How to Thin Automotive Paints

Thinning automotive paint is necessary before using a spray gun to apply the paint. The paint needs to pass easily through the gun’s nozzle to achieve an even color across your auto’s surface. If the paint is too thick, you won’t have an even flow out of the airbrush gun and the gun will continually get clogged. Thin your automotive paint to a more appropriate consistency before you attempt to airbrush for an easier application.

Things You’ll Need :
– Plastic container
– Spray bottle
– Paint thinner or lacquer
– Paint
– Mixing stick

Prepare paint for thinning. Set aside the appropriate amount of paint you will need for your project. It is best to set aside all of the paint you will need in the project all at once. This will ensure all of the paint is thinned evenly and in the same fashion. Place the paint in a clean plastic container.

Fill a spray bottle with paint thinner or lacquer. These items are sold at any hardware supply store. You will need to choose the appropriate thinner or lacquer to mix with the type of auto paint you will be using. The contents of your paint will define what type of thinner you will use. Follow the guidelines on the back of each thinner container to choose one that works with the contents of your paint brand. Applying the thinner using a spray bottle will make for easier handling; it will decrease the chances of adding too much thinner and ruining your paint.

Combine the thinner into the automotive paint. There is no exact measurement of thinner that should be used. It varies widely within brands and even colors. It is best to follow the manufacturer’s outline for an approximate calculation. For the best results, spray a few squirts of thinner into the paint at a time while stirring with a mixing stick. This will allow you to monitor the paint’s consistency as you go, rather than initially guessing the amount you will need.

Mix the thinner and the paint. Once you have reached a point of appropriate consistency, mix the combination well. To test the consistency, pick up the container of paint and gently tilt the container side to side. Before adding thinner, the paint would have a slow reflex, lagging slightly in drifting off the sides of the container after you tilt the container. Once you have reached the right consistency, the paint will drift at about the same speed that you are tilting the container. Keep in mind you do not want your paint to be too thin, which will show up as the movement of paint in the container being quicker than your tilting motion.

How to Mix Automotive Paint With Reducer & Hardener

Modern automotive paints are activated with hardeners to promote faster drying times. Reducer is added to help the material flow through the spray gun easily. The mixing process is a vitally important aspect of automotive refinishing work. Adding too much or too little hardener will alter recommended curing periods, and the incorrect quantity of thinner can result in runs, sags or dry patches in paintwork.

Things You’ll Need :
– Paint mixing pot
– Paint measuring stick
– Automotive paint
– Compatible hardener
– Compatible reducer
– Disposable stirring sticks
– Cloth

Wipe out the paint mixing pot with a clean piece of cloth to remove traces of dust and other foreign contaminants. Place the paint mixing pot on a flat, even surface. Stand the paint measuring stick against the inside wall so it rests in a vertical position.

Stir the automotive paint thoroughly with a disposable stirring stick before mixing begins. Make sure the separate pigments mix together. Check the paint against the vehicle to make sure the color is accurate.

Refer to the technical data sheet supplied with the automotive paint to establish the correct mixing ratio. Remember that the mixing ratio is written sequentially. So figures of 2:1:1, for example, will relate to two parts of automotive paint, 1 part of hardener and 1 part of reducer. Check the markings on the paint measuring stick to ensure the correct ratio markings are available.

Determine how much unmixed material is needed for painting. Refer to the left-hand side of the paint stirring stick to view the different volume measurements. Note that each numbered vertical marking represents one-tenth of a liter of automotive paint. Add paint up to marking number 1 on the left-hand side of the stick if 100ml of unmixed paint is required. Add up to the number 2 if 200ml of unmixed paint is needed. Add up to any other number that represents the correct volume of material necessary to complete the job.

Take a tin of compatible hardener and look at the markings on the center of the paint measuring stick, which represent the second part of the mixing ratio. Fill the paint mixing pot to the same number on the center of the stick as you used when adding unmixed paint. Add to the number 1 if the paint was added to number 1 on the left-hand side; 2 if the paint was added to 2 on the left-hand side; or any other relevant number that matched your original paint quantity.

Repeat the process on the right-hand side of the stick with compatible reducer, making sure the pot is filled to the same number on the paint measuring stick so it matches the number used for the unmixed paint and hardener. Allow the material to settle for a few seconds before stirring the three components together and adding the mixed product to a spray gun.

How to Choose the Right Automotive Repair Software

Learn how to choose the right automotive repair software.

In the past, all maintenance and repair work on vehicles was done by hand, but today almost all of these manual jobs are being replaced with computers, for a faster and more efficient result.

Automotive repair software is an extremely powerful tool and was designed from the ground up specifically for the automotive repair industry. Here are several things you should look for when choosing your automotive repair software.

As an automotive repair shop owner your mechanic will be asked difficult questions by customers. Automotive repair software provides unique features during troubleshooting that will help your service advisor diagnose car troubles quickly and efficiently.

If you are looking for an automotive repair software system that has all the bells and whistles as well as great functionality and user friendliness, there are several different automotive repair choices available to you.

Make sure you keep an eye out when it comes to the features of your automotive software. Each package comes with similarities as well as differences.

