How Long Does It Take For Car Paint To Dry? [ Here’s The Answer ]

Giving your car a new coat of brand new paint is one of those things you’d like doing every time. After all, it’s a fun task in all senses.

However, if one thing ruins all this fun, it’s the paint’s drying time. With different factors at play, it’s a bit hard to determine how long it takes for car paint to dry.

For example, while some car paints dry up within a few minutes, others require at least an overnight’s time for the same.

In any case, it’s never a good idea to use your car if the paint hasn’t completely dried up. To help you with this, here’s a complete guide in this regard.

How long does it take for car paint to dry?

As said earlier, different car paints require different times for drying.

On average, you can assume 30-90 minutes for a standard car paint to dry under normal environmental conditions like humidity, dryness, wind speed, etc.

However, the exact time your car’s paint will take to dry up is highly dependent on the paint you’re going to use. The below section deals with the same.

Factors that can affect the time frame for your car paint to dry

Out of all the factors that affect the time frame for your car paint to dry, the type of color occupied is most important. Below is the rundown of the most common car paints you’ll come across.

Urethane

If one car paint has successfully taken over the earlier trend of acrylic paint, it’s urethane. It’s one of the long-lasting paint, however, an expensive choice too.

It is highly resistant to normal chipping and is known to resist fading for at least 10-years under all circumstances.

Urethane paints are also known for their quick drying time, that’s around 4-6 hours.

Note that urethane is one of those car paints that’s pretty hard to handle manually.

Thus, always get the paint job done by experts. Additionally, one type of urethane paint, aliphatic polyurethane, is illegal in some states. So, check out the type of urethane paint you’re using.

Acrylic Lacquer

In case you don’t know, acrylic lacquer or just lacquer was the first-ever car paint and the only option for car owners.

It’s that glossy paint you’d usually find on classic cars. Due to its glossy nature, it tends to fade away quickly and has poor resistance to chipping.

Other cons of acrylic lacquer include its drying time that’s 1-hour for partial drying, and 24-hours for complete drying.

Although it’s the easiest paint to handle manually, if you’re painting your car by yourself, you’d need an extra coating of the paint to get the desired gloss.

Acrylic Enamel

Like urethane, acrylic enamel is another long-lasting car paint as it creates a solid & hard coating over the car’s body irrespective of its material.

It comes in two categories – single-stage and two-stage. In single-stage, the base coat & clear coat are mixed.

Thus, a single coat of paint would do the job. However, in two-stage, you’d need two coats of paint, one for the base coat and another one for the clear coat.

For single-stage acrylic enamel, the drying time is roughly 1-6 hours (partial drying) and 24-hours (complete drying). On the other hand, the drying time is 48-hours after applying the second clear coat.

Acrylic Urethane

If you’d have noticed, every car paint discussed so far is either hard to apply manually or take longer to dry up. To fill both these voids here’s another category of paints, and that’s acrylic urethane.

It’s not only easy to apply manually; it’s likewise quick at drying without external help. It contains a catalyst that helps it quickly stick to the car’s surface, form a thick layer, and dry up.

Time-wise, it takes around 60 minutes to completely dry. Note that this time is inclusive of its baking time.

Besides the type of car paint, other factors that affect the drying time of the paint include:

  • The material of the car body,
  • The coating thickness (or number of coats used), i.e., more the coatings, more the curing time,
  • Temperature, i.e., lower the temperature, lower the speed of paint curing, and vice-versa,
  • Humidity, i.e., an ideal air humidity suitable for car paints, is 40-60% of the air.

These are the other factors that determine how much time the car paint would require to dry up.

How to dry a car paint fast?

If you want to dry car paint quickly, follow the given tips.

Always apply a thin layer of paint on your already painted car

If you are giving a touchup to your car, make sure you apply a thin layer of paint, whether you’d need a single coat or double coat. It is because thin paints take less time to dry and cure.

Further, no car paints come in a thin consistency. Thus, you’d mix any recommended solvent to the paint to improve its consistency without affecting its durability or other aspects.

Good ventilation is a must

The better the airflow around the car, the quicker the paint will dry.

That is, ensure proper ventilation around your recently painted car.

For this, ensure the place you’ve parked your car has sufficient windows or fans installed to accelerate the drying process.

Increase the temperature

Another quick way to dry the car paint is by increasing the temperature around the car.

As the temperature increases, it will fasten the drying process without affecting its characteristics. If it’s not feasible naturally, you can turn a heater around the car and leave it for around 30-50 minutes.

Lower the humidity in the air

Do you find it difficult to dry your clothes when the air is humid? The same goes with your car with a fresh coating of paint.

Humidity in the air lowers the reaction rate and evaporation of the solvents from the paint. Due to this, every paint usually takes more time to dry in case the air is humid.

To do so, use a humidifier around the car and leave it for some time.

Try spray painting your car

You have multiple ways to paint your car.

However, one of the quickest of all is spray painting. This technique ensures a suitable coating of paint on your car besides allowing it to dry up quickly.

So, these are the ways to dry your car’s paint quickly.

How long does car paint need to dry before the rain?

It’s a fact that rain ruins everything, including newly painted car paint.

Although the chances are minute of a complete wash off, a small fraction of your car paint will wash off if it hasn’t dried up completely before the showers.

Hence, it’s necessary to ensure you don’t end up painting your car if it’s raining outside or it seems it’d rain anytime soon.

According to some studies, standard car paint should dry for at least 45-60 minutes before the rain and minimum damage.

In other words, if you’ve applied two coatings, ensure the first coating has completed dried up and the second coating has dried up partially.

Conclusion

As an owner, looking after your car’s exterior looks is your primary job. In this, ensuring a top-quality paint all over the car’s body picks the top spot. However, painting a car isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Besides choosing the ideal technique and paint, you need to be mindful of how long it will take to dry up. This article has compiled everything from the answer to this query plus what type of paints you can consider for your car’s next touchup.