Best Trim, Plastic & Spray Paint For A Car Interior

Best Trim, Plastic & Spray Paint For A Car Interior

Purchasing second-hand cars is a financially-sound decision that allows you to avoid instant depreciation and stick to a reasonable budget. Unfortunately, it is rare to purchase a vehicle that still looks fresh off the factory line. The same can be said if you have been hanging on to the same ride for a long time now – or worse, if your car needs crash repairs after an accident, it’s likely there’s some aesthetic damage to the interior.

For any of these situations, if you are concerned about the visuals of your car’s interior, perhaps all it needs is a fresh coat of plastic paint. If you want to go DIY on this one, then you will need to gather a collection of specific supplies, including denatured alcohol or acetone, sandpaper, colour and clear coat, and a primer. But before you get started, let’s first discuss a little bit more about plastic:

Working with Plastic Paint for Cars

Your car interior is mostly made of plastic – even the parts that don’t look plastic at all. Usually, manufacturers just use some form of applique to achieve the desired look. But just because they’re made from the same basic material, it doesn’t mean that you can treat them the same.

There are various kinds of plastics used in your vehicle, which means that different parts will have different reactions to the paint you use. For example, with your car interior, trim parts may need paint different from the steering wheel, with altered preparation, too.

But how are you supposed to know which is which? Well, begin by looking for the marking behind each part in your vehicle to see what type of plastic was used to make it. Some examples include PP (polypropylene), PPS (Polyphenylene Sulphide), and ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). There are a lot more, but these are what you will typically encounter. For example, PP is incredibly smooth so it’s harder for the paint to bond with the surface. To make your paint easier to hold onto it, you’ll need to scuff it more to create friction.

car interior trim paint

But with all kinds of plastics, you can’t afford to cut corners on the initial prep stage, as the reaction involved when you apply paint is called mechanical bonding. This means when you use plastic paint for cars, there’s a mechanical constraint that makes your interior paint stick, so make sure you have the space ready to avoid any mistakes.

Step 1: Prepping

You may find this the more monotonous of tasks, as it mostly involves scuffing the surface area. Start by mixing dish soap with water in a bucket and soaking the parts in it to get rid of all the grease. Then, rinse everything before letting them dry.

When scuffing, remember that the goal is for the part to lose its shine. This would prevent paint from flaking later on. Be careful with small car interior trim parts, as paint doesn’t usually stick like how you want it when not scuffed evenly.

Step 2: Priming

Priming seals over the plastic will mean you won’t need as many coats when you use car interior spray paint. But that’s not all it does! It also acts as a protective barrier for the plastic itself. For commercial vehicles, priming helps keep the interiors looking newer for longer. For cars, you would benefit from using an adhesion promoter as it’s designed to improve the finished look. Give each part two wet coats. If it’s not uniformly coated, simply scuff the surface again and reprime.

Step 3: Painting

Now, we are ready to get down to business. Keep in mind that there’s a specific time period that you’d need to apply the car interior plastic paint once it is prepared. One good piece of advice to follow here is to warm the can before using it. Because of the heat, the finer particles are atomised, which results in a better finish once completed.

After the first coat, wait at least five minutes to allow solvents to dissipate. Depending on the colour that you want to achieve, you’d need anywhere from three to eight coats. If you’re not sure how many you’d need, you can always enquire with the store you bought your paint from.

Another thing to remember is to prevent applying too much paint per coat. This could increase its susceptibility to damage, as the more paint you apply, the more that your adhesion promoter needs to hold. Instead, be conscious of laying down a consistent, even spread with each coat.

Step 4: Clearing

If you want to preserve the beauty after using car interior spray paint, you will need to do a topcoat. Just like what have done before painting began, check the instructions on the can to see how long you have to apply your topcoat, building up the thickness gradually.

After this, all you need to do is wait! Paint needs to cure for at least a day in a location without direct sunlight – so don’t be too eager to get the parts back in the vehicle.

Quick Tips with Using Interior Car Paint

Ready to get started? Remember these tips throughout the project:

  1. Use power latex gloves. Plastic holds oil with ease, so wear gloves to avoid botching the job with spots from your hands and fingers.
  2. Stick with the same brand. It can be tempting to use different brands of trim and plastic paint for cars when you’re trying to minimise costs, but remain consistent to ensure that you achieve the colours and finishes you desire.
  3. Take your time. Whether you’re cleaning, sanding, or painting, better to do it right the first time than have to fix preventable errors later.
  4. Mind the weather. Humidity can prevent the paint from curing properly. Schedule the project for when the weather is more favourably dry.

And if the final product doesn’t turn out the way you want it, remember not to get too discouraged! Chances are you can sand it off and start the process again until you are satisfied with the results.

For any assistance with finding the right process and products for car interior trim and plastic spray paint, please feel encouraged to contact our friendly team at Stud Road Panels today by calling (03) 9792 4913, sending an email to, or leaving your details on our simple online enquiry form, and we will get back to you with the information and recommendations you require as soon as possible.


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