Wondering how to paint a Jeep hardtop?
This is a good question that many Jeep owners keep asking. Unlike a soft-top jeep, there are several reasons why you would want to paint your Jeep hardtop.
From making cosmetic changes to removing unsightly scratches, there are numerous reasons why Jeep owners will be interested in painting the hardtop of this versatile vehicle.
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Reasons to Paint Your Jeep Hardtop
You can transform the look of your Jeep and boost its aesthetic appeal by applying paint of a different hue to its hardtop. But it’s not all about looks. Off-road driving will inevitably lead to scratches on the vehicle’s body. Not only do these look unpleasant, but they can also become sites of corrosion.
Scratches remove protective paint and coating that is necessary for preventing corrosion. Hence, scratched areas can be exposed to accelerated rusting. This is something that Jeep owners obviously would not want to happen. The good news is that you can get rid of scratches and avoid subsequent corrosion by painting over the scratched parts using the right technique.
Due to the elements and the weather, the paint can start wearing off. Hence, there will be a point in time when you want to paint your Jeep hardtop so that it looks as good as new.
You can enhance the market value of your vehicle with a well-done paint job.
Now that you have decided to renew your prized possession with shiny new paint, you should carefully think about the kind of paint that will work best for you. Needless to say, there are numerous paint options in the market. If you pick the wrong type, the whole plan could backfire badly. Your Jeep might end up looking worse. So be cautious with your choice of materials.
Note: painting a vehicle requires skill, effort, and patience. If you lack experience, there is a strong chance of getting bad results. Hence, it is much better to get it done by experts if you don’t have experience.
6 Tips for Painting a Jeep Hardtop
1- Paint Prep- Preparing the vehicle carefully is absolutely imperative for good results. A little mistake in preparation can result in defects. So if you want to paint the Jeep hardtop yourself, you should remember to devote plenty of time to proper preparation.
The Jeep hardtop is constructed from plexiglass over which there is a paint layer.
2- Remove Old Paint- Before you can begin applying the new paint, you will have to remove the old layer of paint by sanding it. Make sure that you have the right tools and hardware for consistent sanding.
3- Sanding- There are two ways of sanding. Manual sanding is one way of doing it. If you go this route, make sure that you are using good quality sandpaper. Be warned that it will require a lot of strenuous effort since it is a painstaking process. You will also need plenty of skill to make sure that sanding is done consistently.
4- Proper Tools- It is much better to use an electrical tool built for such a task for better DIY sanding results. However, even with an electrical sander, you will have to commit plenty of time and effort to get it right. Such arduous and demanding work is best left to professionals.
5- Masking- Once the preparation phase is done, you will have to go through another onerous process – masking. This entails covering all windows and sides adjacent to the hardtop with masking tape.
Be very careful when masking the vehicle. If this is not done correctly, then the paint job will not look good since the paint lines will not be straight. You don’t want to go through so much trouble only to end up with a terrible-looking paint job.
6- Consider Expert Help- It often happens that DIY enthusiasts, in their exuberance, put in lots of money, effort, and time only to get it wrong. This necessitates visiting the experts to remediate the flaw. It makes more sense to go straight to the experts to do the job professionally.
To avoid such disappointment, you should honestly assess your experience in applying paint to vehicles. If you have never done such a task or you don’t have enough practice, then it is strongly advised to go to a body paint shop so that the paint job can be professionally completed.
Painting the Jeep Hardtop – Your Options
There are two main options that you can select from to paint your Jeep hardtop. You might want to just remove the scratches. In that case, painting the whole hardtop might be unnecessary. Or you might want to change the look of your hardtop or renew it. This will entail painting the entire hardtop and thus more work.
Only scratched areas need to be treated. If you wish to simply remove scratches from the hardtop, you can go for the scratch top-up method to limit the paint job just to the affected areas. This method is easier and more convenient since sanding and painting for the whole hardtop are not required.
If you want to paint the whole top, then obviously more effort will be required on your part. Hence, you should be ready to commit a fair amount of time if you wish to paint the whole hardtop on your own.
There are various scenarios where you may want to paint the whole top. This is what you need to do if you want to change the look of your Jeep with a new paint color. Painting the whole top may also be necessary if you want to restore the Jeep to its original condition so that it looks new. It is also needed if there is substantial damage to the hardtop.
Before you can paint the hardtop, you will have to prepare it. So first, use a detergent to clean debris and any dirt from the hardtop. You should then carry out sanding to remove the older coat of paint. Although this is an arduous task, it is strongly recommended since it makes the surface smoother, due to which the paint will look better.
Masking is another very important consideration when painting the whole top. You will only get sharp and precise lines if you mask your vehicle correctly. And that requires a lot of effort and patience.
Touching Up Jeep Hardtop Scratches
For some Jeep owners, scratches on their vehicles are a source of pride. They refer to these scratches as ‘scars’.
However, it is possible that you may not be pleased with all with scratches on your Jeep.
Remember that there are several methods for removing scratches; however, they are not all effective. For deep scratches, in particular, bear in mind that you cannot remove them completely. No matter how hard you try, you can just make them less obvious at most. But what makes matters worse is that there is a high risk of damaging the coats of paint on your vehicle if you are not completely certain of what you are doing.
One way to minimize the risk of damaging your vehicle paint is to try out different methods on a panel of scrap metal that has its paint scratched. You may be able to obtain such a piece from a junkyard. You can then experiment on it as much as you like to find out which method is more effective. So before you try out anything on your Jeep, make sure that you do it first on the scrap panel to find out what impact it has.
If the scratches are not too deep, it might be possible to make them less apparent by using an electrical buff pad on which a small amount of scratch removal product has been applied.
First, you should try out a few practice runs on the scrap panel to know possible results. Also, you should make sure that you do it gently. This will help to make the surface of the plexiglass more even.
Buffing the scratched parts is necessary for preparing them, so make sure that you do this step as carefully as possible. You can complete the preparation by using a degreaser to clean the surface thoroughly.
To obtain optimal results, make sure that you are using premium quality paint. Not just any paint will do. You must use paint that is designed specifically for vehicles. So don’t use house paint or craft paint since the results will be unimpressive.
Ensure that you choose the paint color carefully. The paint should exactly match the color of your Jeep. If there is a slight mismatch between colors, the repainted patches might look obvious.
Going this route, you can save some money provided you do it correctly. A body paint shop will charge relatively high rates for the job.
The job will be harder if the scratches are deep. Painting the entire hardtop is even more labor-intensive.
If you want to have the entire hardtop professionally painted, you should be ready to pay between $2,000 and $3,000. However, if you decide to do it yourself, you will just have to pay for some paint, sandpaper, and masking paper. None of them are expensive. Of course, a single small mistake can end up costing you a lot of money for repairs.
Now that you know how to paint a Jeep hardtop remember a DIY paint job has its fair share of risks. Make sure you know perfectly well what you are doing. A much safer option is to visit professionals to get the job done.