At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

How do I Paint a Car Interior?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

There are several factors to consider when deciding to paint a car interior. It is often much easier to paint a car interior if the pieces are removed from the vehicle. Since many components of an automobile's interior are constructed from plastic, great care must be taken to ensure that no parts are damaged while removing them. Before paint can be applied, all of the interior pieces need to be cleaned with a quality grease remover and allowed to dry thoroughly. Because of the wide variety of different types of materials used in creating a car's interior, attention must be given to ensure the proper types of cleaners and paints are used in the process.

When preparing to paint a car interior, the disassembly process should be performed cautiously. Many of the interior trim pieces use small and fragile plastic clips that will render the part useless if they are broken. Special tools, sometimes called trim tools, are available to remove inner door panels and trim items without damaging these clips. The expense of purchasing these tools is often less than the cost of replacing one interior panel. Once removed, it is wise to label all parts with a location and orientation mark such as "inner kick panel, right side." This will aid in properly replacing the parts when they are ready to be reassembled.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

The most important step when preparing to paint a car interior is the cleaning and preparation of the parts. Due to the very nature of many interior pieces, contact with human hands is inevitable. Oils from the skin can create resistance to paint adhesion, and in many cases, when trying to paint a car interior over oils, the paint will simply peel right off once dried. Wiping the panels with a quality grease remover such as those used in automobile exterior paint preparation should be used during prep work to paint a car interior. If the process will involve painting the interior's cloth, vinyl or leather, special cleaners are available to properly prepare them for painting as well.

When deciding to paint a car interior with many different material types such as plastic, cloth and vinyl, it is imperative that the proper paint be used for each material type. Often, paint used on plastic will not work on cloth and so on. Each different material will require a specialized paint or dye to perform the job properly. When purchasing products to paint a car interior, it is also important to use a common manufacturer for all paint products. Failure to do so could result in a blotchy, mismatched interior due to the different and varying shades of any given color from different manufacturers.

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Man with hands on his hips
      Man with hands on his hips