This step-by-step how-to guide will break down and show you the exact process of how to paint a golf cart and all that it entails.
Can you paint a golf cart’s body?
Yes, you can paint a golf cart body, and that is exactly what we will be detailed in this guide today.
Before we begin it’s important to understand just what it is we are painting exactly.
Golf carts are generally made out of two materials; steel and plastic.
Anything that feels metallic on your cart is generally going to be some type of steel, and the body of the cart, which is predominantly what we are focused on here, is made almost exclusively out of plastic (and some fiberglass).
This is important in identifying:
- what needs to be removed, taped, the type of sandpaper needed,
- the motion in which we sand,
- the amount of pressure that needs to be exerted to properly sand the material’s surface,
- the type of paint and primer we will be using.
This is a compiled list of all the materials you are going to need to complete your task:
- Philips head screwdriver
- standard socket wrenches
- disposable gloves
- face masks
- 2-3 large drop cloths
- water hose/buckets
- towels for drying
- microfiber cloths
- 180 to 220-grit sandpaper
- masking/painters tape
- spray paint primer on plastic surfaces
- 2-3 cans of your preferred color/colors of acrylic spray paint
- 1-2 cans of spray-on clear acrylic sealant
Stipping the golf cart down
The first step in this process is to identify the parts of the golf cart you wish to paint and what can be removed.
You will want to strip the cart down to only what you wish to be painted so that you don’t end up getting paint on any other part of the cart.
Most of the things that will get in the way while you are painting can be removed with a Phillips-head screwdriver, a set of standard sockets and wrenches, and a drill with a narrow bit.
Prepare the area
It is important to be aware of the area you are planning to paint.
The preferred area is somewhere indoors, covered and protected from the elements and wind kicking up dust and dirt.
This is especially important for the drying portion of the project.
Also, make sure the space has good ventilation.
We will be recommending acrylic paint, which is generally considered water-based and nontoxic (unless large quantities are ingested directly) in this guide.
If you decide to use paint that contains toxic fumes, it’s important to be aware of how that will impact your surroundings.
After the cart has been properly cleaned and dried, you will drive the stripped-down golf cart onto a drop cloth so that you don’t cover the floor with paint.
Make sure you are wearing clothes you don’t mind getting paint on, and consider gloves, protective eyewear, and a mask, to keep residual dust and debris out of your body.
Clean the Golf Cart
This step is vitally important in creating a professional-looking paint job. I am going to recommend the bare basics of this process.
However, it all depends on how dirty your cart is.
Hose down your cart with a watering hose, or douse your cart with some buckets of water if you prefer that method instead.
Make sure to cover all surfaces of the cart with water. Then, wipe off any dirt, debris, dust, with a cloth or towel.
If your cart is extra dirty or you find that mud is caked on it, you can use a little bit of some regular dish soap to help.
With that being said, water and a towel should be all that is needed here.
Completely dry the surfaces with a towel, and drive your stripped-down and dried cart onto the drop cloth.
Sanding the Surface
Since we will be painting the plastic body of the golf cart, we recommend using a grit between 180 and 220.
This grit of sandpaper is considered “fine,” and is perfect for hand sanding plastic surfaces. This means you don’t need and probably shouldn’t use a power sander for this project.
When sanding, make sure to do so in a circular type of motion while applying medium to firm pressure on the surface of the plastic.
Sand the area down until all paint and debris are removed from the surface.
Wipe away any dirt or sanded material with a microfiber cloth.
Prime the Surface
Make sure to tape off any parts you were not able to remove from the earlier steps and that you do not wish to be painted. c
Cover the entirety of the surface with tape so that no paint has a chance to reach and stain.
Once paint gets on an undesirable surface, it is a difficult process and takes additional steps to remove it.
Now that the surface has been properly prepped, it’s time to start priming.
For the paint to adhere correctly and for a longer-lasting finish, we recommend priming the surface with a single coat of primer (two coats if the golf cart body is a darker color).
This will help fill in any microscopic pores or cracks that may have opened up during the sanding process. It will also provide a uniform surface for the paint to adhere to.
We are using an acrylic primer in this guide, but if you are using a different type of paint, make sure to check the compatibility with the other materials before continuing. Apply one even coat of primer to all surfaces of the cart that wish to be painted.
📋 Keep in mind: If the cart is a darker color, you may need to apply a second coat. Wait the allotted time (instructions are on the back of the primer) and add another coat.
Painting the Golf Cart
Now that all the surfaces have been prepped and primed, it is time to begin spray painting your cart.
Again, in this guide, we recommend using acrylic spray paint to complete this project.
Begin by selecting the desired color spray paint can. Holding the can approximately a foot away from the cart, evenly spray the paint onto the surface of the cart in a sweeping motion.
Be sure to cover all areas evenly while you spray, not concentrating on one area for too long.
For the first coat, a light dusting is fine. The important thing to be aware of here is that all surfaces of the cart are evenly covered, and you are not using so much that the paint is globbing or running.
Once all surfaces are evenly covered, wait about 30 minutes before applying the second coat of paint.
Repeat this process two more times to achieve the minimum number of coats needed to finish the paint job.
The more coats of paint added, the deeper and fuller the color.
Once the paint job is complete, it’s important to apply a sealant to protect the newly painted surfaces. This is especially true if you are using an outdoor cart.
There are many different types of sealants on the market, so we recommend choosing one that is compatible with both the paint and primer you have used.
Apply a thin coat of sealant to all painted surfaces and wait the recommended time for it to dry.
Once it has dried (roughly 30 minutes, the same as the paint), for an especially protected paint, apply a second coat.
Wait 24 hours for everything to set in, and reassemble your cart.
Make sure to be extra careful when putting the parts back on the cart, so that you don’t scratch your brand-new paint job.
Now that your golf cart is freshly painted and looking good as new, take it out for a spin!
What kind of paint do you use to paint a golf cart?
To paint a golf cart, choose an acrylic spray paint that works well on metal surfaces. This kind of paint is long-lasting, simple to use, and available in a variety of colors. Before you start, make sure you thoroughly clean and sand the cart. Then, apply the paint in thin, even layers, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next one.
What is the best way to prep a golf cart for paint?
To prepare a golf cart for painting, start by cleaning and sanding the surface to remove any old paint, rust, or dirt. Use tape to cover areas you don’t want to paint. After that, apply primer and let it dry before sanding again. Finally, apply the paint in thin, even coats, making sure each coat is dry before applying the next one.