What Size Air Compressor For Painting A Car?

What size air compressor for painting a car? Most people are worried about the air compressor size. 

Generally, car painting is an expensive task. That’s why many people want to paint a car at home by themselves. Air compressors are an essential element in the auto industry for painting cars, trucks, and other automobiles. But, most people can’t understand the sizes of air compressors needed for painting cars. 

For painting a car you need an air compressor with more than a 50-gallon tank size,10 HP,  14 to 18CFM per unit, and 10 to 25 PSI air pressure is enough for painting the car. These measurements are very important to understanding the air compressor sizes. If you don’t understand continue reading this article. We will give you a clear idea about the perfect size of air compressor for painting a car.

How does an air compressor work for painting a car? 

Air compressor makes our life easy. We can do any trough task with the compressor. Painting a car is one of them. If you want to paint your can at an affordable price, paint the car yourself at home with the compressor. 

The air compressor run with a motor or an engine. After starting the compressor, it produces compressed air. Then this compressed air is used to spray paint cars. You need a spray gun and nozzle that help you to spray paint with pressure on a car.  Very-fine mist liquid particles cover the car evenly with the spray gun and nozzle. 

You can easily paint your car with the air compressor. But you have to know what size air compressor for auto painting you need

What Size Air Compressor Need for Painting a Car

Painting a car with an air compressor is a time-saving and workable method. But, do you know what size air compressor for painting a car you need? 

You can paint your car smoothly and cover every difficult-to-reach part of the car with an air compressor. But, ensure the right size of the air compressor.

Which air compressor needs you, depends on your task. Like the size of your car, how much area do you want to paint, are you want to paint the full body or only do simple touch-up work or patch repair? 

At first, decide your work area then choose the correct size of air compressor. 

The correct size of Air Compressor you need to paint a car

The air compressor sizes depend on several factors. If you decided to paint your car yourself, read the article properly. We will discuss all the requirements in detail. There are four main factors for matching the correct size of the air compressor according to your task. 

  • Correct CFM Rate 
  • Tank size 
  • Air Pressure
  • Horsepower

What CFM Rating Do You Need

CFM rated how much your compressor delivers air in one minute. The full form of CFM is Cubic Feet Per Minute and it is very important to determine air compressor sizes. 

Which CFM rate is good for you, depends on your task. If you simply want to retouch your car with an air compressor, a 5 CFM rating is enough. But for an efficient car painting, you need a higher CFM rate. 

You can paint a car in a single turn for a long time with a higher CFM rate. Higher CFM delivers the very fine mist liquid particles that spray with a paint-gun nozzle and cover the car with paint and quickly and evenly

You can use a 2-stage air compressor for painting a car. Because a two-stage air compressor comes with 20 CFM and delivers clearer and smooth paint. Remember, you get the softer paint with the higher CFM.  

Most the air compressor CFM rate have between 14 to 18 per unit. Before choosing an air compressor make sure you are looking at the CFM rating according to the task.  

What Tank Size Do You Need?

To determine air compressor size you have to check tank size. The correct tank size can get you smooth and efficient paint on your car. An air compressor with more than 50 gallons is enough for painting a car. 

The tank size and CFM rate complement each other. You need a big tank for higher CFM. You can’t paint a car in one turn with a small tank. 

If you want to paint without refill, choose the big tank. The 60 gallons tank size is enough to paint a car in one shot. The small tank needs refill several times to paint the full car. As a result, the painting will not be smooth, and also the color will not same.  

The air compressor with less than 20 gallons will become hot for running constantly. For this reason, water building in the tank, and you should drain the water.

On the other hand, an air compressor with more than a 50-gallon tank size provides you with smooth and efficient paint. You can paint a car in one shot without refill. Experts recommend the 60-gallon tank size compressor.  

How Much Air Pressure Do You Need?

The second last consideration is the air pressure rating for determining air compressor size. The air pressure unit is PSI (pounds per square per inch). 

Experts recommend using an air compressor of 10 to 15 PSI for the base coat. Also, they recommend, rise the PSI level up to 20-25 for getting an even coating. 

You can choose a 90 PSI air compressor for painting a car. You get the best result from the PSI rating. 

How Much Horsepower Do You Need?

Horsepower is also mentioned as HP. It is the last factor to determine air compressor size. The amount of work that an air compressor can do is defined by horsepower. But horsepower is less important than other factors. 

The lower HP air compressor provides the same amount of work as the higher HP. So higher horsepower doesn’t mean that the compressor is good. 

For painting a car 10 HP air compressor is enough. But, higher horsepower air compressors are more efficient and also used for other works. Experts recommend a higher HP air compressor because it gives power to other tools. 

Minimum Size Air Compressor for Painting a Car

Air compressor with more than 50 gallons tank and higher CFM is expensive. So everybody can’t afford a large tank size compressor. They want to paint the car with a smaller air compressor.  But do you know, what is the minimum size air compressor for painting a car?

A few days ago, my neighbor asked me, can I paint my car with a small air compressor? I said that of course, you can. But you need to follow some tricky methods. If you also want to paint a car with a small air compressor follow the methods.  

