Why the Factory Original Color of the Bumper and Trim May Not Match the Vehicle Body

Bumper color match

At first glance you might think a different color formula was used to paint your bumper and trim. The color is just slightly off and not an exact match.

With a brand new vehicle, OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) bumpers often do not exactly match the rest of the vehicle due to variants with paint finishes.

What Causes a Bumper to be Slightly Off in Shade?

Here’s some points as to why “color” can shift from formula codes:

  • A color can vary depending upon the substrates, material surfaces, upon which it is painted. Different materials absorb paint differently. The evaporation rate for the solvent used in a paint varies dependent upon its application on metal or plastic. A good example is a metallic flake pigment. The evaporation rate takes longer allowing the flake to float, which can darken the color in appearance.
  • The body and the bumper of a vehicle may be produced by different manufacturers and production lines. Many auto makers use multiple manufacturers to produce a vehicle and its components that involve different application methods.
  • Slight adjustments during application of metallic finishes can make the mica flakes lay down differently.
  • Light, which produces color appearance reflects differently on curved and flat surfaces making color appear to shift.

These conditions present “variants” to a color code.

In collision repair, repainting a bumper is a complex process to get a perfect match when such variants exist.

A paint technician has to spend time to match colors under different conditions, often requiring spraying out test panels before painting a bumper. The prep before painting is also critical in sanding the surface, and testing the solubility and adhesion of the primer for good acceptance of paint. In addition, adjacent quarter panels may require spraying to blend paint applications to achieve a consistent match.

Understanding color variants and why specific methods of application are performed, helps define the best process to achieve prime results with your bumper.

> How EURO Collision achieves color matches

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