Author Options:

should i paint my 1997 chevy cavalier by myself? Answered

I have a 1997 chevy cavalier. it is my first car and the clear coat is chipping off causing the paint to fade. i want to re do the paint another color but i dont want to break the bank with a professional job. I want to do a paint job at home. Do you guys think i should do it? Keep in mind the car is only supposed to last a few years at the most so i dont need a 20-30 year paint job just a few years.


Absolutely, search this site for ways to do it.


7 years ago

Using a small (one inch) roller works really well. Check in the paint department of a hardware store. They usually come with a tiny tray. Almost no nap will give the smoothest paint job. Just make sure the roller doesn't leave lint...so put paint on it , and roll it out on a paper bag to get any loose lint out before using it on the car the first time. I've used both oil based and water based rust preventative paints with good results... on a pick up and car. Use a flat side of a foam brush to pat the paint into tight spots.

Prep is the most important part. You still have to sand and prime. The finish will be orange peel, not glassy. (You can still wax it.)

Using a tiny roller requires much less skill to avoid drips, and it gives a thicker protective coating than spray.

Low-end paint job from Maaco is about $300, as I recall.

There are many Instructables out there on painting your own car, ranging from foam rollers to fanschy spray guns. Most will cost less than $300, but you'll want to do some pricing of your own first.

Honestly, on a 1997 Cavalier, no one expects a beautiful paint job. If you want a beautiful paint job, go to a pro. If you just want it a color other than Ugly, go for what's cheapest.


I've painted my own car before (3 panels, not the whole thing) and a few things;

diy will have a rougher orange-peel effect, and even pro second job is usually less awesome than factory
Getting the layers/clear coat right is difficulty without a workshop and dust control. DO NOT ATTEMPT to paint your car outdoors.

Use a proper spray gun, they're inexpensive (especially from online retailers) and give a much better finish than rollers or brushes

Wear a respirator. You don't want your lungs to be the same colour as your car.

I would say no, but... it's your car.