How Long Does Car Paint Take To Dry?

Beautifying your car by regularly repainting it can be a hassle due to the fact that you have to wait for a designated time frame for the car paint to dry.

Repainting your car is a very fun and exciting activity with only one detrimental factor which is the time it takes for the paint to dry completely.

Absolute patience and knowledge of car paint drying time is needed before riding a freshly painted car to prevent smudging the paint.

How Long Does Car Paint Take To Dry?

How Long Does Car Paint Take To Dry?

Some paints can dry up in less than 2 hours while others may take a full day or more. However, this estimated time refers to when the paint is  dried enough for the car to be driven. It doesn’t make the car eligible for washing until a longer time(2 months).

The time it takes for a car paint to dry largely depends on the type of paint and external factors such as the surrounding weather conditions.

There are many types of car paints which all differ in their drying time. Here is a detailed analysis of frequently used car paints and their required drying time.

Acrylic Enamel

Acrylic enamel is known for it’s durability and quality looks. It is a commonly used car paint that comes in two different categories based on their method of application and coating mixture.

Single-stage is the first category of the acrylic enamel paint. In this stage, the clear coat and base coat are combined. Hence, one coat paint is enough to utilize. The single stage typically takes about 1-6 hours to get dry and maximum of 24 hours to be completely dried.

Second category of the acrylic enamel is a two-stage paint which involves the application of two coats of paint, one for the base and the other for the clear coat respectively. The drying time for this paint(after the application of the clear coat) is approximately 48 hours, nothing less!

Acrylic Lacquer

Acrylic lacquer is one of the oldest car paints, it has been in existence for longer than most of the other car paints. This paint can be applied manually without professional assistance. It has a very glossy and shiny feel but has a low durability and poor resistance to chipping. This paint typically dries up within 1 to 24 hours.


This is one of the best car paint in terms of durability and resistance to chipping and fading. Urethane is more expensive than the acrylic paint although it is totally worth the cost. This paint is difficult to apply manually and should be done by professionals.

Urethane has a pretty fast drying time ranging from 4-6 hours.

Acrylic Urethane

The acrylic urethane is unique in the sense that, it can be applied manually in an easy way and it has a very short drying time. It contains a compound that facilitates it’s ability to stick to the car’s surface and form a good layer. The drying time for acrylic urethane is approximately 1hour(about 40mins baking time and close to 30mins cooling time).

Spray Painting

Spray painting is the easiest and most stress-free method of car painting. If you repaint your car using a spray paint, it takes about 30 minutes for curing and 5 to 6 hours for complete drying although this estimated drying time may vary depending on the spray paint brand you used.

How To Dry A Car Paint Fast?

Waiting for your car paint to dry completely can be really tiring and time consuming especially when you want to get on the road as soon as possible. Here are useful guides and  tips to make your car paint dry faster:

  • Proper ventilation of the car surroundings: keep your freshly repainted car in an open area where the airflow is unrestricted as it will help speed up the drying process.
  •  Heat: the higher the temperature surrounding the car, the faster the drying process of the paint. Use a heater or similar apparatus to switch up the temperature around the car for about 30 minutes.
  • Repaint using thin layers of paint: when repainting or touching up your car, try to mix the paint with a solvent to make the paint layers thinner before application. Thin layers dry up faster, however use a solvent that would have no effect on the paint quality.
  • Use a spray paint: this is the fastest drying paint and it’s recommended for users who are time conscious or impatient about waiting for car paints to dry.

How Long Does It Take Clear Coat To Dry?

The clear coat takes an estimated time of  24 to 48 hours to dry. However, this timing can be affected by some factors which may delay or speed up the process. Materials used, process of application, weather condition and surrounding temperature of the car can speed up or reduce the clear coat drying process. Nevertheless, the time frame still falls within a day or two.


How long does it take for car paint to cure completely?

It takes an average of 30 to 90 days for car paint to completely cure and harden.

Can I wax my freshly painted car?

Application of wax to a freshly painted car untimely  may hinder the drying process, and the paint may not cure completely which will affect the paint’s durability.

How soon can I wash my car after repainting it?

Caution should be taken in washing you car within the first three months of paint application.

What happens if it rains on my freshly painted car?

Some parts of the paint might be washed off. However, they can be repainted once the car surface is properly dried again.

How long does car paint need to dry before rain?

Before exposure to rain, ensure that the first coating is totally dried up and the second coating should be touchable or partially dried (minimum of 60minutes).

Painting is a huge part of car fashion and should be done carefully. Do not mess up your car paint by ruining the drying process hence the need for the article above. Utilize the tips and knowledge gained from this article when next you’re painting your car.

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