How to Strip Car Paint to Metal
Before you figure out how to strip the paint on your car to bare metal, you should should first ask the question, should I strip all of the paint off. Depending on the type of job you're doing, it may actually be better not to strip all of the paint off.
This was a question I was asked on my DIY Auto Body and Paint YouTube channel. In this Q&A video, I am going to explain why you may not want to strip the paint and how I strip paint when needed.
That is my opinion on stripping paint and the methods I use. I hope you enjoyed this video and if you have auto body and paint question, then go to one of my video and ask it in the comment area of the video. I try my best to respond to most questions or to create a video response like this one.
If you are having problems with the video playing for some reason...no worries, I included the transcript below.
Hey YouTube, this is Donnie Smith. And I'm back with another Q&A video where I'm answering your questions that you have on my YouTube channel. In this video, I'm gonna be answering a question about stripping paint, you know, if I should strip the paint, do you recommend stripping the paint? And if I do need to strip, you know, down to the metal, what method do you recommend doing that? Well, I'm gonna help answer these questions in this video. So Jon Jon asks, "I have a quick question for ya. "What if the body has some dents or dings "that need to be straightened out "and/or filled with body filler? "Would you recommend stripping to metal completely? "If so, what is your preferred method "to strip to bare metal? "Thanks for the videos, man. "You have a lot of good info." And I thank you for asking the question. I thank all of you for watching these videos and leaving your comments and questions. And I think it's great that the DIY out there, you know, kind of learning how to do this, you know, you're asking questions, wanting to learn more about it. You know, that's what excites me because I think this industry needs more people going into this career field. You know, I know a lot of shops, and body shops, and dealerships out there, that you know, they really want, they really need more technicians entering into this industry and there's kind of a shortage of 'em, you know, a shortage of people interested in this. And I think what the problem is, you know, when I was growing up, you know, I helped my dad. I think everybody did kind of did things with their dads. Well, there's just not as much of that exposure these days. And, you know, they just don't know about this type of work. And you guys out here, you know, whether you're doing this as a career or messing with this in your garage. You know, you are exposing this to other people whether you know it or not, a friend of yours, or your son or daughter may be helping you, and you know, it may end up being something that they want to do as a career, so anyway, I appreciate all of you guys for watching and asking questions. Okay, so to answer the question, if there's some dings and dents, would I strip it to metal? And I'm assuming that you're talking about a car that has good paint, it's in good condition, but you're gonna have to do a couple dents anyway. Do I strip the complete car to metal? And I would say no. You know, I really don't think you're gonna benefit a lot from stripping the whole car to metal. And the reason I say that is because you got the factory coatings on that car from the factory. So you've got your E-coat. You know, that's what's for corrosion protection. You know, it's usually dipped in E-coat. Then you got your undercoatings, and your base coats, and your clear coats. And I really think that that's gonna provide the maximum corrosion protection for you. Now we've got really awesome products these days like the premium body fillers, they have zinc in 'em, you know, which is gonna provide corrosion protections. We've the awesome epoxy primers and the self etch, we're using self etch now. We've got all these different products that we can use to provide the corrosion protection, but I would prefer to leave the factory E-coat on there if possible. Now there are exceptions. You know, maybe there's a reason you need to strip this car, complete, maybe it's an old restoration job you're doing and there's some rust, or for whatever reason, maybe too many paint mills, you need to strip some down. But if that's not the case, I would not strip it down to metal. So the answer to that question, if you got four or five, however many spots that you're gonna be doing some body work on, let's say you got those spots, and of course those areas where you're gonna do body work, you're probably gonna take down to metal 'cause you're gonna have to add body filler, you know, you straighten the metal, add your body filler, you know, prime and block. And I would just do those spots with that. And the rest of the car, if in good condition, I would just final sand with the 500. Now if you're thinking that you're gonna apply the primer surfacer to give yourself something to block, you know, for the level, you know, to do that extra leveling, you know, really, the clear coat on the car, you know, that really provides a pretty good primer surfacer in the, what I mean by that is, you know, you can sand that, and you can actually level that just like you would with a primer surfacer. So if you're wanting to block the whole car just to get it level, you can go ahead and block that clear coat to help you level that and make sure there are no imperfections. Now, if it's an older car, has rust spots here and there, and you're kind of doing like more of a restoration type job, I may say going to the metal may be a better option because you're probably gonna have to get to that metal. And some of those older cars, you don't know what's underneath it. You know, you don't know, you know, there's an inch of body filler or what kind of coating. So a lot of times, on the older restoration jobs, I would recommend going ahead and stripping those down to metal. And something like that, in restoration, probably some kind of blasting's gonna be your best option. For the older cars with thick metal, you can sandblast those. You gotta be careful not to warp 'em, but you can sandblast 'em. But for a lot of the thinner metals, you know, the media blaster which may cost a little bit more, but you know it's materials that's not gonna heat the metal up and warp it like sand would. You may use that as an option to strip it to metal. But for what I do, I'm not really doing restoration. I'm just doing more of your average body shop type jobs out there. I really don't strip a lot to metal. If it needs it, a couple panels or whatever, I usually just use a DA with 80 grit. You know, say I have a hood, a rooflet, decklet and a roof that needs to be stripped to metal, I just prefer to get some 80 grit, sand it down with that 80. And it seems like I can do that pretty fast. There are some people out there that do prefer chemicals. There are chemicals on there, chemical strippers that they make that you can put on there that help soften the paint up and you get that off. And that's, a lot of people like that method. Me, I just really never did like chemical strippers. Main reason is because it seems like it makes a really big mess and then you gotta neutralize the stripper, you know, get all that off there. And then it seems like you usually have to end up DAing a lot of the, there's gonna be some paint left behind, you know, pieces here and there. So in my opinion, and again, I don't have the only opinion, I know there's a lot of different people with a lot of different opinions, but I justto use 80 grit on a DA to strip a couple panels down to metal. Now if you're stripping the whole car down to metal, that's a lot of stripping, so that's a lot of paint removal. So probably, you're gonna be best looking at one of the options like media blasting. It might cost a little bit more or something like that. And again, like I said, there are a lot of people out there that do awesome jobs, and if you have another way that you think works better than what I'm talking about, leave it down here, I mean we're all friends here. We're all learning from each other. Don't be ashamed, or scared, or afraid you're gonna hurt my feelings. I mean, we're all here to learn. So if you have a preferred way that you like, leave a comment down and let us know. So Jon, without more information about your vehicle, I mean, I don't know if it's a restoration you're doing, an old car, or if it's just one you're thinking, do I need to take this down to metal or not, without more information, I really don't know how to better answer that question. So if I didn't answer the question well enough, be sure and just leave me a comment. Let me know, and I'll try to better answer that. As always, I really appreciate you watching these videos. If you like the video, give us a thumbs up, subscribe to this channel, and we'll see you in the next video.