The Process to Match Auto Paint

Auto Body on December 5, 2017

Small scratches and dents on your vehicle detract from the overall finish and can cause rust in the longterm – along with dramatically reducing the resale value.

Many panel repairs will require a new coat of paint, and it definitely can be a challenge to get the colors just right.

It’s not cost effective to repaint the entire vehicle just to ensure an even color overall, but the new coat still needs to match up with the rest of the vehicle.  A badly matched paint color can make or break a panel repair job, and may even make the vehicle look worse than if the damage was left untouched.

How auto body shops match paint

Paint-matching is a process that relies on skill, high-tech equipment, and perhaps more importantly, years of experience. Short of custom paint jobs, it is possible for technicians to achieve a perfect match for almost any paint color on vehicles that need a new coat, or a touch up over a small area.

The first step towards achieving a perfectly-matched paint job is to remove the guesswork. While the factory paint codes can be helpful as a starting point, a car that has been subjected to years in the elements is going to be a few shades lighter than when it first was sold.

The problem becomes even worse when dealing with classics and older models, as manufacturers retire their shades of paint, so they are no longer available.

Technology comes to the rescue in the form of a spectrophotometer, which is a device that analyzes the hue of paint on the vehicle relative to the amount of ambient light. In the hands of a skilled technician a spectrophotometer combines the calculated data with the vehicle’s VIN to come up with a perfectly matching shade that, when applied, can make the vehicle look like it just rolled off the factory floor.

Is the paint a correct match?

When it comes time to pick up your vehicle after a repair, timing is everything as you want to arrive during a time when there is going to be plenty of bright sunlight for you to closely examine the vehicle. Hopefully, the weather will also work in your favor, and not be overcast.

Carefully examine the panels that have been repaired to see if you can spot any difference between the new and old paint jobs. For jobs which required several panels to be repaired, cast your view along the car to see if you can spot any discrepancies between panels.

You should also check to see if there are any runs, or if any foreign objects have been trapped within the paint, such as hair, or paint chips. If you spot any errors at all, a good body shop will acknowledge its mistake and fix the problem free of any extra charge!