Does Base Coat Need Activator: Answered! [3 Easy Steps Process]

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Who doesn’t want a professional finish in car paint? To do that perfectly, the base coat has to be flawless. In order to make the base coat flawless and perfect, an activator and reducer are essential.

That’s why you’re wondering if does base coat need activator

Yes, the base coat needs an activator. It helps to increase the adhesion power of the base coat so that the clear coat can stick to it properly. The base coat activator comes with Isocyanates which are actually responsible to enhance adhesion and durability. To achieve the perfect result you should adjust the ratio of the base coat and activator. Also, for better results use the same branded base coat and activator. 

 Your confusion will be totally clear if you go through the whole article. You will greatly benefit from the article since it incorporates the mixing procedures and ratio properly.     

Does Base Coat Need an Activator?

The base coat needs an activator that helps to make the base coat to hold the clear coat perfectly. The clear coat is actually crosslinked by it. The activator is designed to enhance the adhesion and durability of the paint, ensuring that it adheres properly to the surface and resists chipping, peeling, or fading. As an example, it can easily prevent your Mazda paint chip problem. 

Normally a base coat activator possesses a mixture of resins and solvents that react with the paint and provide improved adhesion and durability. Then, it contains a solvent to thin the paint and make it easier to apply. The solvent also helps to evaporate the water or other liquids in the paint and leaves a smooth surface. Moreover, activators contain additives to modify the properties of the paint.  

On the other hand, the base coat is usually the first layer of paint applied after the primer. It serves as the basis for the final color coat by providing a consistent color. Generally, the base coat provides a highly pigmented layer that is designed to provide a rich, deep color but not glossy. 

In order to achieve the best results, you must use an activator from the same brand as your base coat. Because it provides the best result since the different formulations can destroy the whole procedure. 

Does Nason Base Coat Need an Activator?

As I have mentioned earlier, like any other base case coat, Nason Base Coat needs an activator for better bonding with the clear coat. The brand Nason produces a range of base coats. 

So, you should mix the Nason activator with the Nason base coat prior to application for better results. It also helps in getting a good metallic color. 

Nason Ful Base No Activator:

You might be wondering about skipping the part about adding an activator into the base coat. Well, technically you can. But this is not recommended by the company, as well as the car paint experts. 

Not activating the coat increases the possibility of the paint chipping, especially at the door jamb portion. So, you should not skip this process.

How to mix Base Coat with the activator

Mixing the base coat with the activator can differ depending on the brand and type of paint used, as well as the manufacturer’s instructions. However, you should follow the steps below to get a better mixture. 


Keep the work area clean and free of debris, and make sure you have all the necessary equipment and safety gear. To protect yourself from the chemicals in the paint, wear gloves, a respirator, and safety glasses.


  • You must measure the base coat, activator, and reducer with the proper amount. Reducer is a thin agent that is typically added to automotive paint to thin it out and make it easier to apply. 
  •  In order to ensure an even and smooth finish, a reducer improves the flow and leveling of the paint.  For Nason’s full base coat follow the ‘mixing ratio’ portion.
  • Now, combine the correct amount of base coat paint with the activator in a clean mixing container. In order to thoroughly mix the paint and activator, use a stir stick or mechanical mixer. To ensure an even color and a proper chemical reaction, mix the paint and activator thoroughly.
  • Finally, apply the mixture to the car properly. 

Mixing or applying base coat paint with an activator should always be done according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Otherwise, mixing or applying incorrectly can result in poor adhesion, inconsistent color, or poor durability.  

Mixing Ratio:

Having a perfect mixture is the ultimate requirement to apply a proper base coat on your car. To make a perfect mixture, do follow the ratio given below.  The general mixture ratio should be 8:1:1

Component Volume 
Base coat 8
Activator 1
Reducer 1

For a full base coat, the perfect ratio is given below. 

Component Volume 
Base coat 8
Activator ½ 
Reducer 4

Remember one thing: the ratio may be changed according to the brand. So, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to know the exact ratio of the brand you’re using.  

