Thinking of jazzing up your ride's front end? Or maybe you're just tired of your vehicle's old look. Whatever the case is, one good way to change your car's looks without splurging on an expensive upgrade is to get a new grille insert. But what if the factory color doesn't seem to blend well with your vehicle's exterior? The solution is simple: paint the insert for a customized look. Here's what you need to do to paint the insert like a pro:
- Degreasing cleanser or car soap
- Clear paint
- Base paint
Step 1: Wash the insert.
Wash the insert thoroughly to remove traces of dirt, grime, or any contaminant that might prevent the primer and paint from adhering to the surface. A degreasing cleanser or car soap and water is all you need to give the insert a good wash.
Step 2: Buff out the grille insert if it's made of plastic.
Using sandpaper with the right grit, scuff out the plastic insert until the shiny finish becomes dull. Make sure sanding dust is brushed or wiped away. By scuffing out the plastic surface, it becomes rough, which is important to make the paint adhere to it properly. If the insert is made of metal, skip to the next step.
Step 3: Prime the insert.
Apply two coats of paint primer onto the buffed out insert. Make sure that the primer is suited to the material of the insert. If you have a metal insert, an acidic primer will work best because this will etch the metal and make it paint ready. Let the first coat dry for thirty minutes before applying the second coat. If the insert's surface is not made of metal, you can sand the surface a bit once the prime coat is completely dry.
Step 4: Apply paint (base coat).
Apply the base coat (any color you prefer) evenly across the surface. Two coats should be enough to completely cover the entire surface. Make sure all nooks and crannies of the grille insert are covered with paint. Let it dry.
Step 5: Apply clear coat.
For added protection against the elements, apply two to three clear coats once the base coat is dry. Make sure to check the manufacturer's instructions on how many coats to apply. Wait five minutes before applying the next coat. Then let the clear coat dry.
Step 6: Apply shining compound.
For extra shine, rub some shining compound onto the painted grille insert using a cotton cloth or any non-abrasive rag to prevent ruining your new paint job.
- Wait at least four hours before handling a newly painted grille insert.
- Let the paint set in for at least a month before you wax the insert.
- Paint the insert inside a well-ventilated work area. Avoid doing this in an open space to prevent dirt, dust, and other debris from sticking to the paint.
- If you wish to add a chrome coat to your grille, make sure you have the right tools such as an airbrush.