How to cure auto paint

Written by katebo
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How to cure auto paint
A newly painted car can take up to six weeks to cure. (Fast old car image by Leonid Tarassishin from Fotolia.com)

Drying and curing automobile paint are two different concepts. Drying usually refers to a solvent or thinner evaporating from the paint whereas curing is about the paint's binder and how it polymerises. In other words, curing is dependent on a chemical reaction versus the evaporative process of drying. Depending on the type of auto paint used on your car, the paint may either dry, cure or dry then cure. Enamel or acrylic enamel paint uses air to cure whereas urethanes and epoxies do not use air to cure. If you are using acrylic enamel paint, there is something you can do to help cure the auto paint.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Respirator
  • Protective eye goggles
  • Catalyst or hardener
  • Paint stirrer
  • Paint sprayer

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Put the car outside away from falling debris. Also keep the car far away from anything that you don't want to get paint on, such as other cars and buildings.

  2. 2

    Put on a respirator which can be obtained from the local hardware store. This protects you from harmful fumes emitted from the catalyst or hardener. Also put on protective eye goggles before beginning.

  3. 3

    Use a catalyst or hardener when applying acrylic four to six weeks to cure, now cures in a matter of days. Mix in the catalyst or hardener into the paint before painting the car. Stir the paint and catalyst or hardener with a paint stirrer until completely mixed.

  4. 4

    Spray the car with the paint, moving in a back and forth, side to side motion.

  5. 5

    Allow the paint job to dry for four to six weeks if not planning to use a catalyst or hardener. Apply polish to the new paint job after it dries, but wait the full four to six weeks to add any wax.

Tips and warnings

  • If you have your car professionally painted, oftentimes they use automotive paint curing ovens and booths to accelerate the paint curing process. There are also automotive heat curing lamps that are portable and use infrared and ultraviolet technology. These can be purchased for home use to help speed up the curing process.
  • If you are planning to set up a commercial spray booth operation, check with the local air quality management district office regarding permit requirements in your area.

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