How to identify metallic paints?

Do you know the difference between matte and pearlescent? We come over all emulsional as we talk about the various types of car paint you can get

When purchasing an automobile, there are various options to consider, such as whether it runs on gasoline, diesel, or electricity, as well as the trim level, optional extras, and alloy wheels.

Yet regardless of whether your automobile is a little urban runabout, a family electric car, a seven-seater SUV, or something entirely more unusual, picking what colour its paint is will be one of the most essential options you will make.

Various automobile paints have a big influence on how a car appears, but it’s not just about the color. There are several varieties of paint on offer these days, from solid (IE non-metallic), to matte and pearlescent finishes, as well as special-order options.

Here, we’ll go through the many kinds of paint you can come across on your car-buying trip, as well as whether different paints affect resale prices.

What’s solid car paint?

The great majority of vehicles come standard with a’solid’ paint finish, with metallic and pearlescent options costing extra (see below).

Solid paint is less expensive to produce and apply to a car when it is being built, and most manufacturers offer a limited selection of no-cost solid paint options on a new model; options vary, but you may find a car has three solid paint options as standard (although some cars only have one free paint option), with common colors being red, white, blue, and grey.

There’s no reason not to go with one of the regular paint choices – but solid paint doesn’t grab the attention in the same way that a metallic finish does, and purchasers on the secondhand market may frequently prefer a vehicle with metallic paint.

Since they are easy to make, solid finishes are free. Typically, there are simply three layers: priming, paint, and lacquer, with no metallic flakes, for example. Several manufacturers now utilize ‘two-pack’ paint, which is basically paint and lacquer blended together.

Damage to automobiles with a solid finish is easier to fix than damage to cars with metallic or iridescent paint. Solid colours with small areas of damage can often be repaired with a touch-up pen in the appropriate shade, and car spares shop (Halfords, etc) can supply the right pen for not much money. More extensive repairs are also rather straightforward since the paint dries rapidly with the help of a simple heat lamp.

Solid paint finishes may not be the most intriguing, but they are definitely the cheapest and simplest to maintain.

What’s metallic car paint?

Little bits of aluminum powder are blended with metallic paint. The shine is caused by metal particles reflecting light. Metallics look their best under direct, natural light, but even on a dull day they still shine.

Metallic coatings are often a cost option on new automobiles, adding anywhere from £500 to the vehicle’s price, however metallic paint tends to cost more on bigger and more costly vehicles. Black Sapphire Metallic paint, for example, costs £695 on a BMW 3 Series but £795 on a BMW X5 (prices correct as of August 2022). The same paint is a no-cost option on the BMW M3, though, while the latest Range Rover is offered with seven metallic paints as no-cost options (though there are also a number of ‘Premium’ metallic finishes for £865), so prices really do depend on what car you’re buying.

But while metallic paint may add cost the list price of a car, because around 90% of new cars are bought using finance, and PCP deals are a) by far and away the most popular finance package and b) based on a car’s depreciation, you may find that optioning a metallic finish doesn’t add much to your monthly repayments, as a metallic car may be more desirable on the used market, thus its depreciation may be a little less steep than a car with a no-cost solid paint.

Dirt is more visible on metallic finishes than on solids, so you may need to clean your automobile more often. But, be cautious since the paint marks more readily. Use a proper car shampoo – washing up liquid contains abrasive salts – and make sure there’s no grit on the sponge. Swirl marks are caused by overzealous polishing, and vehicle wash brushes may also leave markings. Any blemishes, however, can typically be gently polished off.

Metallic paint is more difficult to repair, as achieving an exact match is tricky. Even factory-approved body shops provide no assurances.

What’s pearlescent car paint

Pearlescent paints shine even brighter and deeper than metallics, but they are more costly and need more care.

Mainstream manufacturers often provide a limited number of pearlescent colors, but high-end companies sometimes offer dozens.

Ceramic particles in the paint reflect and refract light, giving the paint a pearlescent luster. This provides the color richness that even metallics cannot match. Lighter tints become iridescent in intense light, seeming to be various colors from different angles, often to amazing effect.

Pearlescent paints, on the other hand, are more vulnerable to markings, are more difficult to repair than metallics, and great care must be given while washing a pearlescent automobile, since they are highly prone to damage from small amounts of grit on your car-washing sponge.

What’s matte car paint?

Non-shiny matte finishes aren’t a common choice because they tend to only come in shades of silver, grey or black. And because they are more expensive than pearlescent paints and demand more attention than pearlescent finishes.

