Updated: May 17
Having a successful collision repair keeps your vehicle looking great and in addition has a financial benefit if you decide to sell or trade it in. When you are in an accident, the goal should be to have it repaired to as close to pre-accident condition as possible. One challenging part of the process lies in paint matching, which depends on many factors.
If you have ever seen body work that isn’t up to high standards, the final product can look worse than the accident if not done correctly. And if the body work is not done properly, there can often be a noticeable paint difference between panels. This is just one issue where the art of paint matching comes into play.
When your vehicle was originally painted at the factory, the entire car is completed at the same time from the same batch of paint. Doing it this way allows it to turn out the same color and shade. When a vehicle is being repaired however, the entire vehicle is not painted. In addition, color variations compared to the original paint are unavoidable due to normal aging. When a car is in the elements for a few years, it is normal for the color to fade. Only an experienced painter can accurately match new paint to variable stages of the vehicle’s original finish.
Automotive paints have individual codes that are specific to the color, however there are thousands of variations and shades which can make it difficult. There are over 2,000 pigments that make up factory colors! Even if a new batch of paint is mixed to factory specifications, there may still be a noticeable difference.
There are several techniques used by auto body refinish technicians to match colors, starting with the color code listed by the manufacturer. The number of colors available is mind-boggling. Even basic colors like black and red have dozens, if not hundreds of different shades. The tech may do test spray-outs to try and tweak the formula to get a better match. Special cameras may be used to determine a more precise color match as well. Also, the type of paint that the shop uses plays a big part in the color performance of the job.
An accident is always an unpleasant experience that you want to put behind you. Painting is an especially important step in having your car repaired properly, and the best way to make sure you have a great outcome is to use an experienced body and collision repair shop that warranties and stands by their work.