Painting Car with Airless Sprayer – How to Paint Car with Airless Sprayer

Last Updated on May 9, 2022 by Bright Calister

Painting car with Airless Sprayer? This article has made a guide for you on how to paint your car with an airless paint sprayer. An airless paint sprayer for cars is among the essential pieces of equipment you can have. It is necessary for do-it-yourself projects. The tool is easy to use and can paint a room in a few hours.

In summary, the tool is faster than a roller or brush. In addition, you can use it for many paint jobs. An airless paint sprayer makes the task of painting a car easy. However, it will necessitate a significant amount of effort on your part.

Sprayers may not produce an even atomized mist. For that reason, you will have a coarse finish on the vehicle. But, you can repair this problem by thinning the paint with extra reducers and applying additional coats.

This article has made a guide for you on how to paint your car with an airless paint sprayer.

How to use an airless sprayer to paint a car

As we mentioned previously, it is possible to paint a car with an airless sprayer, but the process is complicated.

If you want to get a glass-smooth finish that you admire in modern cars, the sprayer must produce an atomized mist of paint. Only a few airless sprayers will produce an atomized mist of paint.

You can overcome this problem by thinning the auto paint more with a reducer so that the sprayer can achieve the desired mist. But, you need to wear extra coats. According to most paint enthusiasts, the painting section is the easiest part.

A more complicated part is to obtain a clean finish. For this purpose, you need to prep the far properly and use the appropriate base coats and a primer.

Why would you use an airless sprayer on your car?

Although the airless sprayer is difficult to work with, there are good reasons why car owners like it!


An airless sprayer allows you to be more accurate. It allows you more control over how to apply the material onto any object or surface that you are spraying. Therefore, a professional painter will need accuracy in rushing with an airless system.

Works better in wide areas

With better accuracy, it gives the painter more coverage than spray cans because it won’t be as thick underneath the nozzle where it doesn’t have good coverage.

Better coverage

With the airless sprayer, you will get better coverage without using many materials because the material is not coming out of the nozzle in tiny streams. Instead, it comes out all at once. So product usage is more efficient when you use an airless sprayer.

You can easily buy the equipment; although they are not expensive, good ones are available.

No clogging

With an airless sprayer, you don’t have to worry about clogging, either, because the paint does not come out in small droplets.

How to use an airless sprayer properly for painting a car

There are many products. Many brands have their best practices for cleaning and maintaining the airless sprayer. But, you should take some cautious steps before using oil-based paints.

The difference is that the unit sprays paint rather than water or some lubricants on metal surfaces.

With water-based paints, you will not have issues if you clean the tool properly after each use. The entire drying process is not as critical since water does not leave a residue that can create corrosion or rust.

On the other hand, oil-based products require the equipment to be completely dried before letting any humidity get into it.

Moisture can create corrosion because these materials contain water, so they are more sensitive than using a water-based product. So cleaning is necessary because you want to keep all parts lubricated; hence they will not rust too soon.

What you should know before buying an airless sprayer

So there are some things. The pressure setting is the most important thing you should know when using any device with oil-based products. Oil-based have a lower PSI rating than water-based.

For this reason, oil-based paints can damage an airless sprayer if it is not set to the appropriate PSI for the particular material.

If the PSI is too low, you’ll waste a lot of paint because you’ll have to apply it numerous times over the surface to get it thick enough.

Even at high-pressure settings, an airless sprayer will produce wet-looking results when spraying automotive finishes, so don’t go all the way to the maximum PS.

You won’t get the mirror-like finish you admire, and if your unit doesn’t have a variable pressure control, it will take too much paint. Also, it will cause parts to run together and create an unpleasant mess.

Even with water-based paints like urethane, an airless sprayer provide better results than brushing or rolling. But the drawback is that you have to ensure your equipment is set correctly.

If the serving is too low, you will end up with a ruined and uneven surface. In addition, there will be a lack of coverage over the entire surface.

The pressure level will depend entirely on the thickness of the material being applied. Generally, you should run the unit between 2000 PSI and 4000 PSI. So there is enough force shooting out to the surface for it to appear wet immediately after it leaves the nozzles.

You shouldn’t go lower than 2000 PSI because you will be wasting the paint. Also, you shouldn’t go higher than 4000 PSI because the color will end up being satin or semi-gloss looking, which is not what you want.

It is essential that when setting up your unit, you have someplace convenient to attach it to a breaker box- as most people would have in their garage or shop area. The step will enable you to turn it on and off.

If let on, even at a low-pressure threshold, the motor inside of the machine will start to overheat and wear down faster; hence it will not last as long as if it is turned off between usage. If the material being sprayed is delicate, such as lacquer thinner, use a pressure range of 1000 to 2000 PSI.

Alternatively, the best place to start is around 2000 PSI for water-based urethane finish, 2500 PSI if you use single-stage acrylic lacquers, and 3000 PSI for basecoat/clearcoat materials because it has a thicker consistency.

When to avoid airless sprayer

The only reason to avoid an airless sprayer for the automotive finish is when working with solvent-based paints such as lacquer, enamels, and nitrocellulose products.

Although you can use a paint booth or a dedicated room in your home with adequate ventilation set up, this type of material should be applied by brush or roller.
The chemical content can easily clog the unit and harm internal components if not properly removed.

Other ways to spray paint your car

A professional-grade paint sprayer can help paint your car if you deal with fragile liquids. The thicker the liquid, the more difficult it will be to use a sprayer to paint your vehicle or truck.

The best thing for amateur or do-it-yourself users is HVLP type paint sprayers that use air pressure rather than an airless pump system.

