How To Paint A UTV? (3-Step Guide)

Last Updated On August 5, 2022

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 Buying a used side-by-side might possibly be the best moment of your life, but chances are the previous owner wasn’t so nice to the body panels, roll cage, and interior. Or maybe they were? Regardless, there might be some desired color changes when finding a used side-by-side for sale.

 

And hey, you might want to repaint your UTV when selling to boost the value and likelihood of getting rid of it for a solid price. “Most UTVs that go up on our site are pretty clean, but there are those sellers that might be willing to drop the price significantly if the UTV isn’t in great cosmetic condition,” says Garrett Artaz from UTV Trade

 

Whether you’re buying used or selling for the best possible value, here are some solid paint tips for making it happen.

 

Supplies Needed For Painting A Side By Side

Here are some products you’ll want to consider picking up before starting your UTV paint project:

Paint of choice

 

The paint you use depends on what you’re painting. For example, you might want to use Steel-it or Rust-o-leum to paint the roll bars and a paint made specifically for plastic (like Krylon Fusion) for plastic body panels. There are also plenty of interior body panel paints like Dupli-Color that will work great if the inside of your SxS needs a revamp.

 

We don’t recommend powder coating your roll cage because it makes the welds impossible to inspect, and also the paint will melt if you have to do any additional welding. Just stick to spray or roll-on paints for this project.

 

Sandpaper

Properly smoothing the surface of your project makes a world of difference in how your finished product turns out. When painting a UTV part, you’ll want to start with something like 200-grit sandpaper and move up to 400-grit wet sand for the best results.

 

If you’re too far away from the hardware store or Home Depot, there are plenty of Amazon sandpaper kits for painting that will do the trick.

Tools for part removal

You’ll likely need simple tools like screwdrivers, sockets, etc. to help remove plastic panels, roll bars, and interior panels.

Paint masker

You might want to use a paint masker to mask off certain parts of your side-by-side. We recommend a 3M paint masker for any project that involves sanding/painting.

Painter’s tape 

Use something like 3M automotive performance masking tape when painting UTV parts. Of course, any painter’s tape will work, but you’ll find that the nicer products make things much easier to peel off after the fact.

Paint gun 

We recommend an HVLP paint pistol (that plugs into the air compressor) for the easiest and best-looking results. Snap-on (Bluepoint) makes a really nice model, and if you’re on a budget you might try a Harbor Freight paint gun brand. 

 

Make sure to read the instructions closely when using a paint gun, and avoid over spraying at all costs.

Air compressor 

You’ll need an air compressor to plug your paint gun into. It’s also nice to blow off parts with air after sanding to help get them perfectly clean.

Drop cloth/Plastic floor covering

Don’t forget to cover up the floor of your garage/workspace to avoid annoying paint cleanup.

 

Solvent/Paint thinner

You’ll need the appropriate type of solvent to help you clean paint overspray. Latex paints can be cleaned off with rubbing alcohol, but if you’re using lacquer you’ll want lacquer thinner, and oil-based paint requires a paint thinner/mineral spirits for effectively removing paint from surfaces.

 

Microfiber cloth

A damp microfiber cloth is excellent for wiping off parts before painting and after the paint dries.

 

How To Paint A Side By Side (3-Step Guide) 

Use these guidelines as a backbone for a successful paint job:

Step 1: Remove Part/Mask Off Surrounding Areas

 

Use your tools or paint masker to isolate the parts you want to paint. You’ll probably want to throw down some drop cloths or plastic floor masking to avoid getting paint everywhere.

Step 2: Sand & Clean Areas

 

Sand plastic panels with something like 400-grit wet sandpaper. Metal parts like the roll bar can be hit with 120 or 200-grit sandpaper.

 

Blow the dust off with an air compressor, and wipe the part with a damp microfiber cloth before applying the paint.

Step 3: Apply paint

Use your spray gun, brush, or aerosol can to apply thin coats to your project. Remember, lots of thin coats looks a lot smoother than just a couple of thick coats, so the more patient you are, the better your project will turn out.

Final Thoughts On Painting a UTV?

After you get the color you want, you might add a few layers of automotive clearcoat to enhance and preserve the shine of your vehicle. Don’t forget to drive safely. Happy offroading!

 

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

Ryan Nichols

Ryan Nichols

I first painted professionally in my late teens. I have painted everything from long military base walls to spraying cedar wood siding on cabins in the mountains of Utah. I am also an automotive technician with plenty of auto body and paint experience. In my spare time, I even enjoy artistic oil painting.

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Got Paint Questions? Search For In-Depth Answers Below!

Ryan Nichols

Ryan Nichols

I first painted professionally in my late teens. I have painted everything from long military base walls to spraying cedar wood siding on cabins in the mountains of Utah. I am also an automotive technician with plenty of auto body and paint experience. In my spare time, I even enjoy artistic oil painting.

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