6 Best Paints to Use on a Motorcycle Gas Tank: Full Guide!


When it comes to choosing what paint sprayer product will best serve you to paint your motorcycle, we first need to know what kind of spray guns are available in the market. Let’s have a close look at each category of sprayer.

Best Paints For a Motorcycle Gas Tank

1. Compressed Air Sprayers

This is the most conventional kind of spray gun. It works on high pressure and low volume principle. A hosepipe is connected to the paint container and using air compressors an air pressure socket is created which in turn splashes the paint from the other end of the container.

The liquid is expelled out in the form of mist and is in thick quantities. The whole process is a bit loud and can sometimes be unbearable to listen to for extended periods. It may at times be difficult to control the movement of the gun due to extreme pressures.

Best For:

You can use a compressed air sprayer when the project on hand is small or medium-sized.

Where to find one?

You can try out thisSmith Performance Sprayers 190436 Compressed Air Sprayer(amazon aff.link). This one here is suitable for all surface types. Also, it can be used to spray all types of liquid paints

Is it suitable for painting my bike gas tank?

Given the fact that one may find it very difficult to control the movement of an air compressed sprayer, it might not be the best choice to utilize this one for painting something as spherical as a gas tank.

2. High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) Sprayers

As opposed to air compressed guns, these HVLP sprayers employ relatively small amounts of pressure units and can muzzle out more quantities of liquid paints. The lower air pressure renders the user with more control and in turn a better finish. All of these have made the HVLP guns very popular especially among beginners who have little to no experience of painting.

Best For:

This gun is most suited for small projects or portions which require detailing or where the surface is embossed.

Where to find one?

You will be able to find a great deal of HLVP paint sprayers on and off the web. If we were to recommend a few of them it would include CARTMAN HVLP Gravity Feed Air Spray Gun(aff.link)owing to its higher atomization rate which is very efficient and economical to use and a lightweight Wagner Spraytech 0518050 Control Spray that can be used for Photocatalytic coating.

Is it suitable for painting my bike gas tank?

The HLVP is very popular among both amateurs and professionals for its smooth finish and accuracy. So for work like painting a bike gas tank that requires the utmost level of precision, this type of spray paint is highly recommended.

3. Airless Paint Sprayer

This airless sprayer is dependent on an electric motor mechanism to drizzle out colorant from the nozzle attached on the other end. The nozzle can be adjusted to a variety of sizes as per the requirement to spray out the paint in different volumes. It can assist you to complete a paint job in the most efficient and hassle-free manner. This one does come in handy for any project irrespective of its surface area.

Best For:

The airless paint sprayer is the best alternative out there for large home-based or commercial projects.

Where to find one?

If you have already tried your hand with an HLVP and want to try something airless then we recommend you try this YATTICH Paint Sprayer(aff.link). It has a capacity of 800 ml that is more than enough to paint a gas tank.

Is it suitable for painting my bike gas tank?

A bike’s gas tank may also require some artistic detailing like calligraphic words or any object drawings. In that case, you can adjust the nozzle size accordingly to get the perfect spray volume as you intend to.

4. Airless Spray Paint Roller

Just like the airless paint sprayer, the paint roller uses the electric motor attached with it to pump the varnish from the paint reservoir to the roller. Once the paint has been expelled to the roller, the small pores in it will proportionately disburse the content.  This mechanism is just a mechanical version of the manual roller the only difference being that one won’t need to coat the roller with paint again and again before every application.

Best for:

Large flat surfaces can be easily coated with smooth and even finish paint using this electric spray paint roller.

Where to find one?

Try out this Electric Paint Roller from Wagner which makes it very easy to paint owing to its auto-feed control which keeps providing paint continuously on demand. Further, it can also be attached to any container having a capacity ranging from 1 to 5 gallons.

Is it suitable for painting my bike gas tank?

A paint roller is not a good choice to paint a circular shaped gas tank.

5. Diaphragm Paint Sprayer

The diaphragm paint sprayer uses one of the most advanced mechanisms. The motor generates a hydraulic pressure which pulls the diaphragm resulting in a vacuum inside the pump. The vacuum creates pressure inside the chamber which draws up the paint from the paint container and supplies it to the hose connected with the outlet.

The entire process can deliver a balanced flow of the coating material. The paint can be atomized evenly and smoothly due to the absolute absence of vibrations due to the pressure.

Best for:

You can use the diaphragm pump without any hesitations for large surfaces which may or may not require detailing.

Where to find one?

You can check out this Airless Electric Paint Sprayer that can give out a maximum flow of 5 liters per minute.

Is it suitable for painting my bike gas tank?

From the viewpoint of performance the diaphragm paint sprayer is a yes but using it for a project as small as painting a gas tank can make it very costly and inefficient.

6. Aerosol Paint Spray Cans

Spray cans have a mechanism identical to that of deodorant sprays. It has a valve outlet which releases paint with a firm application of pressure. It is paint canned in a metal container. It is very small and handy to use and you don’t need to refill it like other spray painters.

Best For:

Spray cans are the best option for smaller smooth and round surfaces, ideal for a bike gas tank.

Where to find one?

One can pretty much find good quality aerosol paints easily. Some of them are great and a few of them can be of even fantastic quality. A few brands manufacturing aerosol spray paints include Rust-Olem, Montana, Abro, Nippon etc.

Each product can have a special feature, for example, the Rust-Oleum 245220 Universal All Surface Spray Paint can be used universally on all surfaces like metal, wood, plastic, aluminum, and wicker.

