Automotive Paint Colors: What Affects Color Match?

Automotive Paint Colors: What Affects Color Match?

Whether you were involved in a car accident or your vehicle simply boasts a considerable amount of wear, you may be interested in a new paint job or even just a touchup. While you might think that painting a vehicle is easy, it’s actually quite difficult, as matching the new color to the original one is a difficult task. It’s so difficult, in fact, that even the manufacturer may produce two of the same vehicles in the “same color” that appear very different in tint. This is due to several factors, which you can learn about below. 

The Components of Vehicle Paint

Before you can understand what affects color match, you should first know what vehicle paint is made of. Automotive paint is comprised of three main ingredients:

  • Pigment: Pigment comes in a powder form that looks similar to concrete. There are approximately 100 different automotive pigments or toners one can use, including those in metallic and pearl shades.
  • Resin: Resin plays several key roles. Resin determines a paint’s durability, provides adhesion to the vehicle’s surface and holds together the pigment in suspension.
  • Solvent: Solvent is what makes it possible to transfer the otherwise thick paint from container to container, and from container to vehicle.

It’s important to understand what goes into the actual paint for one main reason: Automotive paint manufacturers are allowed a tolerance leeway of plus or minus 5% in paint color. This leeway often results in two vehicles — which are supposedly the “same color” — to look drastically different in hue.

Other Factors That Affect Paint Color

Though the greatest variable affecting automotive color match is the 5% leeway, other factors contribute to same-yet-different paint colors. For instance, the temperature when painting, time between coats, thickness of paint film, speed of application, mode of application, surface type and humidity can all contribute to differences in automotive paint hues.

If you want to restore your vehicle’s paint job with an exact match, work with a professional auto body shop in Albuquerque that has the experience, technology and techniques necessary to create an exact match. Contact Quanz Auto Body today.