To work in this field you must have good practical skills and the ability to use a range of tools and equipment and have patience as many tasks take a considerable amount of time to complete. You will also need to be aware of safety issues, have good colour vision and the ability to work methodically while paying close attention to detail. You will need good communication skills to deal with your work colleagues and the general public.
Most repair work is carried out indoors in workshops and in spray booths which are fitted with extraction fans. The work can be physically demanding, spray booths and ovens can reach temperatures in excess of 80ºc, whilst outside may cold (especially during the winter months), and is often carried out in cramped, dirty conditions such as working under vehicles. Refinishers are required to wear correct safety clothing such as breathing equipment, protective masks, glasses and gloves.
If you enjoy working as part of a team and enjoy working on the vehicle itself, then you will enjoy refinishing. In this area of the motor industry, you will be refinishing repairs to vehicles that have been caused by general wear and tear or by an accident. You will be returning vehicles to roadworthy condition. Your main tasks will include preparing panels for priming and topcoat, applying primers and topcoats, carrying out small panel repairs, rectifying minor paint defects and general housekeeping duties.
Primarily, refinishing is about rectifying minor damaged, mono-constructed steel bodies, which represent the vast bulk of modern light vehicles. Heavy vehicle cabs and vans which employ similar construction principles lend themselves to the same range of skills. Typical activities are identified as follows:
- Using tools and equipment used in vehicle refinishing
- Applying fillers and foundation materials
- Working with plastic materials and components
- Preparing metal and pre-painted surfaces
- Repairing minor paint defects