How Color Experts Match Auto Factory Finishes

Color matching vehicle paint finish

Even with a prime formulation direct from an auto manufacturer, there are subtle color variations in factory-applied color to vehicles, making color identification for refinishing critical to a good result.

Variant Color

Paint technology involves understanding of differentiated brand colors, pigments used and information on production variants. For example, a brand manufacturer may create a distinctive rich blue color with a fine bright aluminum to produce a seamless liquid appearance. The pigment can change appearance dependent upon the materials incorporated into it, as well as the surface it is applied to.

Accurate refinishing of an automobile, in addition, needs to account for alteration to a paint finish from elements and conditions, such as sun fading and oxidation, which change the finish color.

Paint Technology in the Quest of Accuracy

Refinishing pros use a number of tools and methods to assess color identification. Keeping current with manufacturer formulation libraries, a color expert can perform searches on the latest primes, variants and special field variants (test of colors after production) used by auto makers. The data offers a base for color identification.

High quality color decks, which use waterborne basecoat chips sprayed with actual paint and applied with the same refinishing techniques that a collision shop uses, offer a good alignment between the chip and color formula. The chips are an effective simulation of paint refinishing versus original production finish, and accommodate for method of application.

A third approach is the use of a multi-angle spectrophotometer which provides the best initial color formula to identify the most likely “blendable” match to the color as it appears on the vehicle. This process returns a match rating of formulas to identify the most accurate color possible based on the actual physical color as is.

The Final Touch

Combined with computerized mixing stations and thorough, high performance application and blending, a color expert can adeptly match an auto factory finish with great accuracy, equipped with the right technology and skill.

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