing. Once the surface is primed, sand it once more but not too much. Avoid exposing the metal surface. Slightly damp a rag with a thinner and wipe the newly-primed surface.

Step #7: Prepare the Spray Paint

Prepare the spray paint according to package directions.

When spray painting your car, keep a distance of at least six inches between the paint and the car’s surface. Apply it in even and thin coats using a side-to-side sweeping motion. The number of coatings will depend on the material and the paint you are using. But typically, three to four coats are enough to cover the surface. Follow the recommended drying time of the product, which can take an hour or less.

Sand the surfaces to get rid of any powdery residue, wipe with a rag, and apply the last coating. Use the same technique you did in painting when applying a clear coat of lacquer.

Step #8: Final Finishing Touches

Before removing the masking tape, do not wait for the clear coat to dry. Leave it then to dry according to the package directions.

Buff the painted surface in a circular motion to complete the task. If you want a glossy finish, you can use a rubbing compound to buff the car’s surface.

How to Remove Spray Paint for Cars? 

Some tricks can help you remove excess spray paint or the entire paint of your vehicle. Here are some of the things you can try:

  • Use petrol
  • Treat the paint with a rubbing compound
  • Use Meguiar’s clay to chip off the unnecessary paint
  • You can also use a nail varnish remover. Get the brand with no acetone to effectively get rid of the paint
  • You can clean the problematic areas with warm and soapy water

If all else fails and you still can’t get rid of the paint, and you are already running out of patience, seek professional help.

FAQs

Is it a good idea to paint your car?

Ask an automotive expert, and they will tell you it’s not a good idea. However, some car owners think it will be more cost-effective to paint their cars. It can be done, and yes, it can be cheaper. But it is also possible for the turnout to be more expensive, especially when you got the job done improperly and have to seek a pro’s help.

Do I need a spray gun to apply car paint?

You need a spray gun to paint your car. This will make the process faster and smoother. Just ensure you have the right tool and read all the details on how to use it.

Is it legal to paint the car a different color?

Regarding vehicle identification laws, you can paint your car in any color. It doesn’t matter what color is indicated in your car title if you don’t change the vehicle’s identification number.

Do I have to remove the paint from the car before applying a new coat?

If you are still inexperienced with the task, you better remove the car’s previous paint before starting on your project. It could be too tasking to match the previous paint’s color and hues. Besides, the paint used on the older model of vehicles may be incompatible with gel paints or water-based paints. Remove the surface’s primer and expose its bare metal to get it right on your first try.

Is Rustoleum spray paint good for cars?

Rustoleum is a highly regarded brand when it comes to spray paints for cars. It can be trusted to give your vehicle an excellent finish and can also last a long time. 

What is the most durable automotive paint?

As long as it’s properly maintained, urethane paint will last longer and is known to be among the most durable automotive paints.

Final Words

Spray painting your car can be very exciting. However, it requires extensive preparation. You should also thoroughly research the spray paint and how to apply it to avoid costly mistakes. 

Luckily, with the shortlisted spray paints mentioned above, deciding on which spray paint to choose will be much more manageable. Just make sure to pick one that best fits your car’s needs and your personal preference. 

Also, when applying the spray paint on the car, make sure to follow its instructions and the general steps on how to apply it. This way, you can get the same results as you would if you had a professional paint it. 

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