In the aftermath of a crash, consumers often turn to a body shop for repairs, in order to restore their vehicles to their former glory. While the engine, suspension, or frame damage after an accident can easily go unseen, damage to the body is often the very first thing that a vehicle owner – or an insurance adjuster – will notice. The goal is to eradicate any traces of destruction and to make it look like the car was never in an accident in the first place. This decision often stems from financial implications, since the value of a vehicle that has been in an accident drops considerably if you decide to sell it. This diminished value is also the point of contention between insurers and car owners since visible signs of damage limit resale options for a vehicle.
Not to mention, most car owners like to keep their vehicles in top-notch conditions, especially if the car is valuable, rare or has sentimental value. As a result, car owners turn to auto shops that can return a car to its pre-accident condition. And when we talk about the post-accident repair process, one of the most challenging stages of auto body and collision work is paint matching, which comes down to ensuring a seamless car paint match job without having to paint the entire vehicle. Even if you simply want to give a fresh update to the color of your car or wish to get rid of delamination, scratches, or rust on the side panels, paint matching is one of the most critical aspects of returning your vehicle to pre-accident/damaged condition.
If the bodywork is not up to par, the end result will look much worse than the original accident. Especially if the entire panels are replaced, the mismatched paint makes the new panels stand out awkwardly against the rest of the vehicle. It is the job of the repair shop to make sure your car looks as good as new, which is where a car paint match comes into play.
When your car was originally painted at the factory, the entire body receives the same batch of paint, so that the entire vehicle is uniformly colored. However, it is the job of an auto body shop to accurately match new paint to an original finish.
However, the challenge is that while all automotive paints have codes specific to the color, there are numerous tones and shades. Even basic colors like red and black have dozens of shades to choose from. Not to mention, normal aging causes the fading of the color, which is why color variations from the original are also to be expected. Our customers simply have to call up their respective dealers to retrieve the factory paint codes, manufacturing dates, and other information to determine how a vehicle was originally finished, and we will do the rest of the work!
However, even when a new batch of paint is mixed to factory specifications, it is still not uncommon to notice perceptible differences. In addition, automotive paint varies in color depending on the light source used and the angle it is being viewed from. The paint will look different inside a body shop versus outside in natural daylight. Similarly, silver and other similar metallic paints are light in color, and their high concentration of metallic flakes gives them that “bright” appearance in full sun that cannot be achieved inside a body shop. A lot of other factors also make a difference, such as the type of paint gun used, the angle the painter uses, or the mixing volume at the spray nozzle.
Once all these factors are accounted for, a computerized spectral analyzer gets down to scanning both your vehicle’s current finish and the factory paint samples and to match the color exactly and correctly for fading over time. Only after ensuring an immaculate car paint match does an advanced mixing system come up with the correct shade of paint based on this scan.
While creating a custom color is the most immaculate choice for repairing a vehicle’s finish, the entire process is ripe with chances of errors. Even a slight variation between the existing finish and the new paint will stand out in broad daylight and wreak havoc on the aesthetic sense and value of your car. To ensure a perfect repair, auto body shops should, therefore, employ modern spectrophotometric technologies in finding and creating the right color. At iColors, we utilize Color Matchick by Akzo Nobel, an advanced color camera that takes pictures from 3 different angels and optimizes the formulation of colors. Color Variation Cards is another method we use to give us choices of colors from different production periods. Not only that, the most difficult color matches and cars without paint formula can also be mixed by our experienced staff. No wonder how many body shops they visit, our customers always come back to us for all their color match needs.
The trick to ensuring a perfect car paint match is to spray the formulation on a card before spraying directly on the vehicle, let it dry, and hold the card out into the sunlight to test for a match. Last but not the least, experienced body shop specialists know how to blend the new color into the other areas of the car so that the new color gradually spreads into the existing paint color for a flawless finish.
Once your car is ready, the paint will be sprayed on in even layers and finished off with a clear coat to make your car look fresh and shiny. The car is then passed under enormous dryers where the coats can be dried and cured to set until they harden. When bodywork is done to perfection, you won’t be able to tell where your old paint ends and the new paint beings. If you want to go for DIY, we also rent spray booths for your convenience to make your project easier so that you can paint your vehicles at the same site.