Every car develops dents, dings, and scratches at some point. If your vehicle has cosmetic damage, it’s important to repaint the exposed metal as soon as possible to prevent rust from forming. Auto body painting is also the final step of restoring your car to the like-new condition following a collision. Learn how auto technicians use computerized paint matching to find your car’s perfect shade.
Begin with the Car Paint Code
Every car comes with a paint code, a series of digits representing the vehicle’s stock paint color. This is tied to the vehicle identification number (VIN), which can usually be found on the information sticker inside the driver’s side door jamb. The paint code—along with the car’s make, model, and year—gives auto body repair technicians the information they need to begin the paint matching process.
Things are a little trickier with classic cars and custom paint jobs. Vehicles manufactured several decades ago often don’t have a paint code, and cars with custom colors may not match the code tied to the VIN. However, even without having the paint code as a shortcut, it’s still possible to match the exact shade using computerized paint matching.
Identify the Color Variant
Knowing the paint code isn’t always enough to find a perfect color match. Years of exposure to sunlight, rain, road chemicals, and other elements can fade a car’s paint color. Slight differences in manufacturer dye lots can also produce minor color variations, or shades, even in brand-new cars.
That’s why it’s necessary to use computerized paint matching to identify the vehicle’s exact color. The system measures the precise amount of light and hues in the car’s finish, allowing it to generate a perfect replica.
Blend the Exact Color Match
Once the computer has identified the right paint color, technicians produce a small batch of high-quality auto paint. Then, just to be sure, the techs spray the paint onto a sample card and compare it to the vehicle’s color. If they determine that it’s a flawless match, it’s time to get painting.
Prepare the Area & Paint the Car
Whether repairing a small chip or repainting an entire panel, preparing the work area is just as important as matching the color. Auto body technicians repair dings and dents, remove any existing rust, and thoroughly sand and clean the surface prior to painting.
Once the car is fully prepped, the technicians can get to work. If an entire panel is being repainted, the crew covers the rest of the car to prevent possible overspray. When repairing a small area, the techs expertly blend the new paint into the old paint around it for seamless results. The new color should be indistinguishable from the old, even under intense scrutiny.
Allow Adequate Curing Time
Soon, your car will be dry enough for you to pick up, take home, and start driving again. But first, it’s crucial to ensure the paint cures without anything marring the finish. That’s why newly repainted vehicles must remain in the shop for a few days, covered with an automotive wrap to protect them from dust and other environmental contaminants.
Even after you pick up your car, be aware that auto body paint needs a full 30 days to cure, so avoid getting a car wash until that time has elapsed. Still, spot cleaning at home with cold water and a microfiber cloth is acceptable. Just be sure to scrub gently to avoid scratching or dulling the finish.
It’s also important to protect your car from the elements as much as possible while the new paint cures. If you have access to a garage, carport, or other covered parking, store your car there for at least 60 days to be safe. Only drive in fair weather during this time as well. Finally, give the paint a full 60 days to off-gas completely before waxing your car.
Schedule Auto Body Painting in Chicago
B&L Automotive Repairs invests in the latest collision repair technology, including computerized paint matching. We have designed our high-quality services to ensure complete customer satisfaction. Whether you need fresh paint following dent repair or full collision service, we’ll make sure your car comes out looking as good as new. Stop by our Chicago auto body shop, call us at (773) 463-1622, or contact us online to schedule expert auto body painting today.