Can Regular Spray Paint Be Used On RC Car Bodies?

If you’re an RC car enthusiast, you know the importance of having a well-painted and visually appealing car body. The paint job enhances the overall aesthetics and adds a personal touch to your RC car. When it comes to painting RC car bodies, one common question that arises is whether regular spray paint can be used. In this article, we will explore the suitability of regular spray paint for RC car bodies and provide some valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

RC car bodies come in various materials, such as polycarbonate, lexan, or ABS plastic. These lightweight, durable, and flexible materials make them ideal for RC car bodies. When it comes to painting these bodies, it is quite important to select the appropriate kind of paint, one that adheres effectively and results in a smooth finish. Regular spray paint is commonly available and can be tempting to use due to its affordability and accessibility. However, several factors must be considered before deciding whether it is suitable for RC car bodies.

Quick Answer

Yes, regular spray paint can be used on RC car bodies. However, there are a few things to consider before you begin.
First and foremost, make sure the surface is clean and free of any dirt or debris that could interfere with the paint’s adhesion.
Second, if you’re painting a plastic body, use a primer designed for plastics to ensure the paint will stick properly.
Lastly, be sure to apply several thin coats of paint rather than one thick coat in order to achieve an even finish. With these tips in mind, you should have no problem using regular spray paint to give your RC car a new look.

Understanding RC Car Bodies

Due to their lightweight and flexible nature, RC car bodies are often made of polycarbonate, Lexan, or ABS plastic. These materials can withstand the impact and stress associated with high-speed racing or off-road driving. Additionally, they are also transparent, allowing hobbyists to paint them from the inside, protecting the paint job from scratches and damage.

Factors to Consider

Before using regular spray paint on an RC car body, it’s essential to consider a few factors:

Adhesion: Regular spray paint may not adhere well to the RC car body material, resulting in peeling or chipping over time.

Flexibility: RC car bodies require a paint that can flex without cracking or flaking. Regular spray paint may not be designed to withstand the constant flexing and vibrations experienced by RC cars.

Durability: Extreme temperatures, high humidity, and exposure to ultraviolet light are just some of the challenges that RC cars must overcome. The paint used on the car body should be durable enough to withstand these elements.

Types of Spray Paint

When it comes to painting RC car bodies, there are specific types of spray paint that are better suited for the task:

Polycarbonate Spray Paint

Specifically designed for RC car bodies, polycarbonate spray paint provides excellent adhesion, flexibility, and durability. It bonds well with the material and can withstand the stresses and strains associated with RC car usage.

Lexan Spray Paint

Similar to polycarbonate spray paint, lexan spray paint is formulated for use on RC car bodies. It offers good adhesion and flexibility, ensuring a long-lasting paint job.

Priming the RC Car Body

Before applying any paint, it’s essential to prime the RC car body. Priming prepares the surface for better paint adhesion and ensures a smoother finish. For RC car bodies, it is recommended to use a plastic primer specifically designed for polycarbonate or Lexan materials. This step helps the paint bond better and prevents issues such as peeling or chipping.

Applying Regular Spray Paint

While regular spray paint may not be the ideal choice for RC car bodies, it can still be used with some precautions. If you decide to use regular spray paint, follow these steps for better results:

  1. Surface Preparation: Clean the RC car body thoroughly to remove any dirt, oil, or debris. Use soap and water or a mild solvent, and allow it to dry completely.
  2. Sand the Surface: Using sandpaper with a fine grit, create a rough texture on the surface of the body of the RC vehicle by lightly sanding it. This helps the paint adhere better.
  3. Apply a Primer: Use a plastic primer suitable for the RC car body material. Apply it evenly and let it dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Spray Paint Application: Apply the regular spray paint in thin and even coats, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next one. This helps achieve a smooth and uniform finish.
  5. Protective Clear Coat: Once the paint has dried, apply a protective clear coat designed for RC car bodies. This adds an extra layer of protection and enhances the overall durability of the paint job.

Tips for a Successful Paint Job

To ensure a successful paint job on your RC car body, consider the following tips:

  • Choose the Right Paint: Opt for paint specifically formulated for RC car bodies, such as polycarbonate or Lexan spray paint. These types of paint offer better adhesion, flexibility, and durability.
  • Preparation is Key: Properly clean and prepare the RC car body before painting. This includes removing any existing paint, sanding the surface, and applying a suitable primer.
  • Even Coats: Apply the paint in thin and even coats to achieve a professional-looking finish. It is important to avoid applying too much paint all at once because doing so can result in drips and an uneven texture.
  • Allow Drying Time: Be patient and allow each coat of paint to dry fully before applying additional coats or handling the RC car body. This helps prevent smudging or damage to the paint job.
  • Protect the Paint: Consider using a clear protective coat or a clear vinyl wrap to shield the paint from scratches, debris, and UV exposure. This helps prolong the lifespan of the paint job.

Maintenance and Protection

After completing the paint job on your RC car body, it’s important to maintain and protect it to ensure longevity. Here are some maintenance tips:

  • Regular Cleaning: Clean the RC car body regularly using a mild soap and water solution. It is important to refrain from using any strong chemicals or abrasive objects, since doing so might ruin the paint.
  • Avoid Extreme Conditions: Try to avoid exposing the RC car body to extreme temperatures, moisture, or prolonged sunlight. These conditions can degrade the paint and cause it to fade or peel.
  • Touch-Ups: If you notice any chips or scratches on the paint, perform touch-ups as soon as possible. Use the same type of paint and follow the same application process to maintain consistency.


While regular spray paint can be tempting due to its availability and affordability, it may not provide the best results when used on RC car bodies. Polycarbonate or Lexan spray paint, specifically designed for RC car bodies, offers superior adhesion, flexibility, and durability. By choosing the right paint, properly preparing the surface, and following the recommended application techniques, you can achieve a high-quality and long-lasting paint job for your RC car body.


Can I use acrylic paint on RC car bodies?

Acrylic paint is not recommended for RC car bodies as it lacks the necessary flexibility and durability. It is more suitable for static models or decorative purposes.

Can I paint the outside of the RC car body?

Painting the outside of the RC car body is possible but increases the risk of damage and scratches. Painting from the inside provides better protection for the paint job.

Do I need to sand the RC car body before painting?

Yes, lightly sanding the surface of the RC car body helps the paint adhere better and creates a rough texture for improved adhesion.

How long should I let the paint dry before applying a clear coat?

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times. Generally, allowing the paint to dry for 24 hours is recommended before applying a clear coat.

Can I use regular spray paint if I don’t have access to RC-specific paint?

While not ideal, you can use regular spray paint as a temporary solution. However, it may not provide the same adhesion, flexibility, and durability level as RC-specific paint.

Leave a Comment