These Automotive Touch Up hints will make your project successful:

Repairing your vehicle can be a very time and cost consuming task, so why not do it yourself! With these DIY automotive touch up hints you can become a painting master and repair your car with low costs.  Want to take a guess as to the biggest issue with applying spray paint (whether it be primer, base coat or clear coat)?


You should always make sure to test the color of the paint you ordered! Sometimes people can pick the wrong color code. If you follow out instructions to find yours then you won’t need to worry about this! But always double check to make sure! Our business cards we send with you in our orders have a test section on the back!

Paint (basecoat) will not bubble, curdle, blemish, fish-eye or anything else if the underlying surface has been prepped correctly. So in order to prep a surface, you need to do at least 2 things:

First, you have to fully CLEAN the underlying surface of dirt, wax, grease, human oils, etc etc etc. If you don’t properly clean the surface, you are going to encounter an ‘oil and water’ situation – the surface and the paint are going to fight with each other. So if you are working over a panel that’s already on the car, get some soapy (dishwater detergent) warm water & wash off the mud etc. Then for the wax buildup, sticky tree sap & any other type of gunk, take some wax/grease remover or lacquer thinner & CLEAN’ER UP GOOD til you have a perfectly clean surface.

Second, ensure that the paint product will stick to the surface by roughing up the surface with sandpaper, scratch pad etc. Paint will not stick to a slick surface. PERIOD. We sell QUALITY paint, and we can assure you that our paint will lay down beautifully if you properly 1) prep the surface and 2) apply the paint. Our THOUSANDS of happy customers. We have a few unhappy customers. DON’T be one of the unhappy ones – PREP PREP PREP!!!! Prep should be considered one of the, if not the most, important things when applying automotive touch up DIY.

Did you know that in the painting biz PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT?

You got it! And this is no truer than mastering the art of sprayout. A couple of pointers:

  1. We include premium quality spray nozzles that are factory-set so you spray SIDE-TO-SIDE (left to right).
  2. Make sure that the spray tip/arm is moving when paint is spraying out – if it isn’t moving while it’s spraying, you are going to have drips – guaranteed!!!
  3. Practice spraying on something other than your panel. Cardboard isn’t the best surface for practicing as it is very absorbent (which makes it hard to see when you are about to have a drip). Shiny magazine pages work pretty well actually, but they are small – you can tape them together. The best surface to practice on is metal. It’s always better to prime a surface (hey that’s practicing too!!!) first before painting-practicing.
  4. Always try to practice on a vertical surface (hang the surface up) – especially if you’ll be painting a vertical surface – in this situation you’ve got gravity working against you, which creates an ideal environment for a drip. If you can spray out on a vertical surface without drips, you’re doin’ well!
  5. As a side note, if you can master the art of spraying on metal then painting on wood or sheet rock will be a breeze.

Which is harder to apply, spray paint base coat or clear coat?

If you guess spray paint you are wrong! Clear coat is a LOT harder to spray out. Why?

  1. Unlike primer or spray paint (base coat), it is so much harder to SEE clear coat going on. If you can’t see a drip forming, you’re gonna form a drip. Our natural inclination is to just keep spraying with clear coat because we don’t see a layer on the paint surface. That’s when problems occur.
  2. Thickness. Keep in mind that the purpose of paint is to COLOR a surface – Clear coat’s function is to PROTECT the paint – so it make sense that the thickness of clear coat is going to be a lot more than the thickness of paint. Clear coat tends to spray out more material per second than base coat. Beware, it happens quicker than you think!
  3. So, the way you get enough clear coat protection over the top of your paint is to do multiple coats.
  4. Clear coat may appear to look discolored; caramel in color. Why? Typically this is because it’s been applied to thickly. Wait a few WEEKS and this will go away. Promise.
  5. Always use the premium adjustable nozzle we supply with your base coat and clear coat. This nozzle is 10 times better than the factory one because it has a vertical spray pattern – the factory nozzles you get with a typical spray can from an auto parts or home improvement store have a circular (round) spray pattern. Using these is a prime way to create uneven coverage and drips.
  6. We can’t emphasize enough to READ THOSE APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS that were sent with your order… To see a video on application check these YouTube videos!

Orange Peel and Clear Coat

You must buff the surface to get out the ‘orange peel’ effect and to get that shine to emerge. Remember to make sure the clear coat is at the proper temperature before applying. Around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You can submerge the can in a glass of warm water to heat the can up, or a cool glass to cool it down if it was in your hot garage!

Yep, even the paint jobs from car manufacturers and professional body shops has the orange peel (ripple) effect in it. This has to be buffed out. Remember, when it comes to preventing orange peel it doesn’t matter what clear coat you’re using or the price you paid for it, it can happen.

But wait, do you think we were kidding when we say ‘Wait 30 Days before buffing’?

No! Why is this important? Well, if you purchased our 1K clear coat, it catalyzes (gets hard) using moisture in the air. Sorry folks, but you just gotta let time do its job. Wait those 30 days – especially in colder conditions.

If you purchased our ERA Paints 2K Clear Coat then you are good to start buffing within 48 hours. Can you do it sooner? Sure, but to be on the safe side we recommend to wait a bit.

Utilize the Proper Automotive Touch Up DIY Tools

Most people who choose the path of DIY want to keep the price down, that’s why they’re doing it themselves right? This is great, and what we want to help you accomplish.

At the ERA Paints shop we offer a variety of kits. But we don’t want you skipping over the primer or clear coat. These are paramount to achieving a great end result. Just because we have kits that leave some of these out doesn’t mean you should buy those because they’re cheaper. We create these kits in case our shoppers already have clear coat or primer at home and just need to match their color with a premium quality base coat. If you don’t have these you should purchase the full kit and use all the pieces even if it’s more expensive. The whole point is to save you thousands of dollars in auto body costs. But if you don’t follow the necessary steps you’ll most likely have to do the process multiple times which will cost you money and time in the long run. Do it correct the first time so you don’t have to do it again!

Still have questions? We are here to help, give us a call at 971-770-2372 Monday through Friday 7am to 2pm PST and we will do our best to help you. If those times aren’t convenient, send us an email at, we will answer right away.

We pride ourselves on quality products, competitive prices and outstanding customer satisfaction.

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