Lightweight solution is one of the keywords that we see every day. Developing smart, light and durable materials is one focal area that is inevitable to be done in the ground transportation sector. Another angle to look for is the protection and beautification of the substrate finish where surface treatment technology stands out. Combining both aspects is crucial in the industry for customer satisfaction. Recycled carbon fibers are used to form the reinforcement in the composite side, where they are infused or mixed with the matrix materials either in SMC (Sheet Mold Compound) or BMC (Bulk Mold Compound) format, depending upon the application. Glass fibers are usually used for their practical application, however considering further weight cut on the component, carbon fibers cannot be overlooked for their superior mechanical properties. However, due to the cost of carbon fibers many times the application may be over-designed. Furthermore, considering the life cycle assessment of the vehicle, virgin carbon fibers from PAN (Polyacrylonitrile) as its precursor may not be environmentally friendly. In this paper, we show a case study using recycled carbon fiber in a mat form with an environmentally friendly resin system to allow for recyclability as well as cost-saving. In addition, the surface energy characterization for the specific grade substrate has been investigated with different pre-treatment methods to be adaptable for the current multi-layer painting systems that are under production. The results are in coupon scale to represent the actual component condition. The case study aims for an opening opportunity when using the practical lightweight material as part of the vehicle for weight reduction with the right parameter requirement for the surface for the painting process. The surface requirement for the painting process is expected to be stretched out for different composite materials with the current system, as well as the wet on wet system in the near future on further process cost reduction.