When it comes to matching auto paint, several dynamics can factor into the process and affect the end result. Photo: Spectrum Auto Body (2014)

When it comes to matching auto paint, several dynamics can factor into the process and affect the end result. Photo: Spectrum Auto Body (2014)

Sometimes when an auto body shop fixes a damaged car, the color of the newly painted bumper may not appear to perfectly match the color of the body. Considering the complex nature of paint matching, there are a few possible explanations that may account for this:

  • The character of paint often differs between metal and plastic surfaces due to dissimilar rates of evaporation during the drying process. For this reason, even if the paint had appeared to match perfectly when it was originally applied, it may look different after it dries.
  • The problem often originates with the manufacturer. In many cases, a car’s body will be painted on a production line at the factory, while parts such as the bumper and trim are painted at another location using a different application method, which can complicate the color matching process.
  • It may simply be an optical illusion. Light reflects differently on curved and flat surfaces, which can cause a color’s appearance to vary depending on the angle.

In any case, remember that color matching on cars is a complex process that involves several extenuating factors. Sometimes a perfect match isn’t possible, despite the technician’s best efforts.

To find a Diamond Certified ­­­­auto body shop in your area, click on one of the links below.

Alameda County: www.diamondcertified.org/alameda-auto-body
Contra Costa County: www.diamondcertified.org/contra-costa-auto-body
Marin County: www.diamondcertified.org/marin-auto-body
Napa County: www.diamondcertified.org/napa-auto-body
San Francisco: www.diamondcertified.org/san-francisco-auto-body
San Mateo County: www.diamondcertified.org/san-mateo-auto-body
Santa Clara County: www.diamondcertified.org/santa-clara-auto-body
Santa Cruz County: www.diamondcertified.org/santa-cruz-auto-body
Solano County: www.diamondcertified.org/solano-auto-body
Sonoma County: www.diamondcertified.org/sonoma-auto-body

2 Responses

  1. Ted Smith says:

    I remember when I had to take my car in to get fixed. Someone scraped the side of my car with their car as they were pulling out. The auto shop that fixed the car said the same thing as this article. They said that they would do their best to get the new paint as perfectly matched as possible. When the car came out of the shop I was very surprised to see that the new paint was extremely similar to the old paint. You can hardly tell that it was new.

  2. Eliza Cranston says:

    Thank you for the information on matching paint. I recently had some body work done on my car and wasn’t sure why the paint color was slightly different on the bumper than on the metal. However, it makes sense that plastic and metal would cause the paint to look different. Could you explain how body shops match paint accurately on cars?

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