How to Paint an ATV Frame

Your frame color has a huge impact on the look of your machine. If you’ve always wished your ATV frame paint was a different color or you’ve decided you want a new look, you can have your wish with a little paint. Read this post to learn how to paint ATV frames.

paint atv frame

Choose Your Workspace

You’ll need a closed space with a door and windows like a garage or shed to keep dust and debris from collecting on your paint while it dries and to allow you ventilation.

Lay a drop cloth under the frame to keep chemicals and paint from dripping all over the floor.

Isolate The Frame

Have you wondered how to paint a quad frame, as in, how you get to it to paint it? You’ve got to isolate it. Strip the plastic, parts, and even nuts and bolts so that all you have left is the frame.

Remove the Old Paint

Buy some industrial-grade chemical paint stripper. Wear clothes you don’t mind if you mess up and gloves so you don’t burn your skin. You’ll also need a mask as well as to ventilate the space.

Sand the Frame

When it seems that you’ve removed all of the paint, go over the frame with 200-grit sandpaper. This will remove any tiny bits of paint that you can’t see and make the surface rough so the new paint will adhere better.

It’s best to do the sanding by hand. If you use a power tool, it can polish the frame which will not leave behind a good surface for the paint. If you must use a power tool, you’ll need to add more layers of your primer to make the paint stick.

Tend to Damage

You might notice dents, holes, and cracks in your frame while you’re doing all this paint removing and sanding. If you do, this is an excellent time to do something about it. Buy some epoxy, and some mesh if you’ve got really big holes, and get that frame looking great before you paint it.

Once the epoxy has dried, you can sand it to create an even surface and help the paint stick to the epoxy.

Rewipe with Paint Stripper

Give the frame a once over with some paint stripper again to make sure that it is free of any shred of paint and any epoxy dust that may have gotten stuck to it while sanding.

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Prime The Frame

The next step in how to prep an ATV frame for paint is to purchase some primer.

There are different kinds available. To choose the right primer, you’ll have to consider the final look you want your frame to have and even how it will feel to the touch. If your ATV will be exposed to more than the average amount of moisture, you should choose a primer that is suitable for wet environments to be sure it performs under these conditions. Some primers absorb moisture. There are also primers that inhibit rust. If you have a steel frame or have had issues with rust in the past, you might prioritize one of these primers.

Once you’ve purchased your primer, apply one coat, and let it dry. If your frame was sanded correctly and had a rough surface, then you only need one coat. If your frame is smooth, apply one or two more coats.

Your primer will tell you how long you have to let it dry. Most of them take 24 hours. You have to wait between each coat and before applying the paint.

Choose The Best Paint for ATV Frames

You need to consider several things when choosing the best ATV frame paint.

First, you need to make sure it will work with your primer. Otherwise, it won’t stick as intended.

Then you have to choose a paint that is suitable for metal like latex or oil-based paints.

Latex doesn’t have very strong fumes, doesn’t need any paint thinner, and is easy to clean. The downsides are that you should wait 30 days after you paint it before you clean the ATV to give the paint time to cure before getting it wet and you can’t use it if you polished your metal.

Oil-based paints dry faster, are more durable than latex (though latex is fine), are resistant to scratches, chips, and staining, and cover imperfections well.  The downside is that they are more expensive and they fade faster than latex.

How Much to Paint ATV Frame

Well, that depends. If you’re painting the quad yourself, which is what this post is about, your costs are dependent on the materials you’re purchasing. You’ll be buying paint stripper, primer, paint, and clear coat. Different paints cost different amounts.

Paint ATV Frame

It is possible to use a paint brush or an air brush to spray paint ATV frames.  If you choose to go with an airbrush, you’ll have to thin the paint with water or paint thinner. The paint will specify which you need.

The best way to paint ATV frames is to apply your coat evenly. If you apply too much paint to one area, it may run.

Let the first coat dry for however long the paint specifies and then apply at least one more coat. Remember to let each coat dry before applying the next.

Apply Clear Coat

Once your final coat of paint has dried, you can apply one to two coats of clear coat. Only one is necessary, but some people like to add another.

Consider Powder Coating

Some people prefer to paint their ATVs themselves. This gives you control. But if you want to keep that scratch-resistant finish that came with the powder coating on your stock frame, you’ll need to hire a professional to do it for you. That usually runs between $150 to $200.

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