Can You Spray Over Clear Coat? And How to Do It Correctly?

Spraying over clear coat is one of the most important steps to getting a good finish while repainting a car. But it’s also a process that can pose some difficulties.

And problems with applying clearcoat lead to flaws in the painting. So, it would help if you considered the things that affect how well the clearcoat goes on the car and how well it works in the end.

A clear coat protects the outside of your car from any damage and makes the paint last longer. It also keeps outside elements from getting onto your car’s paint. But if the coat gets damaged, it makes the paint peel or fade.

Clear coat solutions are sometimes hard to use if you’re unaware of the right way to apply them. Sometimes, you might want to spray a layer of paint on top of your car’s clear coat. But is that possible?

Before you can do it, you’ll need to sand off a clear coat’s layer. If you spray the base paint over the car’s clear coat, the paint won’t stick to the surface, giving you an unappealing finish. This article discusses tricks and tips you can use when spraying over clear coat on your car correctly.

How Can You Spray Over Clear Coat?

As mentioned, you can spray a clear coat on top of an existing clear coat, but you should first sand the previous clear coat’s surface. Then, use your sanding tool to get rid of the clear coat that’s already on. After sanding, you can safely put a new clear coat on.

Remember that you can’t spray over a clear coat without sanding first. It might work if the car’s body panel happens to be in pretty good shape. But if the paint has scratches, dents, oxidation, or flaking, the best way to fix it is by sanding off the clear coat.

The key is to prepare the surface. For instance, let’s assume you want to paint your car’s fenders. If there aren’t too many big holes on the surface, you can remove the clear coat by lightly sanding the area.

After this, it’s safe to spray on two or a few layers of paint. Adding a new clear coat layer that protects the finish and gives it a smoother shine is also necessary.

How to Make the New Clear Coat Glossy?

When the clear coat dries, don’t expect it to be shiny. Also, your new clear coat won’t make the topcoat finish look good if it hides an uneven surface or blemishes.

Even if your paint job looks terrible, there is always a way out, as you can polish the new surface. The process fixes any dull finish without causing any damage. You can polish by hand, or you can use a power buffer.

If polishing doesn’t work, you might want to wet sand your surface, as this also helps if visible dried drops are on your surface. But you should pay attention and sand lightly so you don’t burn through the base color or damage it.

Also, sand the surface until it is smooth and nice, looking like glass. Use sandpaper with a higher grit number, from 1,000 to 2,000. With sandpaper, you can buff or put a clear coat on the new surface. Make sure your surface is clean before you spray the clear coat.

Is It Necessary to Apply a Primer?

No. You don’t have to put primer on after wet sanding, but you can if you want to. Ensure that your base coat and the part of the clear coat removed work great as your base for the new paint coat.

If you decide to burn through your clear coat and body paint metal, you must use a primer to keep the metal from rusting.

But watch out, as this works only if your panel is as good as new. So, you should ensure there are no deep scratches, oxidation, flaking, or other flaws. If the panel is damaged all over, you should sand down to your car’s base coat to get rid of the scratches.

Should I Spray Fresh Clear Coat On?

Yes. Spraying a new clear coat layer won’t only protect the surface you just painted but will also help it shine and look glossy. Like the rules for painting, it’s better to use several thin coats than one thick coat.

About 30 minutes after you have applied the base coat, spray the new clear coat. Go for 3 to 5 clear coats, and wait 10 minutes between each spraying. Before spraying on the next coat, your previous clear coat layer must be dry, and you should be able to touch it.

Before wet-sanding with 1500-grit sandpaper, let the clear coat dry for 24 hours or longer in warm weather. You will safely eliminate orange peel and other flaws, leaving a smooth finish.

What To Do When the Sprayed Clear Coat Turns White?

Most of the time, when spraying a clear coat, the result is a white color. But getting a somewhat milky finish is different because it means you have a problem. Some things that could have caused the event to happen are:

  • High levels of humidity
  • Heavy coats drive too much film to build up
  • Not letting the base coat dry long enough before putting on the clear coat
  • The base color and the clear coat don’t work together
  • Not giving your base color coats enough time to dry in between

It’s easy to fix a clear coat that looks “white.” Just mask off the area you’re working on with painter’s tape. Then sand the coat with 800 grit sandpaper. Finally, take it off and put on a new one.

How to Apply Clear Coat over Clear Coat?

Most car owners want to know if they can spray a new clear coat over the original one. The answer is that this depends a lot on how well the shape of the first clear coat layer is. If it’s good and doesn’t have any peeling or deep scratches, you can add a new clear coat layer on top to do the paint job on your car shine and look better.


If there are any problems with the old clear coat that you can’t fix by spraying a new clear coat, you will need to fix those problems before you spray the new clear coat.

Before you even spray over the clear coat with a new layer of clear coat, you must ensure that you have prepared the surface correctly. How you spray acts on the part you’re working on will depend on how well the lower paint coats, like polyester putty, were put on.

Once again, when spraying over a layer of clear coat with a new clear coat on a car, the surface must first be sanded, polished, or cleaned correctly for a good finish.

Before you put any new clear coat on in any of these ways, ensure the surface is free of dirt or other things that could damage it.

Also, ensure you don’t take off too much micronage, especially when sanding, because that could affect how well the clearcoat sticks. This way, you will also stop any circles or paint flaws from showing up on the part in the future.

Tips on Removing the Clear Coat

Here are a few tips on how to remove the clear coat from your car:

  • The clear coat removal should happen in a garage or other shaded place. Also, it would help if you preferably sprayed when the weather isn’t too hot, so the clear coat remover doesn’t dry out. But don’t work during days with a lot of humidity, because your car won’t dry in between steps
  • You can put clear coat removers on with spray bottles because they are easier to use, but you must be careful because the extra product can spray all over the area
  • You can use buffing clear coat remover to remove the paint, but don’t apply it too far from where your paint problems are. Take the part you’re working on off the car if you need to. This way, the remover doesn’t get on other parts
  • If some clear coat parts are hard to remove, you must use a little more of your clear coat remover. After putting it on the trouble spot, buff the area using a scuff pad
  • To keep your work surface from getting damaged, don’t leave the buffer in one spot for a long while buffing

Apply a Spray Detailer

Lastly, clean the polished area to eliminate leftover dust and give it a shinier and brighter look. Use a spray detailer on polished parts to make them look even glossier.

Many car owners would no longer do anything, but if you like perfection, you should never skip waxing when you clean the outside of your car. Waxing makes your paint job much more even and shiny. While you’re at it, try not to leave your polisher in one spot for long because it could leave streaks or damage all your hard work so far.