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Why Is Auto Paint Color Matching Such a Difficult Task?

Why Is Auto Paint Color Matching Such a Difficult Task?

Author: Linda/Wednesday, September 2, 2015/Categories: Info

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Accurate color matching is one of the most difficult tasks when repairing a car finish – whether it is repairing a car door ding, refinishing a paint scratch, or refinishing a car that has been in a collision. So what makes the seemingly simple task of matching the color of auto body paint so difficult?

Auto body paint comprises three elements:

• Pigment – comes in powder form, and is available in about 100 toners in order to mix formulas - including pearl and metallic paint colors 

• Resin – the component that provides adhesion to the surface applied, holds together the pigment in suspension, and determines the quality and durability of the paint. 

• Solvent – it reduces the paint’s viscosity for easy transferability from one container to the other 

When the three elements are mixed together to create a formula for a standard vehicle color, there is usually a permitted tolerance of plus or minus 5 percent when the auto body paint is delivered. However, this 5 percent can make such a huge difference that two of the same vehicles would appear to have completely different colors when placed adjacent to each other. 

This factor alone would pose serious challenges when working on auto refinishing repairs, but there are other factors that contribute to shade differences in body paint color, like:

• Temperature and humidity when painting 

• Time between coats 

• Film thickness of the auto body paint 

• Type of surface – metal body or plastic bumper 

• Type and speed of the auto body paint spray gun 

All these factors can cause the body paint color to shift either lighter or darker. You may have noticed that some brand new cars vary in color from bumper to body. This is because pigments settle differently on metals than on plastics, resulting in pigment floatation that shifts the colors slightly lighter or darker. 

Sunlight also affects color matching, since UV radiation absorbs some auto body paint pigments, causing the color to fade. So, blue changes to a green shade while red begins to turn pinkish or even orange. So, when you apply what seems to be the right auto body color code paint, you find that new coat is brighter than the original. 

Auto body shops have a bigger challenge today than just color match. The texture also needs to match the original finish for it to appear in its pre-accident condition, which can be successfully achieved by using the right spray gun, polishing equipment, and having experience. 

If your car needs any type of body work, visit City Collision body shop for professional assistance. 

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