If you are wondering how to paint your Jeep Wrangler hardtop, this article can help.
We will give you an overview of the costs, prep, and time you can expect to invest in repainting your Jeep hardtop as well as answers to the frequently asked questions about painting a Jeep Wrangler hardtop. For the best results, it may be best to leave the painting up to a professional.
If you are just looking to touch up some scratches or “scars” on your hard top acquired through your off-road adventures, we can recommend some of the best touch-up paints.
For a total paint job for the entire hardtop you will want to invest a lot of time in the prep. The only way to get precise lines is through heavy masking which is hard to do precisely if you do not have the time and patience, which is why many choose to leave painting their Jeep hardtop up to the professionals.
We can help you decide which is best for you by comparing and contrasting the price and potential pitfalls of DIY painting versus going to a professional body shop for a paint job on your hardtop Jeep Wrangler.
How to Paint a Jeep HardTop
The most important part of painting a Jeep hardtop is the prepwork. The hardtop will already be made out of plexiglass and have a layer of paint over that.
You will need to sand through both the paint and buff out any visible scratches in the plexiglass before painting. Most people do not have the right tools necessary for sanding out the entire hardtop evenly.
If you have a lot of time and patience to invest you may choose to sand out the top by yourself, but make sure that you are using a high-quality sandpaper.
You may have better luck using a professional electrical sander instead of doing it by hand. This is a very time-consuming process which is why a lot of people would rather leave it up to a professional.
After the appropriate prep work is done to the Jeep Wrangler, you can begin the masking process. You will need to apply masking tape to all of the windows and along the sides of the hardtop.
If the masking job is not done right, there will be non-straight lines that make the paint job look less aesthetically pleasing, defeating the purpose of the new paint job.
It can be disappointing to invest a lot of time and money into a DIY project, all to end up having to go to a professional to fix the less than professional job that you did yourself.
To prevent this from happening, if you are unsure of your abilities in painting the Jeep hardtop yourself, you should probably leave it up to the professionals.
How to Touch-Up Scratches on a Jeep HardTop
Many people are proud of the scratches on their Jeep hardtop acquired through off-roading, referring to them affectionately as “scars”. However, if you would rather not have scratches all over your black hardtop, there is an easy way to fix it.
Some people have recommended using a sharpie to cover up marks in a black hardtop and we would like to confirm that this does not in fact work.
If you want to effectively cover up scratches in a Jeep Wrangler hardtop you will need to properly prep the surface by buffing out any scratches.
This must be done gently if you are not redoing the entire hardtop, only enough to even out the surface where the plexiglass or paint has bent outwards. After prepping the surface, including scrubbing it completely clean with a degreaser (dawn dish soap will work fine),
For the best results, you should use a high-quality paint that is specifically for cars. You should not use craft paint or house paint on your Jeep Wrangler hardtop, or you will probably not be pleased with the results.
You should only use car paint that matches the color of your hardtop to cover up scratches. This is easy enough to do yourself, so you can save some money versus going to a shop for a total paint job by touching up the scratches.
However, if the scratches are deep and cause the plexiglass to be scratched or bent, you may still be able to see the indentation of the scratch under the paint.
A complete paint job from a shop will solve this problem by buffing out the entire hard top surface evenly before coating it with a new layer of paint.
How to Paint a Whole Jeep HardTop
Painting the entire Jeep hardtop is a completely other undertaking than touching up the scratches. It is a far more labor-intensive process and it will be more expensive for both the materials and the labor needed.
You may try to save money by doing the labor yourself, but be advised that an incorrect paint job will make your Jeep Wrangler look shabby. For the best results, a body shop can do a paint job for a reasonable price.
If you want an unusual color or custom paint job, it may cost more money. To paint the entire Jeep hardtop the surface will first need to be buffed out with sandpaper or an electric sander.
Doing this by hand will be extremely time intensive and grueling. An electric sander will help in the process by taking some of the strain off of your hands.
After the original layer of paint and any scratches have been completely sanded down, the next step is to properly clean the surface of the Jeep with a degreaser.
Once it is squeaky clean, it can be masked and painted. The masking process is super important when it comes to getting clean lines. Clean lines are essential for an aesthetically pleasing paint job.
Should You Paint Your Jeep HardTop Yourself?
If you are wondering whether or not you want to paint the hardtop of your Jeep yourself, you should ask yourself several questions.
You should first consider why you are getting the paint job. If you are seeking to change the color of the hardtop, the process will be more intensive and expensive.
However, if you are simply looking to touch up the scratches or “scars” on your Jeep Wrangler, you can use a high-quality touch-up paint at home. This can be more cost-effective than going to a shop for a touch-up job.
