When you want to restore the look of your vehicle, you will probably have to repaint your car. Besides the cost, vehicle owners want to know how the repair will be completed. Well, those answers can be difficult to pin down. Before starting your next project, here are a few things you want to know.
Repainting Your Vehicle
With any repair job, you want to view it in stages. A paint job could take about 40 to 80 hours if you have minor repairs. In the project’s first stage, the technician will have to assess the damage and determine what needs to be fixed before moving to the painting. Take a look at those stages.
The First Stage
During the first step, the technician must remove the components to assess your vehicle’s damage. Disassembly can take a few hours. The front and rear bumper covers will need to be removed. Along with that, the technician will disassemble the light assemblies as well. Older cars with removable trim might need those components taken off during this stage.
The Bodywork Process
Once all the components have been removed or masked, the technician will take the time to assess the damage. The technician marks any spots with chips, dents, or peels. If the vehicle doesn’t have much damage, the technician will start the basic sanding process. Keep in mind that this process can take 30 hours, depending on the severity of the damage.
Sanding out paint damage can require a lot of time. In most situations, the surface will need to be primed and sanded. There are times when the technician must complete these stages in several steps. The drying and curing times of the primer is another factor to consider. If the technician applies a clear coat, you will have to wait another day to allow it to dry. Waiting for drying is usually not included in the labor costs, but it can add time to the project.
When a damaged vehicle arrives at the auto body repair shop, one of the first things the technician does is look at the paint. Cars usually have base colors that are listed on the spec sheet, and you can often find the color code somewhere within the vehicle, like on the inside of the driver-side door. However, the paint is going to fade a little, based on aging and the environment.
This means that relying on the base color might not yield a perfect color match. When that happens, the auto body repair shop has to do one of the following:
- Deal with the mismatched color. If the paint is going to be somewhere that is unnoticeable, the client might be willing to accept the slight mismatch. This is the least desirable option, however, because it makes the repairs obvious.
- Create a custom color. While challenging, this is an aesthetically pleasing option. It’s also time-consuming, moderately expensive, and may require trial and error before the color is correct. This is made more difficult when performed with a visual color matching assessment.
- Repaint the entire vehicle. If the mismatch is going to be very noticeable, the body shop might decide to repaint the whole vehicle. However, this is problematic. The customer or—more likely—the insurance company is not going to want to pay the cost.
Applying the Paint
After the primed surface has been cured, the technician will use a block sander to prepare the surface for the paint application. Block sanding is done on a wet surface. Unfortunately, the process leaves behind sludge and debris. As you may have guessed, the technician must clean the vehicle before applying paint. Washing the car will require drying time, adding more time to the project.
The car is now ready to be prepared for the paint. The technician will wipe off any dirt and grease from the surface. In addition to that, the car needs to be masked for the paint. A sealer is applied to the vehicle, and the tech must wait for it to dry. At this point, paint is ready to be added to the surface. Depending on the size of the project, the painting process could take around two to three hours.
Adding in the Details
After the application, most paints are ready for buffing. Some technicians will give it 24 hours before moving on to this step. Buffing will happen in three phases. First, a rough-cut compound is added to the surface to remove leftover sanding marks. After that stage, a milder compound removes any residue from the first compound. Finally, the last compound will take off any buffing swirls, leaving your vehicle with a deep luster and gloss.
Once again, the technician must wash the vehicle after the buffing. This wash is just a quick one to remove any residue from the surface. The technician will reassemble the car. With that, the vehicle gets a proper car wash, and the tech will dry it off with a soft towel. Some shops take extra time to clean the inside of the door jams, under the hood, the trunk, and wipe down the glass.
Depending on the auto body shop, they could follow all of these steps or add in a few more. There are plenty of details that go into painting a car. When there are more steps, it will add time to the project.
Calculating auto bodywork and painting times can be difficult. There are also unexpected complications that could arise. In a few scenarios, the technician will not know the extent of the damage until everything is removed from the car. Talking to your technician can help you better understand the project’s time and costs.
If you want to get a great quality paint job, you should take your vehicle to an experienced auto body paint repair shop. Before you sign the dotted line, ask about the price of the labor hours. You want to know the associated costs if the project exceeds the allotted time. Also, ask how the shop will address any complications during the project. A paint job takes a lot of work and attention because it is a detailed process. Keep that in mind when you take your vehicle in for a paint repair.
Let Us Paint Your Vehicle!
At Elmer’s Auto Body, we will work to give an accurate estimate for your painting job. We understand the importance of customer satisfaction. Our technicians use the latest tools and techniques to complete the job promptly. Plus, they will work hard to return your vehicle to its pre-accident condition. You can schedule a consultation by calling (856) 218-0202.