How to Find the Paint Code on a Car

Updated March 23, 2017

Dings and scratches on automobiles are hard to avoid. Odds are, over time imperfections will surface on the paint of your car. Doing a paint touch-up over a small area is possible, but an exact match on the paint is very important if you don't want it to be noticeable. In order to get the correct colour, you must know your car's paint code. With this information known, it's easy to order paint that is an exact match for your car.

Locate the paint code on your car. Unfortunately, depending on the make and model of the car, the location of the paint code may vary. Some of the more common areas include the spare tire cover, the passenger and driver front supports, the glove compartment, all four door jambs, the underside of the hood, and the body plate. The code is usually listed on the vehicle identification tag. It's generally a combination of letters and numbers.

Call the manufacturer. If you are unable to locate the code on the car itself, give the dealership a call. If you purchased your car used from a dealership that doesn't normally sell from the manufacturer, call one that does. They are more likely to have the paint codes on hand or are better at locating it for you.

Go online. There are websites that will allow you to enter the car's information and offer the possible paint codes for that car. Be careful though, especially if your car is a colour that there are different versions for. If you find the code online, it's also a good idea to verify it with the manufacturer before ordering it.

Take the car to a dealership that deals with the car you have. If you are absolutely not certain with the other methods, this is your best bet to make sure you get the right colour. Call ahead and make an appointment.


Never guess on your car's paint colour. It's not uncommon for a manufacturer to have several variations of different colours. A spot that doesn't match is likely to be more noticeable than the imperfection you are trying to hide. Leave the larger jobs to the professionals. A small area should be easy enough, but if the scratch or chip is in an obvious spot or is very large, let a shop do it for you. You will likely be more happy with the results, especially if you have a newer car.

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About the Author

Ann Smith has been writing informational articles for more than seven years. Beginning her career with bed-and-breakfast reviews, Smith now covers health and parenting issues for various online publications.