If you are looking for a sturdy heat resistant paint then you ought to try Thermal Protection Spray by Paul Mitchell. Further, if you are looking for a variety of fluorescent colorants Keson SP20B Ultra-Mark could be the best choice for you.

Is it suitable for painting my bike gas tank?

Both usage and unmatched accuracy are what makes the aerosol well-liked amongst amateurs and professional restorers. This is one of the best products to opt for small projects like painting a gas tank in our case.

HLVP  V/S. AEROSOL: WHICH ONE IS BETTER?

To compare these two options we need to consider finish quality, blending ability, need to apply coat layer, cost-effectiveness, durability, maintenance demands, control, and much more. If we were to critically evaluate the HLVP from the viewpoint of all the above-mentioned criteria we can conclude that it is relatively costlier, less effective, and much more difficult to clean. In comparison, you just need 2-3 spray cans to completely refurbish the gas tank without any major monetary sacrifices and you don’t even need to maintain or clean the mess up because there ain’t going to be one.

One another major factor to be considered while choosing between the two is your specific needs. If you just want to paint two to three bikes then there’s absolutely no reason to install heavy machinery like an air compressed paint sprayer. But if you are managing a refurbishing or restoring business then it is smarter to install proper apparatus because it can run for a long time. But do not forget, the cleaning process is going to call for too much effort.

HOW TO PAINT A GAS TANK LIKE A PRO

Painting your bike for the first time can seem to be too much to comprehend, but this simplified guide can make your job a lot easier.

A long list of apparatus

Before we begin, here’s a list of things we will need to complete the task at hand:

  • Sandpaper block and sandpaper – types 80, 120, 2000 grit wet and dry
  • Tack Cloth
  • Newspaper/ Plastic Sheets
  • Safety glasses
  • Respirator
  • Tow strap
  • Bondo
  • Bondo Scraper
  • Green self-etching primer
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paint thinner
  • Automotive spray paint
  • Clearcoat (should be 2-part catalyzed clear coat)
  • Automotive wax/scratch remover

Workspace and Mandatory essentials – Caution Note

Before proceeding any further you must have all the technical and safety essentials as listed above for quality and protection of your own and your co-worker or assistant. Further, you need to keep this in mind while at any stage of the process that you are working with paint chemicals which can be hazardous if not handled with care.

So you need to choose a workspace that is properly lit, has a decent amount of ventilation and is a fair distance away from any fire source since paint is highly flammable. Before starting you need to prep your work area by sweeping and washing it completely to steer away dust particles that can potentially ruin the fresh paint.

Process

Following is a step-by-step guide to the entire procedure to be undertaken, which if followed methodically can make it look as if it was done by professional hands. The steps have been simplified and made concise so that in case you fall off the wagon and forget the sequence you can easily refer to it and get back on track.

1.Starting afresh

First, you need to detach the fuel tank from the frame. That way it will be very easy to perform all the upcoming steps. Ensure that you empty the gas before removing the tank. If you see the original paint stripping off at places it is highly recommended that you strip the remainder off completely and bring it to bare metal. Although this step is not mandatory in case the paint is not peeling or not cracked at places. You can skip the stripping part altogether in that case.

2.Using the Bondo

A Bondo spreader(amazon aff.link) can come in handy to fill any dents or small cracks in the metal body. Doing this step will assure giving the tank frame an even surface that will eliminate almost all of the imperfections. Let it dry before moving on to the next step.

3. Sanding

Use sandpaper to smoothen out the surface of the metal. It is very crucial that you use a sanding block and not your hands to carry out this process. Our hands can’t complete this task with the required amount of precision since they are not flat like the sanding block.

4. Layer of primer

Once the body is smoothened out using sandpaper it is now ready for its first coat of primer. Remember it’s okay if you are not able to cover the whole body in just one coat, it is supposed to be light anyway because we are going to need to apply two more. For the best outcome, follow the instructions provided behind on the can.

5.  Sanding again

This time we are going to sand the metal with a slight variation. Just like step number 3 but first, we need to dip the body in a bowl of water and then use the sanding paper as usual. Remember, we need to smoothen the primer and NOT sand through it.

So apply light pressure and sand in a circular motion. In case you are thinking of applying more than one shade or maybe a design, now is the time to cover any parts of the frame you don’t want to spray on, using tape.

6. Dangle it up

Yes, we are almost done and all set for the spraying part but before that, we need to hang the piece up onto the ceiling in such a way that we have access to in a full 360 degree.

7. Before spraying – Important Note

Hop on and get your safety gloves and respirator to avoid any lethal damage that can be caused by the harmful fumes of the paint. Also now the next step is to use an automotive wax/ grease remover on the tank to wipe it down.

8. Spraying- The main part

Just like the primer you need to first apply a light layer of paint on the tank. Do not spray too much to avoid any wastage or spillage. Apply 3 or 4 more layers until you cover it fully. You need not spray into areas that are not going to be directly visible. Let the paint dry for some time.

9. Clear Coat

We are almost done and have finally reached the penultimate step. As you can see in the list we have emphasized that you invest in a 2 part clear coat for workshop-like finishing. Apply 3 to 4 layers of the coat and let it dry for the next 24 hours.

10. Letting it Settle

Just a few hours more and you will be able to put this new creation of yours back on the motorcycle. Remember if you will try to hurry the process it can ruin all the efforts you have done to reach this point so we need just a little patience at this moment.

Luka Barron

Motorcycle mechanic, writer and Heineken lover. A bit like Hank Moody on a Suzuki.

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