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Can You Use Regular Spray Paint On RC Car Bodies?

If you have an RC car and are interested in painting it you probably have wondered if it was possible to use spray paint. After All you can get spray paint cheap virtually anywhere and you can easily use it to create your own design. But will spray paint stick to the body? Will it look decent?

Using regular spray paint on your RC car body is possible and it may even stay on there for quite some time depending on how you use the RC car.  One thing that you do have to keep in mind is that regular spray paint is not designed for painting RC car bodies, and as such, it has a high tendency to chip or flake off as the body if you don’t do proper prep work or if you make the layers quite thick. 

This simply means that while you can use regular spray paint on your RC car body, it is best and a better idea to use paint that is made specifically for RC car bodies since spray paint will be more likely to come off. Some RC car paint can be found on Amazon by clicking here

If you regularly drive your RC car through the woods or other places where it gets scratched up then spray paint might actually be your best option since it is cheap and quite easy to redo on the fly. If the paint possibly flaking off your RC car doesn’t bother you then you can certainly go with simple spray paint. 

If you are interested in exactly how to go about painting your RC car body you can keep reading. You can also check out the video below to learn more. 

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Spray Painting Your RC Car 

When spray painting your RC car body there are some important things that you should keep in mind. Each of these are important in their own right so don’t skip any of them if you want your paint job to look good and to last a long time. 

Choose the right paint

There are very many spray paints for your RC car available on the market. As we have already noted, it is best to use spray paints that are specifically created for Lexan or other polycarbonate plastic which RC bodies are made with.

Prepare for the Painting

One thing that can lead to your RC paint jobs lasting for a very short time or not ending up as good as you expected is the lack of preparation. This doesn’t even necessarily have to do with the paint itself or the method of painting used either. Before you actually do the job of painting your RC car, thoroughly clean the body with warm and soapy water, and also dry the body thoroughly after that. 

Make sure to handle the body of the car from the outside so as not to get oils from your hands onto the surfaces you are going to be painting. Even very small amounts of oil can stand in the way of the paint sticking onto the car.

Scuff the painting surface

This step is not one employed by everybody, but it is important because spray paints, especially the kinds that are created to be used on Lexan RC bodies, will normally stick better if you scuff the surface you are actually painting. With the use of very fine sandpaper or steel wool, scratch the surface you want to spray-paint very lightly. You need to make sure you’re scratching very lightly, or it will show even after you have painted it. Even though carefully applied paint can help to hide light scratches, this does not apply if the scratches are deep. Of course, you should avoid scuffing areas like windows that will not be painted because scratches on areas like this will certainly be visible.

Shake the can

This might seem like a minor thing, but it’s such an important step you can’t afford to take it for granted. Shaking the can will take quite a long time, and while a lot of people can’t understand the sense behind that, there is a reason. Thoroughly shaking the can greatly impact the opaque finish that every painter wants to get. Before shaking the can, read the directions that come with it to know how long the can should be shaken for.

Warm up the paint

Spray paint flows better when it’s at about 70° Fahrenheit, so put the can under warm running water for some time or make sure it is sitting indoors for a couple of days. Another way is to put the bottom of the can in a bowl of warm water for a little time. This helps to make the paint thinner as well as ensure that it can spray more evenly. 

Make sure the water you’re using is warm and not hot and do not try to use another method to raise the temperature; keep in mind that the can will explode if it overheats.

Do a test spray

Just to make sure that no splatters and spurts will come from the can and that you’re using the right amount of pressure, first spray the paint onto a piece of paper or cardboard, away from your car’s body. After that, you can move closer to the body of your car and spray your first layer.

Spray light layers

Trying to use a single coat to cover the entire surface will result in a sorry tale. Start by spraying a light and thin see-through coat and give that some time to dry. When it has dried, add another layer of light paint and keep doing this process until you get the complete coverage that you want.

It’s better to have three or four thin coats of paint than to have one or two thick coats. Thin layers help to reduce the chances of bleeding so you can be more confident that the paint will not run. Also, using thin layers helps to stop the paint from flaking or chipping when it is dried. 

Using even thinner coats to build up the first few layers is a great idea, and you can keep making it thicker as the layers grow.

Don’t empty the can

This might seem wasteful but this actually doesn’t mean you’re wasting your paint. The very last few drops of spray will likely come out in uneven surges that can ruin your nice paint job, so you might want to leave those last few drops and not use them. 

However, there is another way you can use that last bit of paint productively so as to not waste it. If you find any small spots that need a touch-up after the car has fully dried, spray that last bit into a little container and carefully retouch the spots with a small brush. Make sure that the paint has fully dried before you do this, so you don’t mess up your whole paint job. 

Let it dry 

After painting your RC car, give the car 24 hours or longer to dry completely before you handle or touch it or do any further work on it.

A handheld dryer can help to make the process a lot quicker. With the heat between low and medium, hold it at least a foot away from the car’s body and slowly move around it. If you have just applied the paint and it’s still liquid, the heat from the hand dryer may make the paint run, so let the car dry a little before you attempt to use the dryer.

Remember not to handle the body until it has fully dried. It is normally best to give it 24 hours just to be sure. 


Painting your RC car with normal spray paint is possible and will save you a good amount of money. No matter which paint you actually use you will want to follow the steps mentioned above to ensure that your paint job looks as good as possible. 

Normal spray paint will normally not look quite as nice as the more expensive paints that are actually made for RC cars but they will still get the job done and your car looking nice.