When choosing a new car paint, there are a number of factors to take into consideration. Some paints are more or less durable, and different paints come in different colors. You may also need to cover up damage, or you may want a paint with lots of glitter in the finish. And since your paint job covers so much of your car, it’s a huge part of your car’s appearance.
Further complicating this decision is that automotive paint is not cheap. Even a touch-up job can cost hundreds of dollars. And a full repaint can easily run into the thousands. Not only that, but painting your car takes a lot of time. During that time, you’ll either be driving a car with only primer on it, or using a rideshare.
All of this to say that you really, really don’t want to have to paint your car more than once. So why not start off on the right foot, by choosing the perfect paint for your ride. Here’s a helpful guide.
Choose the Right Paint Type
One of the most important considerations is what type of paint you’re going to use. Choose a urethane paint if you want the best UV-resistance and longevity. For the most vibrant, glossy look, a lacquer is an excellent choice. Enamel and acrylic are also perfectly viable options if you want a more bespoke look. That said, urethane paint is going to be the best choice for most people, particularly if you’re painting your car yourself.
You may be tempted to spring for a cheaper paint, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Yes, higher-quality paint is going to be a little bit more expensive. But once it’s actually on your car, you’re going to see the difference. Not only that, but better paints are going to last longer. The money you save on a cheaper paint will be nothing compared to the cost and aggravation from constantly touching it up.
If you want to know more about what kind of paint, this recommended reading compares vinyl wrapping and automotive painting.
Remember Your Primer and Clear Coat
When most people think of automotive paint, they think of the regular color coat. But you’ll also need a bit more in order to do a proper paint job. To begin with, you’ll need a primer coat, which provides adhesion to keep your paint from bubbling or peeling. When possible, it’s best to choose a paint and primer from the same manufacturer, since they’ll be formulated to work with each other.
The same principle applies to your clear coat. The clear coat goes over top of your color coat, and provides additional protection from the elements. Without a clear coat, your paint will quickly scratch and fade.
Choose Your Color
Choosing the color is the fun part of choosing your paint. So take your time, and go through several color collections if that’s what it takes to find the perfect color. If there’s a color you like that you’ve seen on the road, call a dealership and find out the color code. Just keep in mind that some colors are proprietary to certain manufacturers. In that case, you may have trouble finding an exact match except through a dealership.
When you’re choosing, think about how your car is going to be used. For a business vehicle, stick with a dark or neutral color. Blacks, greys, and deep blues work best. For a sports car, you can get more wild with a bright red or yellow.
Also, keep in mind that your car’s color can affect its resale value. In most cases it won’t matter. But if your car is an unusual color like bright pink or neon green, you might have more trouble finding a buyer.
In addition to all of these other questions, there may be other things you want to get out of your paint. For example, suppose you live in an area with a lot of road salt. You’ll probably prefer a lighter color, and you’ll want to avoid black, since it shows salt more than any other color.
Along the same lines, bright red will make your car look faster, while blue cars tend to look slower. You may even want to choose something fancy, like pinstripes or racing stripes. In that case, you’ll need to use paints of the same type, from the same manufacturer; otherwise, the finish may not match.
Point being, there’s a lot that goes into choosing the right car paint. Don’t limit yourself just to the factors we’ve listed here. Ultimately, the best paint is the one that gives your car the exact look you desire.