Are you experiencing paint issues in your car? Wondering what takes the paint off cars? The problem is that if your paint is chipping away, it can be an inconvenience for you. If the issue is serious enough, then it may need to be tackled by a professional detailer or body shop.
However, there are measures one can take themselves to remove the offending paint before it becomes too great of an eyesore.
Table of Contents
What Takes Paint Off Cars Fast
There are many items and products that can strip away the paint and I want to put them in 3 categories:
- Using Chemical
- Using mechanical paint removal
- Manual paint removal
1. Using Chemical Strippers
First of all, I want to mention that there are many options for stripping the paint and you should look into them and see whether they meet your needs and your budget.
What Are Chemical Paint Strippers?
When talking about getting rid of paint issues on cars, you will need to know what the specific chemical is that removes the paint so we can figure out how it works. Let’s take a look at a few common paint removing chemicals that you can use to remove the offending paint.
What Does Acetone Remove?
Acetone removes all types of paints. You should be very careful when using it because it is known to cause damage to rubber seals, plastic and vinyl. Acetone is not a good option to use if you have any aftermarket parts on your car as they might not survive the acetone as well as the original factory parts.
How Long Does Acetone Take to Work?
Acetone is extremely effective when it comes to getting rid of the paint. It has the ability to not only strip the paint but also remove any sealant. That means that you will need to use an abrasive scrub brush to break up the sealant crusts that are left behind by Acetone.
Acetone is not the best option if you are after the final finish on your car. Its primary purpose is to strip the paint but does not finish anything. If you are looking for a great finish, then Acetone will not do this for you. It needs to be followed by an abrasive polish or pads to take away any remaining residue that is left behind.
What Does MEK Strips Paint?
Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK) is primarily used in stripping paints and sealants. It has the ability to pull out any oils in your paint so it can be used in combination with other products like acetone. MEK will remove all types of paints but I would recommend using them in combination with substances that are designed to clean up oils.
How Long Does MEK Take to Work?
Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK) takes quite some time to strip away paint. Its main purpose is stripping oil and it’s very good at doing this. But, it does take time to do the job. Additionally, you should use gloves when using MEK because it can cause skin irritation to some people. If you are worried about getting your hands or clothing messy, then this option is not the best one. It will take quite some time for this chemical to work so just be aware of that before you start working with it.
What Does Lacquer Thinner Strip Paint?
Lacquer thinner is used to strip away lacquer-based paints. It also works extremely well at removing grease and oil from your cars so it’s a great option if you have a lot of greases stuck in your car.
How Long Does Lacquer Thinner Take to Work?
Lacquer thinner takes quite some time to strip away paint from your car. This is because it can remove the surface tension of your paint allowing the layers to separate from one another.
Is Lacquer Thinner Toxic?
Yes, lacquer thinner is toxic and can cause severe harm to you if not stored properly.
2. Using mechanical paint removal
If you take your car to a garage, it’s a high chance that they will use an automated paint remover.
How Does the Paint Stripping Machine Work?
Paint stripping machines are designed to remove paint from your car. They do this by using heat and pressure to separate the layers of paint that are on your car. The paint strippers can be set on different options for different types of paints and sealants.
What Aftermarket Products Work with this Machine?
The paint stripper machine uses either hot air or steam to get the job done. This will ensure that the paint is not damaged along the way. With this machine, you can remove overpainted, cracked, chipped and faded paint easily. This machine will also work with many types of sealants. You may be wondering why it would work on some sealants and not others.
A common reason for this is because their properties are different for different users. I don’t want to talk more about that as I am sure that you have a lot of questions.
What Aftermarket Products Do Not Work with this Machine?
If you have any aftermarket parts on your car, then it might not work with this paint stripper machine. So make sure that any aftermarket parts are removed from the paint cavity. If they are removed, then it would work perfectly fine with this machine.
How Long Does it Take?
This machine is very fast when removing paint from your car. For instance, you can get a complete paint removal in about 30 minutes. It can stop and start like using an abrasive pad to remove the paint which can get quite boring but it will get the job done.
How Safe Is Using a Paint Stripping Machine?
I would not worry about the safety of these machines as they are manufactured for professional use with professional equipment. If you are using this machine to remove paint from your car, then you will be very safe as long as you follow all the instructions and guidelines that come with the machine.
How Much Does it Cost?
The price of these machines depends on their quality and what they can do for you. You can find cheaper versions but pay attention to their quality. Paying less does not always mean that you are getting a great product so make sure to do some research on this matter before buying anything.
3. Manual paint removal
The last method I want to mention is to use sandpapers to take the paint off a car. While this is not the best option, it can get the job done when you are in a hurry.
How Does It Work?
The sandpaper will work by rubbing off the paint that is on your car with sandpaper. The more layers you have, the more sandpaper you will need. For instance; your factory paint with an additional layer of clear coat would definitely be harder to remove than an aftermarket paint job.
What Aftermarket Products Work With Sandpaper?
You can use sandpaper to remove most aftermarket paints. These paints are usually very easy to work with. Factory paints are not suited for this method because their layers are too thick and therefore requiring more time and effort for removal.
What is the difference between using sandpaper on factory paint vs aftermarket paint?
This is because of the layers that they have. The layers on aftermarket paints are usually very thin (such as single stage or basecoat/clearcoat). Factory paints are more difficult to remove because they have many layers on the paint. These layers are very hard to remove with sandpaper because of their thickness.
How Long Does it Take?
It will take you longer to remove paint with sandpaper than using an automated machine or MEK. But this method will get the job done when you don’t have any alternative.
I would say that it will be best to avoid sandpaper if possible. You can buy a paint stripper machine from a car parts store for about $50-$150 depending on the type of machine you want or using a combination of some chemicals to get the best results.
Hi everyone, My name is Ollie Barker.
As a seasoned auto expert I have 25 years of experience working in repair and detailing shops. I love to share my tips & tricks to all car lovers, so that’s why I’m here at Automotive Gearz publishing my content, sharing my passion. Also, I’ve been giving my recommendations on which products are the best to have on the market. I always thought it was hard to pick the right part, so hopefully I can make that a bit easier for you.
Hope you enjoy your time on my little blog!