Painting Automotive Plastics - Discover Your Truck's Inner Beauty

Smooth And Paint Interior Plastics

Kevin Aguilar
Sep 1, 2008
Photographers: Kevin Aguilar
Photo 2/20   |   interior Car Modifications custom Interior
If you plan on going full show with your truck, chances are you'll want to bring the color of the exterior into the cab. In a lot of older trucks, this is no sweat because most of the interior panels and dashes are made of smooth sheetmetal that doesn't require much work to paint. On the other hand, newer trucks have a lot of textured plastics that aren't so easy to work with.
The main problems associated with painting interior plastics are the rough surfaces and the prep work required to adhere materials to them. If you're planning on taking the trouble to pull out these pieces, then it's in your best interest to take your time and do it right. Smoothing them will bring out the optimum shine, and a thorough cleaning during the process will extend the longevity of the paint. To help you get a better understanding of the procedure, we had the pros at Kustom Werx Autobody show us how they get the job done.
What's in the toolbox?
Sandpaper is used throughout the stages, and here we have 180-, 400-, 1,500-, and 2,500-grit along with a Dura-Block sanding tool. Also needed is a degreaser, an adhesion promoter like Bulldog, high-build primer, and a primer sealer to go on before the paint.
Photo 15/20   |   interior Car Modifications clean With Wax Grease Remover
6b. The black paint acts as a guidecoat to ensure the piece has been sanded smooth. If all of the paint is evenly removed after a light sanding with 400-grit paper, you're ready to move on. If not, you'll have to apply another one to two coats of primer and use the guidecoat to make sure the piece is smooth. When the primer is dry, clean with wax and grease remover one last time.

Photo 19/20   |   interior Car Modifications buffer And Compound
3b.With the sanding finished, he removed the sanding marks with a buffer and compound. For more information on color-sanding and buffing, make sure to pick up a copy of the October '08 issue of Sport Truck, which will feature a full story on the subject.
Photo 20/20   |   interior Car Modifications finished Product
The Final Word
With meticulous cleaning and prepping, this panel was transformed from an ugly, mass-produced hunk of plastic into a show-worthy interior accent that should last the life of our truck's exterior paintjob.


PPG Industries
Pittsburgh, PA
Brault Auto Paint Supply
Klean-Strip Automotive



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