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News & Advice

Do I Need To Strip Old Paint Before Repainting Car?

Do I Need To Strip Old Paint Before Repainting Car

Whether you need to strip old paint before repainting a car depends on the condition of the current paint and what you’re aiming for with the new paint job.

Here are some considerations to help you decide…

When Stripping Old Paint Is Necessary

  • Poor Condition – If the existing paint is peeling, flaking, or has extensive rust or damage, stripping it off might be necessary to ensure a smooth and durable new paint job.
  • Multiple Layers – Cars that have been repainted several times might have layers of paint that can lead to an uneven surface or excessive thickness, which could affect the appearance and adherence of the new paint.
  • Restoration Projects – For classic car restorations or when aiming for a high-quality finish, stripping the old paint can provide a clean slate, ensuring that any body work is properly addressed and the new paint adheres well.

When Stripping Old Paint May Not Be Necessary

  • Good Condition – If the existing paint is in good condition, with no signs of damage or rust, and you’re not changing to a drastically different color, you might not need to strip the paint. Instead, a thorough sanding to create a rough surface for the new paint to adhere to might be sufficient.
  • Partial Repainting – For minor repairs or touch-ups where you’re only painting a portion of the car, stripping the entire vehicle might not be necessary. Matching the new paint to the existing color and finish is key in these cases.


  • Time and Cost – Stripping old paint can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process, which can significantly increase the cost of a paint job.
  • DIY vs. Professional – While it’s possible to strip paint yourself using chemical strippers, sanding, or media blasting, it’s a messy and potentially hazardous job. Professional body shops have the equipment and expertise to do this efficiently and safely.
  • Underlying Issues – Stripping paint can reveal hidden problems like rust or body damage that must be repaired before repainting, affecting the project’s scope and cost.

Best Practices

  • Assessment – Have a professional assess the condition of the existing paint and the body of the car. They can recommend whether stripping is necessary based on your goals and the vehicle’s condition.
  • Preparation – Whether you’re stripping the old paint or not, proper preparation is for a good paint job. This includes cleaning, sanding, and priming the surface before applying the new paint.

The need to strip old paint before repainting a car is determined by the condition of the existing paint and the desired outcome of the new paint job. While stripping provides a clean base for high-quality finishes, it may not always be necessary for minor updates or if the current paint is in good condition.

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