A matte finish may be achieved using a primer with a high epoxy content, a high PVC content in the paint itself, or a flattening agent in the lacquer. Whichever technique is employed, the paint absorbs more light than it reflects, resulting in a dull sheen with a pleasing texture to the color.

Matte coatings need a lot of upkeep: they must be cleaned on a regular basis using specialized shampoos and polishes. Bird droppings must be cleaned up as soon as possible since they contain acids that swiftly eat through the finish. When BMW sold a special edition M3 with matte paint a few years ago, there was a warranty waiver that required the owner to take scrupulous care of it.

Matte finishes are notoriously difficult and costly to restore effectively.

You either love or dislike matte finishes. If you do, you may decide that the additional cost and inconvenience is worthwhile. Therefore, don’t be shocked if your vehicle proves tough to sell.

What’s special-finish car paint?

If none of the above floats your boat, various car manufacturers use a range of other techniques to give even more lustrous finishes in a seemingly infinite spectrum of colours. You pay for it, however, with exotic finishes frequently adding thousands of pounds to the cost of a vehicle.

Layering brighter tones on top of darker colors, such as red on top of black, may provide an eye-catching tinted effect. Instead, layering multiple pearlescent paints may produce a multi-faceted look that erupts into a rainbow of colors when the sun touches it. Using a tinted lacquer alone may have a striking impact.

Moreover, most high-end automotive manufacturers can make whatever color you choose. If you want your car to match your goldfish, or you want an entirely new colour, they will gladly oblige. Having paid you tens of thousands of pounds for the privilege.

If you purchase a vehicle built of carbon fiber, you have even more options. Pagani, for example, can apply a colored tint to carbonfibre during the production process for the price of a brand-new Ferrari. Bugatti asks a comparable sum for no paint at all, just highly lacquered, naked carbon fiber.

The only constraints at the top of the market are creativity and money. There are cars out there with real silver, gold and even diamonds mixed into the paint.

Will my car’s paint affect its resale value?

Yes, up to a point. Specify a neon-pink car on special order and you may limit the buyer base come resale time. It’s also true that metallic automobiles are more popular than those with solid paint finishes. However, it is possible that the paint options on a new car are all fairly’safe’ choices, partly because depreciation is such a large factor in a car’s monthly repayments that car manufacturers may not see the point in offering finishes that a) are rarely chosen and b) may negatively impact a car’s resale value, thus driving up finance costs.

Types of car paint FAQs

How much does it cost to paint a car

The cost to paint a car in the factory varies from paint to paint, while getting a respray done can cost thousands of pounds, as components need to be removed or thoroughly masked off, and a car will often need repairs or corrective work before it is resprayed. Individual body panels, on the other hand, may often be resprayed for hundreds rather than thousands of dollars.

How do I find my car’s paint code?

Each automobile has a unique number that defines the precise color and kind of paint that was used to finish it; this paint code is crucial information if you’re having the paint touched up, repaired, or resprayed. The paint code is usually found on a label someplace on the automobile, usually in the spare wheel well beneath the trunk carpet, inside the driver’s door jamb, or under the hood. If you can’t locate your car’s sticker, do a search online since you’re unlikely to be the first person to wish to know this information.

How do I restore my car’s paint?

That is dependent on how much repair is required. If you have a few of stone chips in an inconspicuous area, you might use a touch-up paint pen to repair them yourself. If you want to give the paint a more general tidy up, the best thing to do is give it a thorough wash, then use a clay bar (read up on how to use these), followed by a high-quality wax. If your vehicle requires more extensive paint treatment, we can only suggest that you contact a competent expert bodywork restorer.

How can you tell if paint is non metallic?

It’s as easy as that: metallic paint is glossy, whereas non-metallic paint is matte. Metallic paint incorporates little pieces of metal into the paint mix that provide sheen to the paint finish.

Does metallic paint have sparkles?

Pros of Metallic Car Paint:
Being that it contains bits of powdered metal, metallic car paint reflects more light than a standard glossy auto finish, and adds a bit sparkle and color depth unachievable with a standard finish. As a result, it conceals minor car flaws and dents better.

What is the difference between metallic paint and normal paint?

“The main difference between normal and metallic paint is that metallic paint contains metal flakes in the tinter.”

Can you match metallic paint?

When matching metallic hues, make sure the metallic flake is the correct size. You may have a paint color match, but it will look different than the automobile due to a mismatched metallic. A coarser metallic makes the paint seem darker, whereas a finer metallic makes it appear lighter.

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