Cars come from the assembly line in hundreds of different colors these days. They are coated in complex paints that catch attention from people that are looking to purchase a new ride, or from those that just notice the art as it zooms past them on the road. Cars are as unique as their owners are, they are an extension of personality and just like favorite clothes, they fit an individual’s style. When a car needs a paint touch up, or when the unimaginable happens and the body needs repaired, owners want their favorite color restored or matched as exactly as possible.
Color matching is the daunting process of duplicating a color to keep a car looking as new and beautiful as it did the day it left the showroom floor. Auto body paint has become more and more complex as the years have passed since the first Model-T’s left the assembly line. Cars these days come in spectacular hues which are as varied as their owners. When a new car is being assembled the pieces like the metal frame and plastic bumpers come together from factories scattered all around the world. Each factory may paint the different pieces before they meet and are assembled together into a single vehicle. This happens because every paint has it’s own code established by the manufacturers. When looking closely at a car on the salesroom floor, slight differences may be noticeable in the hues between the metal components, plastic parts and fiberglass pieces. That may be because the paint was applied in two or more different factories before the pieces met at the assembly plant. While each factory has the correct paint code for the vehicles, differences when they mix the paint can occur. Also, the way the paint takes to one material over another can lead to subtle variations. Paint codes ensure that colors should closely match from one factory to the next, but that means paint rarely matches perfectly from one piece to another on an individual vehicle when it heads out to the consumer.
When the time comes for paint to be touched up, or when a banged up bumper needs replaced, taking the vehicle to a credible and modern auto body shop is of the utmost importance. Not every shop can recreate the paint from the factory that was applied to a vehicle, and time is also an enemy of color on cars as sun, wind and weather slowly erode the pigment. This makes mixing paint for those touch ups even more difficult, but fortunately, some modern tools and technology have made it easier for auto body shops to help keep vehicles looking pristine. One of the best tools available for color matching is a camera with built in paint formula detection so that the paint can be matched back to its paint code more easily. Technicians at great auto body shops will also be able to show a vehicle owner where the differences in color already exist on the car before they begin working to restore damaged paint.
Color matching goes beyond just mixing paint and spraying it onto a vehicle, the process of applying paint and the aftercare as it dries are equally as important. The booths where paint is applied need to be clean, free of dust and other particulates, and free of moisture to aid in application and drying. Entrusting a vehicle to an auto body shop without knowing how they apply paint would be folly, just as trusting a back-alley doctor to perform surgery could likewise end in disappointment. Vehicles need a clean operating room, with modern exhaust systems, heaters and computer controlled mixing systems, so they can roll onto the road looking their best after the treatment. The cost of automotive paint can be higher than expected, with some paints costing over $1,000 just for the material, and that’s before a technician begins to start working on the vehicle. Trusting just anyone with a vehicle when that high of a cost is involved could be risky. Before allowing just anyone to try to color match a vehicle, knowing how much experience and capability the technicians have is critical too. Always look for shops that have a well trained staff with years of experience behind them.
When looking to repair paint on a vehicle, feel free to ask technicians about everything mentioned here. Be sure the shop has the most updated equipment to color match any paint. Before leaving a vehicle in someone else’s hands, be sure they have qualified experience. Make certain the paint booths are properly equipped to keep the paint clean and free of debris during the application process. Find out how the shop ensures paint dries properly. Being informed and ready for the expense of the process will help keep any precious vehicle looking like a stylish work of art for as long as it’s on the road.
Alexander Body & Fender is a professional auto body shop serving the Akron, OH. Check out some of the services we offer. Read more articles like this one on our blog. If you’re in the Akron area and you need an auto body shop, contact us! With 90 years of experience, we are The Gold Standard. Get it done right…not fast.Tags: autobody, car paint, color matching, vehicle painting