News & Advice

News & Advice

Can I Paint A Car With Rust-Oleum?

Can I Paint A Car With Rust-Oleum

Yes, you can paint a car with Rust-Oleum paint, which is a popular choice for DIY car painting projects due to its affordability and availability. Rust-Oleum offers a variety of spray paints and coatings that are suitable for automotive use, including enamel paints that are known for their durability and rust-prevention qualities. Painting a car with Rust-Oleum—or any paint not specifically formulated for automotive use—requires careful preparation and application to achieve a satisfactory result.

Here are some tips and considerations if you decide to use Rust-Oleum for your car painting project…


  • Surface Preparation – The key to a successful paint job is thorough preparation. The car’s surface must be cleaned, sanded, and any rust must be removed before painting. In the case of Rust-Oleum, applying a primer is also recommended to ensure better adhesion and a smoother finish.
  • Rust Treatment – If your car has rust, it’s best to treat these areas before painting. Rust-Oleum offers rust reformer and rust-inhibitive primer products that can convert rust into a paintable surface or protect against further corrosion.


  • Spray Cans vs. Professional Equipment – Rust-Oleum is commonly available in spray cans, which can be used for the application. While this is convenient, achieving an even, professional finish with spray cans can be challenging. Alternatively, Rust-Oleum paint can be thinned and applied with a spray gun, which requires more preparation but can lead to a more uniform coat.
  • Multiple Thin Coats – Whether using spray cans or a spray gun, it’s best to apply multiple thin coats rather than a few thick ones. This approach helps prevent runs and drips and ensures the paint dries evenly.
  • Drying Time – Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times between coats. Rushing the process can result in a finish that is not durable.


  • Sanding and Buffing – After the paint has fully cured, sanding with fine-grit sandpaper followed by buffing can enhance the shine and smoothness of the finish.
  • Clear Coat – Applying a clear coat over the Rust-Oleum paint can add gloss and protect the color from fading and wear. Ensure the clear coat is compatible with the paint you’ve used.


  • Durability – While Rust-Oleum can provide a good finish, it may not be as durable as automotive-specific paints designed to withstand the elements and the wear and tear of driving.
  • Cost vs. Quality – Painting a car with Rust-Oleum is significantly cheaper than a professional paint job or using high-end automotive paints. The finish might not be as professional in appearance or as long-lasting.

Painting a car with Rust-Oleum is a viable option for those on a tight budget or looking for a DIY project. With careful preparation and application, you can achieve a decent finish. Manage your expectations regarding the durability and appearance compared to professional automotive paint jobs.

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