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Spray Painting Side Mirrors


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Hi everyone, i have been searching this forum and the net for spray painting tips for side mirrors, but no avail.

Anyway, i went down to the local auto store and bought some red paint (color match with my car), red primer, fine sand paper, clear top coat and some degreaser.

What am i supposed to do and how to go about doing it so that the mirrors color will look similar to my car's body?

I was thinking of doing it this way...

1. Clean mirror surface

2. Apply a few thin coats of primer

3. lightly sand after primer has dried

4. spray a few thin coats of the paint

5. spray top coat

Is that enough to make it shine? or should i use some kinda rubbing compound to polish the surface after the top coat?

Some help will be greatly appreciated! thanks guys!

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1. key the surface you intend to paint with 400 grade wet and dry paper.

1a. degrease the whole thing with panel wipe or meths.

2. Prime the surface with Plastic Primer or etching primer.


3. flat the primer with 400 grade wet and dry(USE DRY!!!!). If you go through the primer then recoat and flat again.

4. When you're happy with the undercoat and it's as good as you can get it, apply several thin coats of the colour coat. Don't rush any of this as it will affect the quality of the job.

5. when the colour coat has fully dried, flat it with 800 grade wet and dry(WET!!), so you're left with a silky smooth matt colour all over. For awkward parts where you don't want to sand for fear of going through the paintwork, you can take the shine off with a scotch pad. wipe the whole thing clean .

6. lots of thin coats of lacquer. When that's done, gently flat it all again with WET 1200 grade wet and dry paper. ( use a bit of soap with the paper to limit the abrasion and assist the finish. )

7. You should have a perfectly flat paintjob now. Get some polish ( Autoglym Super Resin does just fine) and polish to a shine. Job Done.

( you don't have to apply the lacquer if the paint doesn't call for it, but it's another layer of protection and it doesn't take much longer!

Good Luck

Rich :thumbsup:

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thanks for the help mate. Just a stupid question. But u mentioned wet and dry sand paper... in step number 1, what does that mean? First with dry sand paper and then use a new piece of sandpaper and wet the sand paper by pouring water over it? Or just dry sandpaper?

and in step 3... u mention (Use Dry!!) how does this differ from step 1?

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'Wet and Dry' is what the paper is referred to. It's just standard automotive repair abrasive paper, but it can be used either on it's own ( dry ) or with water ( wet.)

use it dry for flatting the primer coat as primer is porous and you don't want moisture in there. Wet flatting the later coats prevents the paper getting clogged and scratching the finish.

Take your time with the preparation of the mirrors and with the primer coat. Any defect here will show up on the finished article.

Hope this makes a bit more sense for you !

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yeah.. that makes more sense... while reading thru the instructions again, i have 2 more doubts.

in step one, you said KEY the surface with 400 wet n dry. Does this mean i have to sand the whole surface? Won't that cause scratches?

also, in step number 5. using wet sandpaper on the color code. in the last sentence, u mentioned "wipe it clean"... But with what?

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Step 1 . Sand the whole thing. You need a roughened surface ( Keyed ) for the primer to grip onto. it'll cause tiny scratches, but the primer coat will counteract this.

Step 5. When you wet flat a colour coat, you obviously get sanding residue from the work you've done. I Use an old, damp chamois leather, but really any lint free cloth and water will do fine.

Take care not to handle the prepped or painted area too much as your fingerprints contain oils that can react with subsequent coats.

( It's turning into an epic ! ) :lol


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Hi guys... so now the final ending for the epic! :P

Well, overall it went pretty well. But sad to say, the color was abit off and kinda didn't really match... but what to do, its been done already, so no regrets! Below are some before 'n' after pictures. *Sorry bout the resolution.. i used my phone's camera. Its 1.0 megapixel, but still crappy~*


This was the color of the stock mirror.


This was after i follow the steps and spray painted them.


Another shot of them... sad to say, the color didn't really turn out as expected.

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Once again, thanx rich for the instructions... I tried using the Cut n' Polish, but still, it won't shine like my car body paint... Is there any other way to make it shine???

Here are some daylight pics.



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Hi everyone, a friend of mine just told me that i need not sand paper the job after coating it with paint since my paint is metallic red... thats why the final job is not as shiny as the rest of the car.

Is this true?

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The part has to be flatted in the priming stage, but it depends on the type of metallic paint you are using on whether you need to flat the colour as well.

Is it just standard aerosol paint? Does it have it's own laquer?

To get a very shiny finish on my old interior, I flatted throughout EVERY stage of painting, after every coat:

key the surface, prime, flat, prime, flat, colour, flat, colour, flat, colour, flat, colour, flat, lacquer, flat, lacquer.

Preperation, and Flattening the surface is the key really, if you leave bumps of paint on the surface each time, it restricts the chance of you having a perfect shine at the end ..

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