How to Apply Base Coat 

During a car painting project, the base coat is the first coat of paint that your vehicle receives. Your vehicle can easily be coated with a base coat. It is often overlooked to have proper procedures for applying a base coat.


Step 1: Removing the Wax 

The first thing you need to do is clean the car. You can use water and soap to clean the car thoroughly.

Removing the Wax

Soap-water mixture also helps remove rubbing compounds that won’t come off. Then apply the wax remover on the car to remove the stubborn grease from the car paint. 

After thoroughly cleaning the frame from grease and wax, use paper towels to wipe off the wax remover.

Step 2: Trimming And Covering

At this point you need to take out all the trims from the car. In order to prevent paint from adhering to plastic or chrome trim, it is necessary to remove both. It is now time to mask the car’s frame.

Trimming And Covering

It’s an important step that many people ignore because of the hassle, but it makes the job look more professional. So, you should know how to mask the car for paint

Step 3: Applying the Base Coat 

Now put all the mixture in the spray gun. Because the spray gun provides a base coat lightly with an even coat.  Make sure you press the trigger of your spray gun at least two inches away from the area.

Applying the Base Coat 

Slide the spray across the surface from side to side. You should spray about two inches off the other side of the area before releasing the trigger. 

Pro tips: If you want to perform the job like a pro without any hassle, you can follow the tips.

  • You should apply 2-3 coats of base coat to get the best coverage. Also, make sure to wait for 5-10 minutes between applying the coats to reduce the chemical reaction. 
  • In order for the base coat to adhere properly, it needs to be wet at all times. Avoid applying the base dry.  
  • Also, it is recommended that your base coats be applied in medium coats using a reducer according to your environment’s temperature and humidity.


Precautions are important when applying base coat paint because they can contain potentially harmful chemicals and can be dangerous substances if handled improperly. Here is the precaution you need to take while applying the base coat.

  • If you’re an asthma sufferer and have chemical allergies to isocyanates, you must avoid working with them. 
  • Always do that in a properly ventilated area. Base coat paint can emit harmful fumes, so it is important to work in a well-ventilated area to prevent the buildup of fumes. If possible, work outside or in a garage with the doors and windows open.
  • Also, don’t forget to wear safety gloves while performing the job since it contains potentially harmful chemicals.
  • It is very important to prepare the surface of the car before applying the base coat paint.
  • Allow some time to dry the base coat before applying the clear coat. You can do wet sanding with soap before adding a clear coat.
  • Finally, remove all the chemicals and fumes from the equipment thoroughly to prevent any problems.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is the activator the same as the hardener?

No, they are not the same, though they serve similar purposes in automotive paint systems. Activators are additives that speed up the drying process and improve the performance of base coat paint. On the other hand, a hardener is a component of clear coat paint that helps it dry and harden quickly.

Does the base coat need UV light?

No, a base coat doesn’t need UV light. Most base coat paints are air-dried, which means the solvents evaporate over time, causing the paint to dry and cure. In fact, it is important to protect the paint from UV radiation once it has been applied to the car. This is because UV radiation can cause the paint to fade, discolor, or deteriorate over time. 

What are the differences between a base coat and a clear coat?

Base coats and clear coats are two different types of automotive paint that serve different purposes in the painting process. Basically, base coat paint is used for providing the desired color and finish for a car. Alternatively, a clear coat provides a glossy, smooth finish over the base coat and protects the paint underneath. The base coat is a thinner one while the clear coat is a thicker one. 


Hopefully, you’ve found your answer regarding the question of does base coat need activator. In painting a car, making the perfect mixture of base coats is important to achieve a smooth finish. Here the activator comes in your purpose. Applying the activator in the right amount is the ultimate task here.

So, do the work properly to make the painting job properly. Otherwise, things may go wrong. My best wishes to you on your new endeavor.

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I am a professional automotive and car mechanic. I have been in the industry for 15+ years. At the moment I have 3 garages. Every day dozens of cars come to our repair shops that are damaged in a very short period of time. The main reason for this is not taking a proper care of the car.

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