Repainting your car on your own is a pretty big project. In order to do it right, you'll need to start by removing the existing paint from the body panels. How you do that is up to you, but there are a few primary methods to consider. Here are the three most common ways to remove auto body paint to help you decide.
Whether you use sandblasting media or you invest in beads, blasting is the quickest way to strip paint from large panels. It's efficient, which is great if you're looking to get the project done quickly. However, it's not an ideal method for detail work. It's nearly impossible to use any kind of blasting media in precise work. In addition, depending on what kind of media you choose, you may find yourself dealing with some surface dents and marks that you need to patch or smooth out before you can paint. Some of the least-abrasive options include fine black blasting dust and small-grain sand.
Chemical paint strippers are great for removing paint from large areas like body panels. They don't cause any damage to the sheet metal underneath, which speeds up the repainting process. Most paint strippers are quick and easy to apply, making them a good choice for beginners. All you need is a paintbrush to apply it and a putty knife to scrape it away. This can be a long process, though. Paint stripper only removes the top layer each time, so it will take some time to clear away all the paint from any car that has multiple layers of paint.
For areas that require more detailed work, like small spaces, consider the benefits of hand sanding. Using sandpaper and a sanding block, you can remove the paint by hand. It takes some time and effort, but you'll be able to focus your sanding efforts precisely where you want them. Just start with a coarse sandpaper for the initial sanding and smooth things out with finer grit before you paint. You can even keep the dust at bay by choosing wet sanding, which keeps the area damp as you work.
With so many choices, it's understandable to find yourself uncertain about how to proceed. Consider how much precision the task at hand will require, then choose the method that's best suited to it. If you're not comfortable doing the paint removal, a local auto body shop can help you remove the paint and prep the panels. They'll even do the new paint for you if you prefer.