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Can you powder coat a car?

Powder coating has helped to transform the automotive sector, replacing older painting processes and making car parts more resilient, as well as car production more efficient.

But what are the benefits of powder coating for cars, and what does the process involve?

Why Should You Powder Coat a Car?

Powder coating can be both a decorative and protective finish for cars. It is cost-effective metal finishing process, and it offers durability as well as looking good.

Originally, the industry standard for cars was liquid paint, but there has been a wide adoption of powder coatings as a more advanced and efficient solution:

  • Powder coatings contain no solvents, and therefore are largely free from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are harmful pollutants

  • Powder coating is also more efficient to apply, and you don’t waste any oversprayed powder, since you can collect and reuse it

  • Unlike liquid paint, powder coating will not run or drip, and it is easier to apply to hard-to-reach spots, providing even coverage on sharp edges and corners

There are various uses of powder coating in the automotive industry. Its main application is coating various car parts, including:

  • Wheels

  • Engine parts

  • Undercarriage components.

We’ll look at these in more detail later in this blog.

Powder coating is a term used to describe the process of finishing a specific surface in a dry coating, which is often applied electrostatically and heat cured. The dry, powdered substance used within the powder coating process consists of a polymer base, which is infused with a mix of curatives, flow modifiers, leveling agents, and pigments.

Can You Powder Coat an Entire Car?

It seems to be a logical question: if powder coating has such excellent properties, why couldn’t you use it to coat an entire car, including all its bodywork?

While powder coating offers a good degree of resistance and protection, and it’s an economical coating solution, it’s not cost-effective to coat an entire car this way.

Also, the mechanical properties of powder coating don’t make them suitable for this purpose.

If, for example, you had car with powder-coated bodywork and you needed to retouch a damaged door, you would need to strip it back to bare metal then recoat. The alternative would be to retouch with liquid paint, but then you’d have the whole issue of accurate color-matching.

There are types of powder coating you can apply to bodywork, either to act as primers for a liquid paint topcoat, or as clear, protective coat.

Powder coating is ideally suited to coating specific car parts, and the range of components is fairly extensive.

What Parts of a Car Are Usually Powder Coated?

Automotive powder coatings apply to various car components and surfaces, including interior and exterior trim parts.

You can apply a single coat to interior structural parts of a car to provide protection from corrosion. And there is a range of finishes to heighten the style and visual impact of a vehicle.

Under the Bonnet

Applying powder coating to engine parts under the bonnet gives a vehicle a cohesive color scheme, while also protecting the parts themselves.

This might involve coating the entire chassis frame, or various engine components such as cylinder heads.

The Chassis

The frame and suspension of a car are the parts that are most susceptible to road damage. Powder coating can provide protection from everyday wear and tear.

Powder coating is chemical resistant too, which helps preserve the vehicle’s metal against substances such as brake fluid.

Plus, with powder coating, you can achieve an excellent, uniform finish.

Wheel Rims

Some of the most popular car parts to powder coat are wheel rims. Powder coating wheel rims ensures they retain a finish for much longer, even with the harsh conditions they encounter regularly on the road.

Powder coating give wheel rims a rich-looking finish that is also hard-wearing and tough.

This process also enhances their visual impact, and you can color match your coating to co-ordinate with the rest of the car.

Other Vehicle Features

Some car door handles are zinc die-cast, and require a specific type of powder coating to add a protective layer to them. Window trims also benefit from powder coating treatments.

Then there are various trims, grills and other exterior components, which benefit from the UV and general protection that powder coatings can provide.

Where you have custom accessories, these will benefit from having a finish that will make them as durable as the rest of the car.

What Types of Powder Coating Apply to Cars?

Powder coatings became first established as primers in automotive applications, but since then they have evolved considerably.

There are various types of powder coating, and typically, a car may require different types depending on which parts you are coating.

For example, polyester-urethane coatings can offer high-performance, but may lose their high-gloss finish over time.

Acrylic powders, on the other hand, have better weathering properties.

As the technology of powder coatings continues to progress, so their potential applications in the automotive industry increase.

Already, powder clearcoats are replacing traditional liquid clearcoats, offering vehicle exteriors protection from weather damage, debris and other wear and tear.

Heat-resistant powder coating has a potential as a coating for exhaust systems, extending their lifespan by offering improved resistance to corrosion and abrasion.

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