Automotive painters work on the surfaces of motor vehicles, primarily in restoring vehicles to their original condition following damage and subsequent auto body repair. Generally, automotive painting begins when body work has been completed. Some of the duties that an automotive painter completes include: removing exterior trim and hardware; removing layers of sub-coating; matching colours and mixing paints; preparing metal surfaces for painting by spot filling, sanding, and masking; applying primers, primer surfacers, enamels, clearcoats and urethanes; cleaning and polishing painted surfaces including removing and replacing decals; and applying anti-corrosive treatments.
Automotive painters use hand and power tools in their work. Commonly used tools are sanders and spray guns. Computers and related software may be used in some workplaces for computerized paint colour reading, generating paint formulas and tinting. In some workplaces, decals and graphics are produced by computerized equipment.
Journeypeople in this trade usually work indoors and can expect a work environment that includes paint fumes, dust and noise. Health and safety are important issues for automotive painters, as they are exposed to chemical (e.g. paints, compounds, solvents) and physical (e.g. spray guns, sanders) hazards. Ongoing safety training and a good knowledge of government safety standards and regulations are important in providing a safer working environment.
Many automotive painters work in close contact with motor vehicle body repairers who tend to work in auto body shops or dealerships. Automotive painting duties may overlap with motor vehicle body repairers' duties, particularly in small shops. In larger places of employment, automotive painters likely work as specialists, after body repairs have been completed. While they may work as part of the repair team, automotive painters tend to work independently.
Key attributes for people entering this trade include: mechanical aptitude; manual dexterity; good colour vision; the ability to do precise work that requires attention to detail; and an eye for creativity. Good physical condition and agility are important because the work often requires considerable standing, bending, crouching, kneeling and reaching.
Being an automotive painter is very self-rewarding. With experience, journeypersons have a number of career options, including supervisory or teaching/training in the field.
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