The small air compressor comes with a small tank. So you have to refill the tank several times to paint the full car. That’s why you have to paint the car in several parts. But you finish the paint in one day. 

If you paint a car in part, the color may be uneven. That looks not nice and your whole effort will ruin. Although, you will get smooth paint with a small air compressor if you follow some tips.  

Tips 1

Before knowing the tips, check your ear. Do you hear well? Are you surprised? After knowing the tips, you will understand why I said to check your ear. 

Check the sound of the air pressure when you paint the car. Listen carefully to the air pressure sound. When you feel and hear the sound drop, adjust the pressure. 

When the pressure dropping, immediately refill the tank. So, the spray gun receives the same pressure. You get smooth, clear, even, and efficient paint on your car.  

Tips 2

If you want to use the smallest air compressor for painting a car, you have to follow the trick methods. Paint your car in parts.  

  • First, paint the front and back bumpers
  • Second, the hood, and two front fenders
  • Then, paint the roof of your car. 
  • After that, paint one side of your car in one shot.
  • Now check the air pressure. If you feel the air pressure drop, don’t start painting another side. At this point, refill the tank.
  • After refilling the tank, paint the other side of your car.
  • Finally, paint the front and back of the car together.

Remember, you have to finish painting work in one day. 

In this way, you can paint your car with a small air compressor without having any problem. 

Precautions to Follow During Painting Your Car

People frequently use an air compressor for auto painting. Painting a car with an air compressor yourself at home is a good idea. But you have to follow some precautions. Also, professionals follow some rules strictly for safety. During the car painting, you have to be careful and comply with the following rules. 

Do paint in the proper ventilation space 

Paint your car in an open space with proper ventilation. When opening the paint bottle or container, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released into the air. VOCs are automatic body paints and solvents that contain harmful chemicals. These harmful chemicals remain in the air for 3 or 4 days after finishing the work.

If you paint a car enclosed space, these chemicals affected your body badly. Use an open space where available proper ventilation. 

Select a dry day for this work. Open your garage door when you paint the car. Also, use the exhausted fan in the garage. If you haven’t an exhaust fan, arrange a table fan or alternative.  

Must use a respirator

You must use a respirator when painting your car yourself. The respirator prevents your body to enter harmful chemicals. You get the highest security from harmful chemicals. 

The respirator will filter the air before you breathe and keep safe you from hazardous solvents. Not only that it also prevents your lungs from toxic chemicals.  

Cover your whole body 

Using a respirator is not enough, you must cover your whole body. Because only a respirator can’t prevent your body from the isocyanate chemicals. 

Isocyanates are highly reactive low molecular weight chemicals. This Isocyanate is used in paints, varnishes, and other auto-body repairing stuff.

So, you must wear a full-body paint suit and cover your whole body. Also, must wear safety goggles, and nitrile gloves. 

Read properly your paint’s MSDS

MSDS means materials safety data sheet. Before painting a car, you must read MSDS properly. You will get a list of chemicals it releases and other relevant information from the sheet. 

Take care of any spills right away

Make sure the paint doesn’t spill. By any chance, if the paint is spilled, immediately clear it. Otherwise, the spilled paint will trouble you after finishing the work. 

We recommend covering all the areas with cardboard or old newspaper where you paint your car. Also, make sure the lids of all the paint containers are tightly sealed after finished the painting work.

FAQ

How many gallons of compressor does it take to paint a car?

The compressor with 50 gallons tank size is enough to paint a car. But you can paint your car without a refill with the tank size is more than 50 gallons. 

Can I paint a car with a 26-gallon air compressor?

Yes, you can paint a car with a 26-gallon air compressor. But, you have to refill 3 times to paint the entire car. You can paint the car in 2-3 parts. 

  • In the first refill, paint the front and back bumpers, the hood, and two front fenders
  • In the second refill, paint the roof and front and back of your car
  • In the third refill, paint both sides of your vehicle in one shot

How many CFM do I need to paint a car?

Most air compressor requires more than 12 CFM. We recommend you use a 14 to 18 CFM air compressor to paint your car. 

What is the best air compressor for painting a car?

An air compressor with a tank size is more than 50 gallons, 10 HP, and 14 to 18 CFM is the best for painting a car. 

Can I paint a car with a single-stage air compressor?

Yes, you can paint a car with a single-stage air compressor. But we recommended you the compressor must be 15 to 18 CFM and 90 PSI. 

What is the size of the air compressor best for spray painting?

The air compressor with 12 CFM and 25-30 PSI is the best for spray painting. 

Final Thought

We hope you can understand what size air compressor for painting a car you need. For the last time, we tell you the best size air compressor for painting a car.

More than a 50-gallon tank size,10 HP, 14 to 18CFM rating, and 10 to 25 PSI air pressure; an air compressor of this size is enough for car painting. This size air compressor will provide you with smooth, efficient, and clear paint on your car. 

Painting a car is not an easy task. You have to be careful and protect yourself. Before starting to paint your car, follow all the precautions.    

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