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How to Paint a Bumper Cover

​Painting a bumper cover can dramatically improve the appearance and value of your car. The bumper cover for the front and rear of the car is the first line of defense and is most commonly nicked, scuffed, and cracked so it is no surprise that this is such a readily available part from both the factory and aftermarket suppliers. Materials Needed

  • New Bumper Cover

  • Sanding Abrasives, Grey Scuffpad, 600 grit Paper, 800 grit paper

  • Paper towels (Lint free is optimal)

  • Tack rag

  • Wax and grease remover

  • Waterborne Contaminant remover ( 50/50 mix of distilled water and ammonia works perfectly)

  • Strainers for paint

  • Primer sealer, hardener, and appropriate reducer

  • Color matched basecoat and appropriate reducer

  • Clear coat, hardener, and reducer

  • Laquer Thinner ( for cleaning your spray gun)

  • Nitrile gloves

  • Respirator

​Equipment Needed

  • Paint gun that has a correct tip size ( see the product data Sheets for proper spray tip size for your paint)

  • Blow gun

  • Air Compressor

  • Air pressure regulator for spray gun

  • Spray bottle for each cleaner

*Terms Defined

  • *Product data sheet: Directions for your paint. This will include what type of spray gun tip to use, surfaces that are suitable for your product, which reducers and hardeners to use with your product, the ratios of how to mix your paint, the flash times between coats, the recoat time, and much more.

  • *Flash Time: Time you must wait between applying coats of the same paint

  • *Recoat Time: Time you must wait until the paint is cured enough to spray the next material on your panel

  • *Modeling: This is an appearance defect that can happen in two ways. The first is your color has not quite covered the panel yet. This is not true modeling, but can give the appearance of modeling. The other way this happens is when your pattern is not correct for your spray gun, the basecoat is put on too heavy, and/or the metallics in the basecoat do not sit correctly. This problem is fixed by reapplying your basecaot with a consistent pattern and not sprayed too heavy.

Example of Paint Modeling

Step 1: Prep ​Your bumper should come either raw or primed with a black primer. Sand the bumper lightly with the 600 grit keeping an eye out for any small imperfections. Next, take the grey scuff pad and scuff the entire surface of the bumper, especially the places hard to reach with the sand paper. Now take the blow gun and blow off the bumper.

Step 2: Clean for Paint Now time to find a spot to spray the part. If a spray booth is unavailable, it is possible to do a decent job in a garage with some proper ventilation. Hang plastic sheeting over anything you don’t want paint to get on as the over spray gets everywhere. Use a fan to pull the overspray away from the garage. Once you have a place to spray you are ready to go. With the wax and grease remover, mist about a third of the bumper cover. Then take a paper towel folded into quarters and wipe until it is dried off. Repeat this process across the face of the bumper. Using the same technique, work across the face of the bumper cover with your waterborne cleaner. Blow off the bumper cover and grab your tack rag wiping the entire surface of the bumper cover.

Step 3: Sealer Your part should be prepped, cleaned, and tacked off at this point. ​Your part should be incredibly cleaned. If you see any spots of concern, try using the tack rag to clean the spot. Using the *product data sheet, your paint brand will give the proper mixing ratios and application notes. Mix your sealer exactly for optimal results (this is found in the product data sheet). With the sealer loaded into your spray gun, adjust the fluid knob about 1.5- 2 turns out. Then set your air pressure at the gun to 21lbs. Now adjust the fan pattern of the gun to a 6-inch oval. The pattern should be consistent and not heavy at the ends of the pattern or in the middle. Once the spray gun is adjusted, spray around all the edges of the part staying about 8 inches away from the panel. Now go across the face of the bumper cover using a 50% overlap (do not spray this product heavy to avoid any runs in the sealer). The product data sheet should give a *Flash or *Recoat time (this should be about 5 to 10 minutes). ​Clean your spray gun out thoroughly with lacquer thinner.

Step 4: Basecoat The sealer should be flashed off by this point and ready to put your color matched basecoat on the part. ​Mix the basecoat according to the product data sheets. Depending on the brand and grade of the basecoat, the mixture should consist of the color and reducer. Sometimes the basecoat also requires a hardener. Start by spraying the edges of the part then do a 50% overlap across the face staying about 8 inches away. The basecoat phase is finished to coverage. (this means that there is not a certain number of coats to finish the basecoat but rather the paint should look consistent across the entire part and not look blotchy, or modeled as it is called more commonly). Basecoat should cover in 2-3 coats with the exception of reds, yellows, oranges, and some silvers which tend to struggle to gain coverage. Be sure to read the product data sheet for *flash times in between coats, but it should be approximately 5 minutes depending on temperature and air flow. Clean out your spray gun with lacquer thinner.

Step 5: Clear Coat ​Make sure your basecoat is thoroughly dry and mix the clear coat according to your product data sheet. The clear coat mixture should consist of clear coat, hardener, and reducer. The ratio will vary depending on brand, but be as precise as possible with your mixture. Your product data sheet should also tell you how many coats of clear are recommended. In this instance, we are going to use two coats of clear coat. Load your spray gun with the clear coat and spray around all the edges. Now spray the face of the bumper cover using a 50% over lap pattern and staying about 6-8 inches away from the panel. WARNING: Clear coat is very easy to run so use medium wet coats. The clear should be mostly glossy on your first coat, but not overly glossy. The second coat, spray it to look like you want it to look. This is easiest done by spraying another medium coat on lightly re-wetting any spots where needed (do this immediately after your second coat or it will create dry spots). If dry spots continue to be an issue, wait the appropriate *flash time, then do one more full coat of clear. If you end up letting it dry with dry spots, these can be fixed along with any dirt nibs with some sand and polishing. Clean out your spray gun with lacquer thinner and let the part dry according to your product data sheet before installing on your vehicle. Don't want to spend the time, money, and hassle of painting your own part? LET US HELP! In need of a new painted part? Painted OEM Parts is committed to providing professionally painted auto body parts with a lifetime warranty, custom color matching, and nationwide shipping. CONTACT US TODAY!


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