How to remove old tractor paint

Updated April 17, 2017

Most old tractors were painted with an industrial paint and no clear coat to protect the paint. After years of sitting in the sun, rain and cold, most tractors have peeling or flaking paint. Removing old tractor paint is a necessary process if the tractor is to be painted again. All old paint must be removed before the preparation for the new paint can take place. Learn how to remove old tractor paint and get started on cleaning up your tractor.

Park the tractor away from any water source, such as an animal water trough or stream. The solvents used are highly toxic and can be deadly if ingested.

Pour the paint stripper directly on the tractor and allow it to soak for a minute. Wipe the paint and solvent away with a rag. For tough areas, use a wire brush to remove the paint.

Soak the rag in the stripper and wipe it on any area of the tractor that the stripper cannot be poured onto. Allow the rag to sit on the area for a few minutes to soak.

Wash the tractor with car wash soap and water. Rinse the tractor thoroughly and allow it to dry. Apply a self-etching primer to protect the metal surface from rust if the tractor isn't going to be painted immediately. The self-etching primer can easily be sanded off later.


Always wear protective gloves and a respirator when working with chemicals.


Don't allow the chunks of paint to stay on the ground. Pick the paint up and dispose of it properly. Some old paint may contain lead, which is highly poisonous.

Things You'll Need

  • Solvent-based paint stripper
  • Gloves
  • Respirator mask
  • Rag
  • Water
  • Car wash soap
  • Wire brush
  • Self-etching primer
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About the Author

Since 1997 Jenny Carver has served as editor and freelance writer for many offline and online publications including,, "Hoof Beat News," "Import Tuner" and others. Carver owns a custom automotive shop where she has been doing paint and body work, custom interior work and engine building for over 11 years.