The best primer for car paint

Give your car the paintwork finish it deserves with the best primer.

Primer is sprayed onto a set of Minilite wheels

by Ryan Gilmore |

Primer is an essential component if you're planning on attacking your car with the paint gun, but the fact remains that there are so many that it can quickly become confusing if you aren't familiar with primer.

We've examined the most popular examples currently on sale and selected our favourite examples of both. We haven't covered absolutely every type of primer but for most tasks the below examples are ideal.

And now that you're treating your car to a fresh coat of paint, why not protect it the best you can with some proper paint sealant or even a ceramic coating that's sure to leave your paintwork gleaming for longer.

The best primer for your car

Hycote White Primer Spray Paint

The best standard car primer
Hycote White Primer Spray Paint
Amazon

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Standard primer like this product from Hycote is designed for repair work because it won't lift any surrounding paintwork. It leaves a good surface for painting but is the most basic primer option available. We like the value of money that this set offers, with 1600 ml of primer that won't run or leave any marks.

Simoniz Etch Primer

The best etch primer
Simoniz Etch Primer
Amazon

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Etch primer is great for priming a bare panel because its adhesive and works on steel, aluminium and fibreglass. This primer from Simoniz is great value for money and will provide a smooth finish on any bare metal. It's also manufactured to prevent corrosion.

Jenolite Anti-Rust Primer Aerosol

the best primer for rust removal
Jenolite Anti-Rust Primer Aerosol
Amazon

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Surface rust is a common thing you'll find on an older car as you prep it for painting so why not kill two birds with one stone and tackle the rust as you prime your car for the paint. Jenolite anti-rust turns that rust into black iron phosphate which seals it and prevents it from spreading. It's suitable for steel, aluminium and iron.

Plastic primer

Autotek AT00PPG500 500ml Plastic Primer

The best primer for plastic
Autotek AT00PPG500 500ml Plastic Primer
Amazon

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Plastic primer is designed to be used on, you guessed it, plastic body panels. This simple aerosol from Autotek is our top pick for plastic panels because it's good value for money and very effective.

Jenolite Primer Filler Aerosol Paint

The best filler primer
Jenolite Primer Filler Aerosol Paint
Amazon

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Another way of doing two jobs at once, filler primer will fill in small blemishes in your bodywork as well as prime the surface for painting. It's quick-drying and can be used on more than just metal (it works with wood and plastic too).

What you need to know about primer

What do I need to prime my car for painting?

As well as primer and something to paint, you should also buy the following products:

Masking tape and paper/tarp will ensure that you don't get any overspray onto areas you don't want primer covering.

Sand paper of different grades will ensure the surface is smooth for the primer.

Car washing products will remove any contaminants and dirt from your car to give you better results.

How do I stay safe while using car primer?

Primer can irritate your eyes and cause dizziness if used in a poorly ventilated area. For that reason make sure there is plenty of ventilation as you work and make sure you wear a dust mask and goggles.

Primer is dispensed from a pressurised aerosol canister and is extremely flammable meaning you should avoid naked flames and store it away from heat sources.

READ NEXT:

The best wash brushes for car bodywork and wheels

The best bodywork polishing tools

The best drying towels

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