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Technical Information

Recommended Conditions:
70º F or more in a dry, dust-free environment. When painting in humid or colder conditions, allow for extended drying time. Use of warm moving air, such as a heat gun or infra-red lamp is recommended to speed up drying time and to ensure that all excess water is evaporated. Make sure the air source is free of contaminates, especially oil and water.

Set Up:
Spray gun size: 1.0mm-1.3mm; 30-40 psi for HVLP, reduced pressure and conventional. Auto Air Colors work best with setups that allow for increased air pressure and smaller sized nozzles. For smaller spray guns, use 0.8mm to 1.0mm nozzles.

Airbrush Size: 0.5mm: 40-50 psi   0.2mm: 4200 Series Detail Colors

Auto Air Medium Reducer or Auto Air Fast Reducer may be used to thin paints for smaller sized airbrushes or lower psi settings.

A 4 ounce bottle of Auto Air Color wil generally cover 3-4 square feet.

For Motorcycles: 1 quart and 1 pint
For complete paint jobs:
Small vehicle: 2 quarts
Medium to large vehicle: 2½-3 quarts
Full-size truck or SUV: 1 gallon

Proper preparation is crucial to ensuring a successful paint job. Prepare the surface using normal custom painting methods with special attention to the following:

  • Clean surface thoroughly, before and after sanding. Use a solvent-based degreaser/panel wipe.
  • Scuff: Over primed surface, use 600 grit wet and dry paper or rough grade scuff pad.
  • When applying graphics over urethane finish which serves as base color for Auto Air Colors, scuff with 800 grit wet & dry paper to avoid large scratches.
  • Sanding and/or scuffing needs to completely remove any gloss points from the surface. Be careful with crevices, edges, folds and other areas that are difficult to sand with broad strokes.

Auto Air Colors are compatible with all urethane, waterborne and epoxy automotive primers. Use of primer is not absolutely necessary when working over substrates other than metal.

  • Metal – Use urethane or epoxy primer over any areas where exposed metal. Use of urethane sealer over a catalyzed urethane primer not necessary. Instead use 4000 Series Base Coat Sealers.
  • Plastics – Use of an adhesion promoter necessary when working over plastics which have an oily composition. Scuff thoroughly removing all gloss.
  • Aluminum – Apply 4000 Series Base Coat Sealer direct to substrate after scuffing. Less abrasive scuff pad may be used when preparing aluminum.
  • Urethane Finishes – Apply 4000 Series Base Coat Sealer direct to substrate after scuffing. If using urethane finish as base color for graphics with Auto Air Colors, use color direct to urethane finish after scuffing with 800 grit wet & dry paper without use of Base Coat Sealer.
  • Fiberglass - Apply 4000 Series Base Coat Sealer direct to substrate after scuffing.
  • Carbon-fiber - Apply 4000 Series Base Coat Sealer direct to substrate after scuffing.
  • After-market Panels – Apply 4000 Series Base Coat Sealer direct to substrate after scuffing. Coat any exposed metal with urethane or epoxy sealer.
Light Coats – Apply Auto Air Colors in light coats.

3 Coats: Auto Air Colors may be used as a 3 coat process: 2 very light coats and 1 medium coat. Avoid wet coats. 4200 Series Transparent and 4600 Series Candy Colors may require additional coats. 4500 Series Colors should be applied in only light coats. See specific color series technical sheets for further information.
  • Initial coats have a speckled appearance. Additional coats fill in coverage producing even finish. Final coat should fill in field of color and serve as the “orientation” coat.
  • Working in lightly layered coats is important to ensuring successful results. A light coat of a water-based paint is much thinner than a light coat of urethane paint. This is the most important thing to remember in having success with the Auto Air Colors; WORK IN EXTREMELY LIGHT COATS. Do not try to get total coverage from one coat. Avoid wet coats. Wetted coats may cause pigment to migrate causing a “fish-eye” effect.
  • There are no time windows when working with Auto Air Colors. Additional coats may be applied at any time once the underlying coat has dried. Additional coats may be done within minutes of the last coat or several days may pass before the next coat is applied.

Recoat Time:

Booth conditions- Generally 2-4 minutes.

Open conditions- Generally 5-15 min., depending on humidity levels. Use of moving air and/or heat will reduce recoat time. Allow coat to dry prior to application of next coat. Curing each coat with heat is recommended but not necessary if colors are applied in light coats and final finish is completely cured prior to taping or clearing.

