How To Paint Your ATV-UTV

How To Paint Your ATV-UTV

You’ve got a badass ATV that you really enjoy on the weekends.

But maybe you’re not that keen on how it looks.

Whether your ATV is brand new or you’ve had it for a while, the good news is that you can change its appearance by painting it. 

How do you paint your ATV?

You will basically be painting the ATV’s plastic parts, such as its fender. After removing the plastic, you can paint the ATV in any way you like, without a hassle. Once you’re done, simply put it back on your ATV and you’re good to go.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about how to paint your ATV. We’ll start with a quick color tutorial.

Colors That Work Best On Your ATV

Painting ATV Plastics

Of course, you can choose any color you want for your ATV.

Now’s your chance to be creative and get the ATV of your dreams.

That said, it’s helpful to bear in mind that you should consider the color that will hold up the best.

You want your paintwork to be durable and last as long as possible without the need for retouching, especially if you’re quite tough on your ATV.

Generally, very dark colors such as navy blue and black, will show scratches the most and should be avoided if possible.

Lighter colors such as red and yellow seem to fare better.

However, the best way to prevent imperfections from showing on your ATV is to choose colorful patterns that will hide any scratches from view.

A popular choice is the camo pattern. The bonus of it is that it looks really cool on ATVs.

Paint Your ATV In Six Easy Steps

Right, now that you’ve chosen the color you want for your ATV, you’re probably keen to get started with the painting process.

Here are the steps you should follow to paint your ATV. 

Step One: Clean The Plastic

ATV Wash

Before you give the plastic of your ATV a makeover, you need to clean it well.

This will make painting it easier and more attractive because you won’t have dirt trapped underneath the paintwork.

You can clean the plastic with some soapy water.

Step Two: Sand Down The Plastic

This is another important step when prepping your ATV for paintwork.

Sanding the plastic parts with 180 grit sandpaper will remove the coating on them that’s been caused by exposure to the elements, such as the sun’s rays.

However, when sanding the plastic, make sure you don’t press too hard as that can cause imperfections in it. You want to be firm but gentle.

Step Three: Remove Contaminants

To remove any contaminants on the plastic, you need to clean it again, but this time use a degreaser and cleaner.

A good product to try is Panel Prep Surface Cleaner and Degreaser (available from Amazon).

You want to spray a lot of this onto the plastic and leave it for a few minutes so that it can get to work.

It will remove contaminants and sandpaper dust that can prevent the paint from sticking to the plastic.

Step Four: Use An Adhesive

Polyvance Plastic Magic

When your paintwork is completed, you won’t want to worry about it for a long time.

The last thing you want to see is cracks forming in the paint.

To ensure that the paint will have longevity, you should apply a product to the plastic that will ensure the paint remains on it for longer.

A good product to try is Polyvance Plastic Magic (available from Amazon).

It’s a bit like spray paint, and it will prevent the paint from peeling over time.

After you’ve applied it to the plastic, leave the plastic somewhere to dry before you move on to the next step.

Step Five: Apply A Primer

This is another product you’ll need to ensure that your paintwork looks as professional as possible, so don’t miss this step or think that you don’t need a primer.

A primer will fill in any imperfections in the plastic, such as scratches, so that your paintwork can be as smooth as possible.

The bonus of this is that it can also make your ATV look brand new.

A good primer to try is Duplicolor Plastic Adhesion Promoter (available on Amazon). It’s a fast-drying product, which is a bonus.

Step Six: Apply The Paint

Painting ATV

This is the step you’ve been waiting for!

Choose a paint as well as a clear coat that will go on top of it, but make sure that the products contain a flex additive.

This ensures that the paint will not flake and chip over time.

After painting the plastic, make sure you let it dry properly before applying a second coat.

Avoid applying too much paint in one go as that can cause it to run, which could result in you having to do the paintwork all over again.

Take your time to prevent the process from becoming stressful or tedious.

How To Paint ATV In Camo Colors

If you want to paint your ATV with camo colors, you’ll have to follow steps one to five in the above guide. Then, follow these steps.

Step One: Get The Right Items

Camo Colors

To paint your ATV in camo colors, you’ll need a pencil and three paint colors.

Make sure you choose a light color, a medium color, and a dark color.

Popular camo colors include beige, tan, grey, green, brown, and black.

Step Two: Draw The Camo Pattern

You will have to draw the camouflage pattern on the plastic with the use of a pencil.

It might help you to draw camo colors and patterns on other objects to get them to look the way you want them to, bearing in mind that you can make the shapes big or small depending on your preference.

When you’re happy with your designs, copy them onto your ATV.

Step Three: Start Painting!

Painting ATV Camo

Start painting with the paint color that’s the lightest, such as beige, and apply it to approximately a third of the camo shapes you’ve drawn on your ATV.

When the paint has dried, you should apply a second coat of it.

Once that has been done, you can move on to the next color!

This color should be one that’s a bit darker than the first color you chose, such as green.

Take half of the shapes that have not been colored in and paint them with this color.

As with the previous paint color, make sure you let the coat dry before applying a second coat.

Finally, use the darkest paint, such as grey or black, to paint the rest of the shapes. Make sure you paint two coats of it.

To ensure that your camo colors remain looking fresh and new, always apply clear paint to the entire paintwork when it’s dry.

You should also apply two coats of it to seal it in and offer it protection. 

That’s it, you’re done and probably can’t wait to take your sparkling new ATV out for a ride!

Related Questions

What happens if I mess up the paint job and have to re-sand the plastic?

If your paint is runny or messy and you need to do it again, choose a sandpaper with a grit of around 600 so that you only remove the paint and not the primer that you’ve used, otherwise you’ll have to do those steps all over again.

How can I make camo colors on my ATV with spray paint?

It’s difficult to spray paint camo shapes you’ve drawn on your ATV, so use leaves!

Find leaves of different shapes and place these on your ATV plastic.

Spray paint over and around them. When you remove the leaves, you’ll see a camo pattern.

Try this on other plastic before doing it on your ATV.


Changing the plastic on your ATV so that it’s a different color or pattern is an easy way to give your vehicle a completely new look.

It’s also sure to increase the plastic’s longevity because the paint will protect it against damage and even hide imperfections, such as nicks and scratches, from view.

In this guide, we’ve provided you with a step-by-step tutorial to paint your ATV plastic, bearing in mind some important tips so that you get a professional result.

As you can see, with the right steps and products at your disposal, as well as a bit of patience, painting your ATV is a breeze.

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