Back to Basics: The 4 Main Layers of Automotive Paint

Back to Basics: The 4 Main Layers of Automotive Paint

In order to make sure your automotive paint job is done right, it’s important to understand the automotive painting process, including the four main layers of automotive paint, the order in which these layers are applied, and why each layer is necessary. No matter if you’re just getting started with refinishing or have been doing it your whole life, it’s always a good idea to take a step back and get back to the basics.

Below we dive into the four different layers that are used in the automotive painting process: E-coat, Primer, Basecoat, & Clearcoat.


The E-coat, also known as electrophoretic paint, is the first layer of a car’s paint. The process of e-coating a vehicle, which is also often referred to as paint deposition, involves using an electrical current to attract the paint to the vehicle’s surface. First, the coating materials are put into water, where they in a sense sit and bathe. Then, the car’s body is immersed in a special solution. After both of these are all done, an electric current is used to attract the paint to the car’s metal with an electrode. The process allows the paint particles to build up and form a film on the vehicle evenly. 


Primer is the next layer, and it’s used to get the vehicle’s surface ready for the actual paint. The primer layer is incredibly important because the base and clear coats won’t consistently bond/stick without it. Not using primer before painting a vehicle will lead to flaking and chipping. 


The basecoat goes on top of the primer, and it is the color the car will end up being. Basecoats cannot be left by themselves because they do not have any hardeners or strengtheners in them. They are essentially a raw paint, so they cannot be the last layer on a vehicle otherwise the car will end up with blemishes. Also, leaving a car with just a basecoat can allow moisture to build up, which leads to rust. 


The clear coat goes on top of the base coat, and like its name, it’s clear. The clearcoat not only gives a car a nice glossy finish, but the clear coat also keeps the basecoat intact as well as protects the vehicle from rain, snow, and UV rays. It also helps keep rust at bay. 

Westside Auto Paint and Supply Has The Automotive Paint Products You Need!

Westside Auto Paint and Supply, Inc. is a family-owned company that has been providing automotive painting businesses in the greater Cleveland area with the paint products they need for almost three decades. In fact, we carry all of the supplies you’ll need, not just paint! 

Fill out our contact form to learn more about our services. Or, give us a call at one of our locations: 

  • Fairview Park: (440) 335-5240
  • Akron: (330) 227-2572
  • Elyria: (440) 307-1993

Call or stop by one of our three locations to get started today!