How to find a paint number on a car

Updated February 21, 2017

The paint number is a code identifying the paint colour originally painted on the body of an auto at the factory. If the car needs a new coat of paint, either for touch-ups or to finish off collision repair, the exact colour can be ordered by using this code. The paint number decal can be found in one of four places on the auto body.

Study the metal plates and decals on the auto body. The paint number is a code of numbers and/or letters written beside or under one of these identifying words or phrases: colour, (or colour on older European models) / paint no / primary and secondary paint / exterior paint colour / paint code / lower body and upper body (for two-tone paint colours) / exterior paint number / C/TR: (for Toyota, Lexus and Scion) / paint number.

Look for the paint number on a decal in the boot on several Audi, General Motors and Volkswagen vehicles. The plate or decal is likely to be on the side wall, under the carpet or on the body inside the wheel well that holds the spare tire.

Look at the driver's side door to locate paint numbers for most Acura, Chrysler, Honda, Ford, Nissan, Infiniti, Isuzu, Jaguar, Kia, Land/Range Rover, Mazda, Mercedes, Saab, Toyota, Lexus, and Scion models. The decal or plate may be on found on the front or back side of the door, or on the forward or rear jamb.

Check for paint numbers on interior decals. Many General Motors, Saab and Isuzu models show a paint number in the glove compartment. Several Kia vehicles feature the paint number on a decal under the driver's seat. A few models have paint codes on decals under the dash or near the VIN plate.

Look under the hood for paint number decals on most BMW, Lamborghini, Mini, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Subaru, Suzuki and Volvo cars. Many Mercedes products, and older Infiniti, Lexus, Toyota and Nissan models, have the numbers on the undersides of hood covers, the tops of the wheel wells and on frame tops behind the grill.


Original automotive paint fades over time. Consult an auto body specialist about matching paint colours on a used vehicle. Once you find the paint code, run it by the auto body mechanic or car dealership for verification before using it to order paint.

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About the Author

Jonra Springs began writing in 1989. He writes fiction for children and adults and draws on experiences in education, insurance, construction, aviation mechanics and entertainment to create content for various websites. Springs studied liberal arts and computer science at the College of Charleston and Trident Technical College.