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How To Prep An RC Car Body For Paint

Painting your RC car to give it a new and your favorite customized look can be a big task as well as a lot of fun. However, there is a lot that you need to do initially before starting to paint your RC with your favorite paint. 

You can choose to go for the glossy painting styles or you can also go with a rusted style with a dull color. Both of these are opposite but will make your car stand out from all the other cars at the park or race track. If this is your first time painting your RC car, it may be very difficult and challenging for you to paint or spray your car but the most important thing to get right is the preparation.  

Preparation is one of the most important things no matter what task you are doing but with painting it really is incredibly vital as not prepping properly can mean your paint will come off quickly or won’t stick at all. 

In this article we will provide you with some important information and things that you should always do before starting to paint your RC car. You just need to choose the right material and right paint or spray for your car and it can be a fun and stress-free task to carry out. 

If you prefer to watch a video on how to prep your RC body you can do that below. You can also find our favorite RC paints by clicking here

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Here are all the brief steps described to paint your car.

Clean your car

This is the first step that needs to be done in every situation before you paint. You first need to clean your car and scrape off the old loose paint from the car’s body. There are many chemical paint strippers that you can use that will help you remove the old paint so all you have to do is spray that chemical on your car just like you would paint your car with it to get rid of the old and dull paint.

You need to be patient with this step because it typically requires time. Leave the chemical after painting it on the car’s body for about 12 hours and then the paint should be easy to remove. 

Wash the car’s body

After you have removed the paint, wash it properly with dish soap or other cleaning detergent. Take a sponge and pour some dish soap on it and then rub the car’s body very thoroughly to remove any dust particles or fingerprints from it. 

This step is essential because it will help you to get an even and smooth paint coat on your car’s body whereas if you skip this step the dust and fingerprints will show in the final finish. 

Design your car with a marker

Take a black marker and trace all the important lines that mark different sections of the car that have to be painted with contrasting colors. If you are making a complex design, this is going to be the most important step. Make sure that you do not make a mistake because the black marker might show up even after you color your car.

Instead of using a marker you can also use small strips of painters tape as well to differentiate the lines between different sections of your car and if you mess up you simply have to remove the tape. 

Tape everything off

The next step is important so as to keep the paint from getting all over things you don’t want it to actually get on.  You need to tape over all the different parts that don’t need painted like the wheels, windows and any other parts that you choose not to paint. 

Taping those parts will help you not have to worry as much while painting the car and it can also mean that you can have your children or friends who are less crafty help with your project as well. 

You should make sure to cut the tape with a sharp pair of scissors or knife because uneven tape would mean that your design would not look like you imagined it would look like and if you aren’t happy with your paint job you will notice it every single time you use your RC car. 

Apply the first coat on the car’s body

This is the first major step towards painting your RC car. You need to select an appropriate color or set of contrasting colors. One thing you will want to be sure and do is avoid mixing the paints and sprays that belong to different companies and brands as it will give a very uneven look to your car. 

Once you have your paint ready to go then go ahead and spray or brush your car with the first coat. Choosing spray cans or even a paint sprayer over painting with a brush or roller is preferred.

Choose a well ventilated spot

Read the instructions on the booklet or the back of the paint to help avoid any mishaps. It is a good idea to keep yourself in the open air as much as possible and if you start to feel nauseated or lightheaded, immediately stop spraying and get some fresh air. You should also wear gloves and keep a decent distance from the car while spraying. 

Make sure that you move from one end of the car to the other end and do not start spraying from the middle. Either start from the hood or start from the tail of the car and go till the other end. This will help you from having any odd looking lines where you started and stopped painting. 

Add the second coat

No matter what paint you choose every single one of them will begin to show through almost immediately if you only do one coat of paint. For most RC cars you will want to do at least two if not even more. 

You will want to spray the same color once more to get a little darker shade than before. Highlight the edges and parts that are elevated with darker shades of contrasting colors. You can for example choose a light blue shade and a dark blue shade to contrast your car with.

Let each coat or paint dry 

Make sure that you let the coats dry before you start with additional coats. Use a hairdryer to make your paint dry faster or just leave it under a fan for a few hours until it is completely dry. Leaving the car’s body in the sun to dry might also work. Keep in mind that leaving it in the sun for too long might make the color fade away.

You will also want to be careful with fans as they can easily blow dust into the paint if you aren’t careful which will be easily seen on the final surface. 

Move on to the design

Now it is the time to move on to the design that you created with the black marker/tape. Choose a contrasting color to the base color and use a thin brush for the detailing. Sprays will not work well in this scenario so you will have to go for paint and paintbrushes. 

Finely outline the black marker line with the paintbrush and the color and then fill it fully. Let it dry and then put a second coat on the design too. Make the base of the color as even and smooth as you can and do not stop until you are satisfied. If you used tape to do the design simply peel the tape off and fill in the lines that it left behind. 


Buy a can of clear coat and spray it all over the car once you are satisfied with the paint and the design that you have created. This clearcoat will help the paint to last for a long time and increase the durability of the car’s look. This is the last and one of the most important steps when you are painting your car. 

You can certainly skip this step but you will have to paint it much more often as the paint will fade and won’t be as durable as if you do a final clear coat on top. 

Final word

These were all the basic and necessary steps that you should take if you are planning on painting your RC car. You should try it at least once in your life or you will miss out on the fun and art of this moment. 

One important thing to remember is RC paint is relatively cheap so if you mess up horribly and can’t stand the design or paint job that you’ve done you can easily go back to the first step and start all over. Sure you will have wasted a lot of time and a little money but it is easy to redo so don’t get too worried about messing it up!