Automotive paint jobs make a big difference when fixing up an old car or just correcting a collision accident to your car. Have you ever noticed a car that has been repainted and it just looks bad all over? Peeling, fading, chipping or corrosion are all types of problems that can happen when auto paint job goes wrong. Preparation makes a huge difference for the paint to stick, but the paint is the armor for the car since it will have to look great while taking all of the abuse from the elements the car is exposed to. Having some knowledge about automotive paints can certainly help you understand prior to having some auto body work or an auto paint job.

There are 5 basic automotive paints used by auto body shops here in the 2010’s. Acrylic lacquer, acrylic enamel, synthetic enamel acrylic urethane and water-based are all commonly used automotive paints. All of these paint choices can look good when fresh, but some of these paints just can’t hold up and be a quality durable paint that holds up on your everyday driving.

  • Lacquer based paints are old school types of automotive paint. Back in the day, this paint was widely used since it had a great glossy luster and shine. Some states have actually outlawed this type of paint being used in the automotive industry, but it is still used today by some auto body paint shops. This paint does not hold up well in the sun and chips very easily. It is a soft paint that only looks good for a few years therefore it is not a durable long lasting automotive paint.
  • Paints that are made from acrylic enamel are a bit stronger than lacquer. Auto body shops will use this paint commonly in low cost paint jobs. This type of paint is usually baked onto the car creating a hard shell like finish. A second coat of clear may be applied, but is not always used. This paint chips easily and can fade rapidly. Using this type of paint, your vehicle will not look quite as nice as it did when it was new.
  • One of the most low cost automotive paints is synthetic enamel. There is nothing good to say about this type of paint, except that it can be used on an automotive application. This paint is very low quality and does not hold up to very much. Not advisable to use this paint if you want the paint job to look good in the end. Enamel paints in general are used by the automotive industry for an economy paint job since they are very inexpensive paints to buy.
  • Urethane paints are far better than enamels and lacquers. These paints can be tricky to use but good techniques and experience will get the job done right. These paints are used on new cars and in the auto body industry for quality. The costs of these paints are much higher, but they last for a long period of time. These paints are applied with a clear coat on top and sometimes are used in 3 stage finishes too. There are lots of advantages to the car owner for using urethane paints.
  • The newest paints for automotive is the water based paints. These were designed primarily to help reduce chemicals in the environment and in the atmosphere. This paint is still on the learning curve, but definitely an environmentally friendly paint since it is a non-toxic paint. Water-based or water-bourne paints will become the paints of the future. These paints are a bit tricky to apply and require special sprayers and equipment to paint a car. Color matching is much harder using water paints on auto collision repairs when paint is blended to existing paint on the car.

Even though there are 5 basic paints used on automotive applications, the paint manufacturers are also a consideration that needs to be thought through. Just like going to the store and buying soda, the brand makes the difference on taste and how long it lasts in the refrigerator. Paint manufacturers are not all the same so the quality can change as well. Prior to getting a car painted, research the type of paint and the paint manufacturer prior to a commitment for the auto body paint work. Ensure also that the auto body shop that you choose is the right choice for you.

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