Can You Clear Coat over Primer? (Solved)

There are so many reasons why you shouldn’t clear coat over primer. First and foremost, primer is used as the base of paint to hold onto the car surface.

By itself, primer can’t withstand weather elements. It isn’t as strong as paint. Thirdly, clear coat isn’t made to be applied over primer.

It is meant to be used on paint. When you apply clear coat over primer, you are just wasting your time and products because there will be no effect. And as if that’s not enough the finish will look terrible.

The thought of even applying clear coat over primer doesn’t make sense. Painting is a process and the application of a primer is just a part of this process.

You will still need to sand and apply several coats of paint for a car to look great and have a new paint job. If you are considering applying a clear coat over primer, two things could be putting you in this direction.

One, you want to avoid spending on car paint, secondly, you want to use a shortcut and forego the entire painting process.

can you clear coat over primer

What to Expect When You Clear Coat over Primer?

Your car will look terrible when you are done. When clear coat is applied on primer, it gives your car an awkward shine. When you drive around, you will leave heads turning but not for the right reasons.

This is because the car will look hideous with only primer and clear coat. The other thing is that the clear coat won’t bond well to the paint and it will weaken with time, exposing the metal that is beneath to rust and the weather elements.

Understandably, there are valid reasons why you may want to clear coat over primer. But it is not worth it. Of course, painting isn’t easy, however, if you want your car to look better, you must do it or pay someone to do it for you.

Why Should I Not Clear Coat Primer?

This far, you should already know that applying clear coat over primer and leaving your car just like that is no different than walking around with the car metal naked.

If you look through the characteristics of primer, you need to know that it doesn’t have any form of protection against nature capabilities.

When it gets rained on, the water will soak right through the clear coat. We have already mentioned earlier that the clear coat isn’t capable of holding onto the primer, therefore it won’t last for very long.

When that happens, the water penetrates to the metal and this is a recipe for corrosion. Is this really worth it? Because after a while, the primer will start to crack and you will have a much bigger problem.

As a daily drive car, you shouldn’t even think about clear coating the primer. This option only works when you are using it as a show car.

Can You Use Primer as Paint?

To answer this question, we should look at the biggest difference between primer and paint. Primer comprises resins that allow the paint to bond to surfaces that don’t adhere to regular paint.

Moving on to paint, it contains pigments that give the car color. These pigments are the ones responsible for fighting off the weather elements.

Primer, by itself, is incapable of performing the job paint does and that is to give the car color and protect the metal beneath from corrosion.

This means that paint can’t be used as a primer. When it comes to painting a car, you need to cover the primer with a coat of paint or sealant.

These two serve different purposes and are both very essential when you are painting a car.

Can Primer be the Final Coat of Paint?

No, it can’t. We have already discussed how primer is incapable of providing you with the benefits that paint does. Therefore, you can’t use primer as the final coat of paint.

Clear coat however is the final coat of paint that should be applied to a car. Clear coat creates a protective layer on top of the paint that protects it from dirt, debris, and UV.

Even though clear coat is the recommended final coat of paint, it is advisable to apply some wax to offer another layer of protection over the paint.

Does Primer Need a Clear Coat?

Primer is the first layer of paint and clear coat is the final one, with several coats of paint in between. This shows that primer doesn’t need a clear coat.

Paint is what needs a layer of clear coat on top of it. What primer needs is a top coat of paint to cover it. An uncoated primer can easily allow the metal beneath to be corroded.

Clear coating won’t be able to prevent this from happening. So, once you have applied primer, add at least two layers of paint then seal it off with a clear coat.

Depending on how well you applied the primer to the car, it may flake off or peel after a while.

How to Take Care of a Car that Only Has a Primer and a Clear Coat?

Before we even tell you how to do this, know that it’s not going to be easy. If you decide to apply primer and shoot a clear on top of it, expect dirt to show easily.

Primer is incapable of concealing fingerprints, grease, and other types of stains. You will therefore be washing your car now and then. It even gets worse when you decide to use harsh cleaners that strip off the clear coat.

If you have a car that only has a primer and clear coat, the best way for you to take care of it is to cover it when it gets sunny.

You should also wash the car as frequently as possible to prevent debris and contaminants from eating through the clear coat.

Thirdly, only use gentle cleaners and keep off things that may etch or scratch the delicate paint job. The finish won’t obviously last for and you will just have to paint the car professionally.

Why Do Some People Like the Look of Primer on a Car?

Do you enjoy the finish that only primer leaves behind on a car? Well, you are not alone. Many car owners love the look of nothing but just grey primer on a car.

And that could be the reason why you are researching whether you can clear over primer. The answer to the above topic is simple.

We all have preferences and if you like the look of primer on a car, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The problem is that you can’t leave only primer on your car surface. This is because it won’t withstand the elements and rarely will it match the color of the rest of your car, even if it is painted gray.

When you clear coat over primer, it will lose its unique look. Therefore, if you love the unique look of primer, we recommend choosing the color that suits you the best and painting it on your vehicle.

This shortcut simply won’t work and may cost you thousands of dollars in repairing corroded metal parts.

Can You Paint Over Clear Coat?

When you are performing a thorough paint job, you need to remove clear coat as well as old paint for the fresh one to adhere strongly.

However, if you are performing some touch-up work, you can always paint over clear coat. Just scuff over it and it will look great.

Therefore, you can paint over clear coat, but not when working on a large area. You can also apply clear coat over clear coat that has been there for a while. You just have to sand it slightly so that it can blend easily.

How Many Layers of Clear Coat Can I Apply over Primer?

When it comes to clear coat application, the number of coats needed are two or three. The more coats you apply the better the level of protection the clear coat will be able to offer. Always start with a light first coat.

Can Clear Coat Failure Occur When Applied Over Primer?

Clear coat failure often occurs when it is applied on top of paint that it is not compatible with. This however isn’t likely to occur when painted over primer as this type of paint job won’t last for that long.

Will Clear Coat Add Gloss to Primer?

This is one of the uses of clear coat and of course, it will add gloss to primer. However, the level of shine won’t be as deep as that of paint.

Therefore expect it to look not as good as you may have imagined. Sanding the clear coat can also help with giving your car a shine.

However, the outcome will still be the same. Even with a clear coat, a car that only has primer can’t withstand the weather, more so the harmful UV rays.

To be on the safe side, ensure that you add several coats of paint on top of the primer and then finish it with a clear coat.