How to Thin Car Paint

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How to Thin Car Paint

If you’re a car owner, you’ve probably tried doing a few paint repairs on your automobile. Using car paint is easy, but to maximize its usefulness, you need to know how to thin it properly. Most new do-it-yourself wannabes have trouble with this, task, so to help you out, here’s a quick guide you can follow.

Why Do You Need To Thin Your Car Paint?

Although not all applications requires thinning the car paint, this is very important if you’re planning to use a spray gun to apply it on the vehicle’s surface. Just like other paint types, car paint is thick and might not easily pass through the gun’s nuzzle. It will then result in an uneven color on the surface. The airbrush gun will get clogged continuously. By thinning it, at an appropriate consistency, you’ll avoid this problems. Below are the materials you need for this task.


  • Car paint
  • Plastic container
  • Spray bottle
  • Lacquer or paint thinner
  • Mixing stick


  1. Prepare the paint that you’re going to thin, setting aside an adequate amount for the project. Setting aside all the paint you need for the project at once is a good idea, to ensure the paint will be evenly thinned at the same fashion. Transfer the paint in a clean and dry plastic container.
  2. Get a spray bottle and fill it with lacquer or paint thinner. You can buy these at any hardware store. Make sure you choose the right type of thinner or lacquer to mix with the right type of auto paint you have. The type of thinner you use depends on the contents or ingredients of the paint. Check the guidelines at the back of the thinner container, and pick out one which works with the paint brand contents. Using a spray bottle makes it easier to handle, decreasing the chances of adding too much thinner. Otherwise, your paint will be ruined.
  3. Combine the thinner and the automotive paint. There’s no specific amount of thinner you should use; it depends on the colors and the brands. See if the manufacturer provides an outline so you can have an approximate calculation.
  4. For the best outcome, spray a few squirts of thinner in the paint at a time, as you stir it with the mixing stick. This lets you monitor the consistency of the paint as you go, rather than having to guess the amount you’ll need.
  5. Mix the paint and the thinner. When you reach the appropriate consistency, continue mixing them well. If you want to test the paint’s consistency, pick the plastic container, then tilt it gently from one side to the other. Before you’ve added the thinner, the paint had a slow reflex, and slightly lagged in drifting off the container sides after you tilt it. If you have the right consistency, though, the paint will be drifting at the same speed that you’re tilting the container.
  6. Don’t make the paint too thin. If it is, you’ll see it as you move the container, moving quicker than your tilting motion. If you accidentally make it too thin, just add more paint.
  7. Use the paint on your automobile.

Whether you’re painting a car or just touching up car paint, knowing how to thin the paint is very important. Just remember these easy steps, and you’ll do this perfectly.