You can use a Wagner to paint a car. However, you shouldn’t expect professional results unless you can spend between $500 – $3,000 for a professional-grade paint sprayer and purchase separate material tanks and hoses.

What should I consider before buying an airless sprayer?

There are a few things to think about before purchasing the airless sprayer!


If you need to do some touch-ups around the house or property where you are not spraying more than water-based products, it is best to buy small consumer-grade handheld ones. For example, those made by Wagner will be perfect. Typically, you can usually buy them for under $100.

You shouldn’t pay more except you want to use them often.


The type of material you’ll be spraying will decide the type of airless sprayer you need.

How to spray paint your car – How to paint your car with an airless paint sprayer

Painting a car requires a can or two of paint. A paint roller or a paint sprayer can be used. Also, you need primers, clear coats, and other products for the project.

Although the procedure is hard and needs some talent, it is not impossible to complete the task independently.

Materials necessary for the project

First, you need to create time for the work. The paint job can take at least seven days. Therefore, many people decide to take their vehicle to an auto shop.

However, if you have the time, you can assemble your materials. You will need the following tools:

  • Electric sander
  • Masking tape
  • Paint thinner
  • Safety goggles
  • Face masks
  • Hand gloves
  • 1200-and 2000-grit were and dry sandpaper.
  • Automotive spray gun or an air compressor.
  • Dust extractor ( optional).

Steps to painting a car

Prep the car and painting area

First, you have to find a large space to paint the car in, an area with electricity, clean, and good ventilation is best.

When you get the right spot, you should start prepping the car for the task.
This step encompasses removing dents, rust, and trim and ensuring the body is in the right shape for painting.

Sanding and priming

Next, you have to sand and prime the car. First, use the sandpaper to sand the car’s body in a circular motion to have a smooth surface that the paint can adhere to after applying it.

Here, you can either sand completely down to the metal, the first coat of primer, or until the surface is smooth enough for your paint.

Then, you have to thoroughly clean the body using a rag and diluted alcohol to eliminate any oil and other residue left behind on the car. Afterward, you have to tape up the surface you don’t want the paint to touch.

For example, windows, door handles, and side mirrors must be covered. Start priming when you’ve finished this step. It’s advisable to use a corrosion-resistant primer if you’re going to sand it down to the bare metal. It is best to use a corrosion-resistant primer.

After applying the primer, sand the car once more before wiping the surface down with a rag and thinner. You must allow the primer to cure properly before going to the next step.


After prepping and sanding, you can paint your car. With the paint spray, paint the surface using a side-by-side sweeping movement. Always ensure to keep the sprayer at least six inches away from the surface of the car during painting.

To achieve a beautiful finish, 3 to 4 coats are usually required. Also, you should ensure that the first coat dries properly before adding subsequent ones.

Many paint brands have different for them to properly dry, so you should check with the label on the coat to know the manufacturers’ instructions.

Before applying the last coat of paint, ensure you sand and wipe the surface. Then, apply lacquer using the same strategy as you did when painting.

Next, you have to remove the masking tape, buff off the vehicle, and tidy your workspace.

It is important to wear protective goggles, hand gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants before starting any painting process discussed here.

You need to avoid the paint and primer coming in contact with your skin directly because they can harm you. Also, you should face a mask because paint fumes are dangerous to your health.


What is the Best Paint Sprayer for Car (2022)

When choosing a paint sprayer to be used for painting your car, there are certain factors you need to consider, which include:

  • Its versatility with various types of paint
  • Its durability
  • Cost
  • Its usage ( how is easy it is for beginners)

However, the Top 3 best paint sprayer for painting cars for 2022 includes:

  1. YATTICH Paint Sprayer, High Power HVLP Spray Gun


  • Durable
  • Adjustable Flow Control
  • Suitable for any kind of paint
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Can be transported easily


  • May leak paint if not set properly

2. Wagner Spraytech Control Spray Max HVLP Paint Sprayer


  • Has double nozzles for multi-purpose usage
  • Great performance in all kinds of weather
  • Can be used with different kinds of paint
  • Easy to use


  • Need to pay attention to details while using it

3. Graco Magnum X5 Stand Airless Paint Sprayer


  • Easy usage and easy cleaning
  • Covers a wide range at a time
  • Produces satisfactory result


  • Relatively cost

Do you need to thin paint before using the airless sprayer

Most airless sprayer works fine with different kinds of paint, and in most cases, you don’t need to thin or dilute your paint to get a smooth finish with your airless sprayer. However, in some cases where the paint is too thick, you can thin your paint before using the paint sprayer, although you are still very good to go without thinning.

Do you need to prime your car before painting

Paint sticks better to a car with primer than a car without primer. It is advisable to apply primer before applying paint to your car. You can always paint your car without primer; however, if you want to get the best result and have paint sticking well to your car, then you need to prime your car.

What Pressure level do you need to run your sprayer

The pressure level will depend entirely on the thickness of the material being applied. Generally, you should run the unit between 2000 PSI and 4000 PSI. So there is enough force shooting out to the surface for it to appear wet immediately after it leaves the nozzles.

Conclusion – Painting Car with Airless Sprayer

We have come to the end of the article. We hope the quick and easy guide to painting your car using an airless sprayer explained will be helpful to you.

However, you should remember that painting the car yourself will be a challenging project.

Also, you need to give it a lot of time and effort. However, the steps discussed, the right paint, equipment, and adequate workspace and ventilation will help you accomplish the task. We wish you all the best.

Important Reads:

How to Paint Rims Black Matte

How to remove oil stains from concrete with Coke

Spray paint removal from plastic

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