Trying to repaint the hardtop yourself is an undertaking that should not be taken lightly.
The process of buffing out the original layer of paint alone could take an entire day or multiple days if done by one person by hand. Another aspect to consider is the masking. Properly masking a car for a paint job is very hard and takes a lot of patience.
Perfectly straight lines are hard to achieve and a professional body shop will ensure that the job gets done right so that you are not driving around in a shabby paint job.
Is Painting Your Jeep Hardtop DIY a Bad Idea?
If you know what you are doing and have the right tools, there is no reason why painting your Jeep hardtop yourself should be a bad idea. If you mess up, you may need to spend some more money to buy additional supplies or to pay a shop to fix it, but it is all in the journey.
Some people enjoy undertaking difficult DIY projects, and repainting a hardtop certainly is not for the lighthearted. It takes a lot of time, patience, skill, and dedication.
If you paint your hard top yourself and it turns out good, you can be proud of your skills.
However, if it does not come out how you wanted, you may regret not spending the extra money to get a professional paint job. In the next section we will give you some tips for how to paint your Jeep hardtop yourself.
Tips For Painting Your Jeep HardTop
In this section of the article we will give you some of our expert tips on painting your Jeep hardtop.
If you are planning on doing it yourself, or paying a body shop, this article can help by giving you an overview of what to expect in terms of price, materials, and labor time and costs. Here is a list of tips for painting your Jeep Wrangler hardtop.
- Start with a clean surface.
When you first start the process of repainting the hardtop, you will want to completely clean the Jeep to get a better idea of what damage is done to it and what problem areas there are.
Using a dish soap such as dawn is effective at cutting through grease, no expensive car soaps or car washes required.
- Buff it out.
The fiberglass surface of the Jeep Wrangler hardtop will be coated with an existing layer of paint. During the sanding stage you will want to buff out any imperfections in the paint job as well as removing the totality of the original paint. If there are any deep scratches, you will want to buff these out and find a way to cover them.
Using an electric sander can help with this stage because sanding the entire surface of the hardtop is a very labor-intensive process.
After the sanding stage you will also need to wash it down again with another batch of soapy water and degreaser to remove the dust produced from the sandpaper. You will need the surface to be squeaky clean to do an effective paint job.
- Straight lines and details.
When it comes to masking the car, the beauty is in the details. The eyes are naturally drawn to the windows of the car so you should take special care to mask these areas of the SUV evenly for the best looking paint job.
This is the second hardest part of the paint job after buffing out the surface because it takes a lot of patience and skill to achieve perfectly straight lines.
- Use high-quality paint.
The quality of the paint used is important if you are expecting the paint job to last. Do not be tempted to use knock off paints or cheap paint to repaint your hardtop unless you want to have to repaint it a couple months down the line.
For the best results you should only use top-rated car paint that is recommended by the professionals. A lot of people really like the Mopar brand of paint for touching up Jeeps because their products are especially made for Jeep customization.
What is the Best Paint For Painting Your Jeep HardTop
If you are wondering what the best paint is for Jeeps, we suggest using Mopar brand touch-up paint. Jeep enthusiasts seem to agree that this is the best type of paint for the job.
Mopar is a top-rated company that makes accessories and products for the customization of Jeeps and other vehicles. Their touch up paint is super effective and will last over time.
How Much Does it Cost to Paint Your Jeep HardTop
The price of painting your Jeep hardtop will depend on a few different factors. The price for a few touch ups can be as cheap as a $20 can of black paint and some sandpaper.
However, to repaint the entire Jeep Wrangler hardtop at a shop, you can be looking at several thousand dollars. Between $2,000 and $3,000 is about what you can expect to be quoted for a total hardtop repaint at most shops. This is because of the intensive sanding and masking process that it requires.
The labor costs are what are so expensive because it takes a long time to complete the entire process. If you want a unique color for a custom paint job this can also up the price by a few hundred dollars.
We hope that after reading this handy guide to painting a Jeep Wrangler hardtop, you have a better idea of how to go about painting your own Jeep hardtop.
If you are looking for a quick touch up, we recommend using Mopar black paint. It is affordable and is the best on the line for Jeep hardtops.
You will want to make sure that the surface of the Jeep has been well-washed with a degreaser to remove all sorts of dirt before you begin any sort of painting. For a full paint job you are best off going to a shop, but it will cost you several thousand dollars.
You can try to save money by doing the paint job yourself, but be warned that it is a labor-intensive process that requires a lot of skill, patience, and time.