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How to Paint ATV Plastics

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If your ATV’s paint job has seen better days, it may be a job you want to tackle yourself. 

With the right prep and painting steps, you can get a great result. 

This page will provide you with some tips on painting the plastic parts on your ATV.

How to Paint ATV Plastic Parts (Body, Fenders, Etc.)

A good paint job requires a bit of patience. If you take the time to prep the parts and create a clean workspace, you’ll end up with a much better result than if you try to rush things. 

Be sure to set up a paint area that is well ventilated, but shielded from wind, dust, and other debris. 

Some general rules to keep in mind when painting ATV plastics include:

  • Keep your workspace and parts clean. 
  • Use thin coats.
  • Allow coats to dry before adding a new one. 
  • Follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions. 

Step 1: Clean the Parts

Your first step in painting your ATV plastics will be making sure the parts are completely cleaned and free of all dirt and grime. 

You can use soapy water and degreaser to remove the dirt, dust, mud, and grime that has built up on the parts. 

Doing this will make sanding the parts much easier. 

Step 2: Sand the Surface

Once the parts are cleaned, you’ll need to sand them. 

Start with 100 to 180 grit sandpaper and work your way up to about 320 or 400 grit. 

Step: Prep the Surface

After sanding, you can finish with a sandblaster if necessary to get any remaining grit or old paint. 

Next, clean the surface completely and use an air compressor to dry things off. 

Best results are often achieved if you begin with a plastic adhesive promoter. 

This is a step before the primer to help the paint create a stronger bond with the plastic. 

Follow the instructions on your adhesive spray, but most recommend:

  • Using 2 heavy coats.
  • Allow the first coat to flash dry before applying the second. 
  • Allow both coats to dry completely before moving on to the primer. 

Step 3: Primer 

Next, you’ll be ready to apply the primer. 

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and apply 1-2 coats of primer. 

Allow the primer to dry completely, and then sand it smooth with 320 to 400 grit sandpaper. 

Clean off any dust. 

Step 4: Paint

Now you’re ready to apply your color. 

Work in thin layers, allow each layer to dry before applying a new one. 

Step 5: Clearcoat 

After the paint has dried, you can finish up with a protective clear coat. 

This will help protect the paint job from scratches and keep it looking new for longer. 

What Spray Paint to Use on ATV Plastic?

When choosing the type of paint you’re going to use to paint your ATV, you should select one that is specifically designed for plastic applications. 

Spray-paint, adhesive promoters, primers, and clear coats designed for plastic will last longer, look better, and be far more durable than other spray paints.

It doesn’t necessarily matter what brand of paint you go with, simply look for one that is designed for plastic. 

Most importantly, take the time to prep, prime, and paint in thin coats. Follow the prep, primer, and painting instructions from the paint manufacturer for the best results. 

Find more tips on adding graphics to your ATV, painting, and restoring plastics here.

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Content Editor: Ethan Orenstein

Ethan is not just any motorcycle enthusiast. With a decade of experience riding, maintaining, and restoring a range of motorcycles, Ethan brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. Many of the tips and tricks shared on this site are born from hours spent wrenching on personal bikes. Paired with his experience as a journalist covering DMV & insurance topics, MotorcycleZombies.com is a must-visit site for any home-mechanic. Every article has been carefully reviewed and edited to ensure accuracy, authenticity, and simplicity - all to help bring your bike back from the dead and onto the road.

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