How to Paint an Antique Tractor

Written by casey kennedy
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How to Paint an Antique Tractor
Antique tractors can be made to look new again with primer and paint. (old tractor image by Edsweb from

Restoring an antique tractor is a fun and rewarding experience. Once all the parts are restored and the engine is back to running, however, you may decide that it also needs a new coat of paint. You may not know it, but many tractor companies still provide the same paint colours that your antique tractor may have had when it was new. If you choose to use these colours, it will not only return your antique tractor to its original state, but a good paint job can help keep the metal from rusting and deteriorating any further.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Heat gun
  • Putty Knife
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • 350-grit sandpaper
  • Orbital sander
  • Masking tape
  • Painter's tape (optional)
  • Large garbage bags (optional)
  • Painter's Mask
  • Protective eyewear
  • Protective clothing
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint sprayer

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  1. 1

    Use a heat gun and putty knife to remove the old decals from the tractor. You may also wish to use 80-grit sandpaper if a heat gun is not available.

  2. 2

    Decide if you will sand the down to the bare metal. Use an orbital sander with 350-grit sandpaper to rough up areas that will not be taken to the bare metal and the 80-grit sandpaper on areas that will.

  3. 3

    Apply masking tape or painter's tape to areas you will not be painting, such as the dashboard and lights.

  4. 4

    Cover the seat, engine and tires with large garbage bags. Make sure all gaps are sealed to keep paint from bleeding through.

  5. 5

    Don protective eyewear, clothing and a painter's mask before you begin to apply the primer.

  6. 6

    Spray the tractor with the appropriate primer. If you have sanded to the bare metal, you will need to use a primer that will stick to it. All areas with exposed bare metal will require three to five coats. Apply one good coat of primer to the rest of the body.

  7. 7

    Use 350-grit sandpaper and lightly sand the primer until all areas are smooth.

  8. 8

    Apply three coats of paint to the tractor. Lightly spray-paint the first coat onto the tractor and allow to dry. Apply medium to heavy coats for the second and third. Allow each coat to dry at least one to two hours before applying the next.

Tips and warnings

  • The engine of the tractor may be painted the same way that the body was, except primer is not used, since it is too hard to sand.
  • When painting a tractor that is two different colours, paint one colour first and then allow the paint to dry (cure) for at least two days before painting with the second colour. If you tape the newly painted area and it is not dry, the tape will remove the paint when you pull it off.

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