A complete automotive software package will include the following features: maintenance plans, labor guide, online parts ordering, service reminders, thank you letters, service history, work orders, repair orders, full accounting, customer mail-outs, estimates/invoices and technician reports.

When you are considering what automotive repair software to buy, think about the customer first.

When you purchase your automotive repair software, make sure you consider the environment you will be using it in. You need to make sure that the units that you are using can withstand harsh conditions, high temperatures, and dusty environments.

While many people consider purchasing their automotive repair software outright, it makes much more sense to lease your software. Not only are costs lower, but you are not responsible if something goes wrong with the unit.

Always try to test out your automotive repair software before buying. This way you will have first hand experience with all of the small quirks and annoyances that come with every software program. Knowing these things will help you to decide on which program will help your employees to work quickly and more efficiently.

Not only will test driving your automotive repair software allow you to get used to it, it will allow you to try out several different models at once and make the best decision for your repair shop.

Two of the most important factors when choosing automotive repair software are training and tech support. It will be essential to have all of your employees fully trained on how to use the software for obvious reasons. Tech support is also crucial. How many times have you had computer problems? Enough said.

The last thing to remember is that sometimes having less features is a good thing. The more complicated a system is the more chances people won’t use it to its full potential. Figure out what are the essential things you need and build from there.

You should now have a much better idea on how to choose the right automotive repair software. Ultimately you will have to figure out what your needs are and go from there. Don’t let sales agents push you into something you don’t need.

How to Dispose of Automotive Paint

Leftover paint presents the largest volume of material collected by household hazardous waste programs, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Because paint includes potentially hazardous materials that can contaminate land and water, disposing of leftovers should be a last resort after you try to reuse or recycle the product, say the EPA and the National Paint & Coatings Association. Proper disposal of your unusable automotive paint depends on whether it’s solvent- or water-based.

Getting Rid of Unwanted Automotive Paint
Properly store your leftover paint, making sure the lid is tightly sealed and keeping the paint in a cool, dry place where the temperature remains between 50 and 80 degrees. As long as the extra paint remains usable, you can use it for touch-ups, retint it for another project or give it away.

Donate your unthinned paint. Contact a local hobby shop to inquire about model-car enthusiasts who may be interested in leftover automotive paint, or find a church group or art school that might find a good use for it. Also investigate whether your community offers a paint-exchange event, or set one up yourself.

Advertise your leftover paint on Freecycle or Craigslist. Place a curb alert notice describing the type and color of the product to let people know you’re giving away leftover automotive paint. List your address and place the paint in your front yard so anyone interested can come by and pick it up.

Read the product label for the paint manufacturer’s instructions on proper disposal of your paint. Ask retailers—who typically don’t accept leftover paint—about the best or most common methods to dispose of paint in your area.

Locate your area’s hazardous household waste collection program and ask about policies and collection sites. Some locales offer periodic—such as twice-a-year—collection of such materials. Visit the Earth 911 website for information on collection programs available in your community. Safe disposal of solvent-based paint requires using a household hazardous waste program.

Dry and discard latex acrylic—which is less hazardous to the environment than solvent-based paint—if no collection programs are available in your area. The National Paint & Coatings Association recommends pouring unused latex paint into an absorbent material like cat box filler, shredded newspaper or sawdust, then leaving the lid off the can to allow the residual paint to dry completely. Dispose of the dried material with your regular trash.

Contact your local or state environmental protection agency for specific information about disposing of solvent-based paint products in your area. If there are no local collection facilities, ask the state agency to stage a collection event in your community.

How to Become an Automotive Engineer

Today’s cars have come a long way from Henry Ford’s first mass-produced models. Automotive engineers are involved in the entire process, from design, research and development to production. It will take some time and education to become an automotive engineer.

Get an Early Start
Aspiring engineers often begin preparing for their careers in high school. Like all engineering disciplines, automotive engineering requires strong math and computer skills. Courses in algebra, geometry, trigonometry and physics can help lay the groundwork for your college education and future career. Engineers use computer modeling in the design process, so courses in this field also are helpful. Some high schools offer additional courses that might help you prepare, such as shop classes, physics or even engineering concepts.

A Degree and an Internship
You’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to become an automotive engineer, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. A master’s degree is more likely to increase your chances of employment or career advancement. One piece of advice from the Society of Automotive Engineers International: Choose an accredited school. You might begin your education in either mechanical or automotive engineering, as automotive engineering is a subdiscipline of mechanical engineering. Summer internships can help you gain practical knowledge.

Get a License
Once you have that college degree in hand, start working on licensure. If you offer your services to the public, you must have a license in all states, according to the BLS. You can take the first exam — Fundamentals of Engineering — just prior to or immediately after graduation. Once you pass the exam, you become an engineer in training, or engineer intern. After you have four years of relevant experience, you can sit for the second exam — Principles and Practice of Engineering — to become fully licensed.

Certification Can Improve Your Chances
Certification is another way to demonstrate knowledge and competence. Certifications are available in a variety of specialties, such as management, project management, plant engineering and vehicle electrification. Organizations such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and SAE International offer these certifications. Although certification is not required to practice as an engineer, it can improve your opportunities, a major benefit given that the BLS projects a growth rate of only 5 percent for mechanical engineers from 2012 to 2022. The average growth rate for all occupations is projected to be 11 percent.