Mid-Coats: Use Transparent Base as mid-coat prior to taping or clearing recommended. Transparent Base serves as mid-coat to protect colors from markings during taping. Transparent Base also works to create a smooth texture over colors prior to clear coat application.
  • Apply 1 – 2 coats after curing underlying paint job.
  • Humid conditions: use of a urethane mid-coat (colorless urethane binder) may work best instead when protecting colors prior to taping in high humidity conditions.
  • Colors such as 4500 Series Hot Rod Sparkle and Sparkle Flake Colors create a textured surface due to large pigment size. Applying mid-coat prior to clearing creates smoother surface for clear coat application.
  • Use mid-coat with 4600 Series Candy Colors. After curing, use of urethane mid-coat recommended prior to taping or clearing.

Spot Repair:
Before attempting spot repair, make sure paint is thoroughly cured.
  1. Sand paint off failed area. Use coarse dry paper, do not wet sand.
  2. Sand paint past failed area insuring all failed paint is removed.
  3. Begin repairing by painting sanded area first. Apply enough coats to completely cover.
  4. After filling in sanded area, blend by painting entire panel or extended area surrounding repair.

Auto Air Colors can be cured in a spray booth with air movement, by infrared heat lamps, or a heat gun.

Curing in Spray Booth - A spray booth is the preferred environment for painting vehicles with the Auto Air Colors. Bake paint at 120-150ºF for 15-20 minutes or until colors are completely dried. For quicker drying times, increase airflow rate and booth temperature.

Curing in Open Conditions - Recommended minimum temperature 70ºF and low humidity. Curing Auto Air Colors in humid or cold damp conditions may require extended exposure to heat. Use airflow to speed up drying time. Cure when colors are wet or dry.

  • Auto Air Colors are cured with heat. Use heat gun or infra-red lamp to cure colors. If not curing with heat, allow colors ample time to dry prior to taping or clear coat application. Drying time will vary depending upon environment.
  • An Infra-red lamp (IR) – allow lamp to cure colors at a safe distance generally over 12 inches to prevent blistering paint. Duration may vary from 5 – 30 mins. coat build-up, wetness and conditions. Cure colors dry to the touch without tack.
  • A heat gun is effective when curing smaller areas such as body panels, tanks, fenders, helmets, etc. Generally colors cure 1-2 minutes per square foot. Keep heat gun moving and at a safe distance of 6" or more to avoid blistering. Cure colors dry to touch without tack.
When used correctly, Auto Air Colors will not peel when taped. Most types of tape work excellent. For transfer tape, use a high tact tape.

Tape Time:
Cure with heat 5-30 minutes. Curing with heat prior to taping highly recommended. Cure thoroughly and let paint surface cool to room temperatures prior to taping.
Booth conditions: without heat but airflow: 30 min. to 1 hr.
Open conditions: without heat 12 – 24 hrs.

Helpful Tips for Masking and Taping:
  1. Use of Transparent Base as Mid-Coat prior to taping. Use of Transparent Base or a urethane mid-coat/ inter-coat clear over base color prior to taping allows for easier application as overspray may be removed without marking colors. Application of mid-coat also allows tape to better adhere to Auto Air Colors. The mid-coat creates a less-textured surface upon which masking material, fine-line tape and low-tact tape can better lay down without lifting (not peeling the paint up, but the tape lifting off the surface). Use of urethane mid-coat recommended when taping in humid conditions.
  2. Recoat With Base Colors - To create a cleaner, crisper edge along the tape line, apply another coat of base color prior to applying graphics color. Auto Air Colors porous texture creates spaces between the tape and surface which subsequent coats may crawl into, creating a bleeded edge. Additional coat of base color fills in open spaces under tape, creating a crisper line when the graphic color is applied.
Before cleaning, use a low solvent based degreaser to remove any dust, particulates, smudges or fingerprints that may be on the painted surface.

Do NOT clean with water.

Auto Air Colors are compatible with all urethane clears. Some colors may dry to a textured, porous surface. Applying multiple tack coats creates an even film upon which wet coats may be applied. Use a slower activator/ hardener to allow for more reflow & self-leveling, allowing clear time to soak into paint. There are no time window limitations to follow when applying the clear. Once the Auto Air Colors have been cured with heat, the clear may be applied.

Application of Transparent Base as mid-coat prior to urethane clear application is recommended to create a smooth surface for clear coat, especially with larger flaked colors such as Hot Rod Sparkle, Sparkle Flakes, Gem Chameleons, etc.
  1. Start with 1 light tack coat. Allow 10-15 minute flash time.
  2. Apply medium tack coat. Allow 10-15 minute flash time.
  3. Apply wet coats. Follow clear manufacturer’s instructions.
Clean Up:
Use Auto Air Cleaner or Restorer as directed on label for best removal and maintenance of spray equipment when using Auto Air Colors.

Although Auto Air Colors contain 0.0 VOC, user or any persons who may be exposed to the airborne particulates are required to wear a NIOSH/MSHA approved respirator. Protect from contact with skin or eyes. Use standard safety and handling procedures to minimize potentials hazards. See Material Safety Data Sheets for complete safety and handling information.