How To Ensure Your Auto Body Painting Perfectly Matches The Vehicle’s Existing Paint

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Finding the perfect color match can sometimes be daunting, even for the most experienced auto body technician. Depending on the job at hand there might not be a lot of room for error when it comes to matching up paint for a small repair. Color matching has become an art form, as there are thousands of variations and shades specific to each color code, not to mention the original materials used. To kick off our new monthly blog series we decided to address this commonly asked question to help you bring your vision to life.

How to find the Color Code

For most projects getting the perfect color match starts with locating the color code that was used on the vehicle’s original finish. Knowing the VIN will help if you call the Dealership, as the VIN will allow the dealership to give you the actual color code used. Typically you can find the paint color code tag inside the glove box or in the spare tire cover of the vehicle. If you strike out in both of those locations it is occasionally placed on the driver’s side door jamb or radiator support. Once you have this code your local automotive paint supplier can help get you the correct materials for the job. You can even call ahead to see if they have that paint you need in stock or if an order needs to be placed. We can’t speak for other suppliers, but at Westside most products that have to be ordered are delivered in 24-48 hours – so don’t feel defeated if you have to place an order!

What To Do If A Color Code Is Not Available?

If finding the color code isn’t an option – happens all the time with custom paint jobs with no notes – all is not lost. If you can bring a piece of the vehicle in (roughly 3” x 3” or larger) into your supply shop they can do the match on-site by scanning the sample with built-in paint formula detection. Gone are the days of eye-balling different shades to choose the perfect finish. For older vehicles, this is the preferred method for the proper match to better address fading, as the original composition might not be what’s best for your current project.

After Care Is Just As Important – Using a Sun Gun

The process of applying your newly matched paint and the aftercare as it dries are just as important as getting the correct formula. We’ll explore proper spray booth techniques in a future post, however, once the paint sets using a sun gun is the best way to ensure that the new & old colors match. Sun Guns let you check up on your project on your own time and not mother nature’s  – as well as ensure you don’t have to keep moving vehicles in and out of the shop to assess in natural light each time you want to review your work. They improve shop efficiency and help to ensure the perfect match, every time. You’ll also be able to see small defects such as swirl marks, burn through, and sand scratches so you can address these defects before you deliver the project to the customer. 

At Westside Auto Paint & Supply, our goal is to help our customers start their projects the right way – with quality supplies at affordable prices. With three locations to serve you, in Fairview Park, Akron, and Elyria, we’re ready to help your business wherever it’s located. Give us a call today to answer any questions you might have with finding the perfect color match or bring by a sample today to see a scan in action!