How to Match Vehicle Paint Color

Written by ariel phillips
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How to Match Vehicle Paint Color
Black and red are two common car colours. (car image by Edvin selimovic from

Matching vehicle paint colour can be a daunting task. With all the subtle variations in colour, it can be very difficult to confidently arrive at the right match. In many cases, matching vehicle paint colour is left to a professional auto worker or mechanic. However, there are some steps you can take to match the colour yourself without having to pay extra or wait longer for a professional to find the perfect match.

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  1. 1

    Determine whether your vehicle colour has a specific name or coding. If you bought the car new, the dealer should be able to help you with this, or if you've had the car repainted the repair shop should also know. Finding the specific colour number of the vehicle paint makes it much easier to track down a match.

  2. 2

    Go to your repair shop and ask about their "standard sample." The standard sample is a paint sample provided by car manufacturers to help match vehicle paint variations within a certain colour. Many different variations can exist within a specific vehicle colour, depending on the manufacturer.

  3. 3

    Take into account the history of your car. A car that has spent years in the sun will experience variations in colour from the original paint job. This is especially true for blue and red cars, which are more affected by sunlight. If you have an older car that has spent a lot of time in a sunny or warm climate, you will have a harder time matching your vehicle paint colour and will most likely want to seek professional help.

  4. 4

    Test out a number of colour variations in order to reach the closest match. When blending and experimenting with colours, apply a small amount of paint to a non-visible area of the vehicle and wait to see if the colours match after the paint has dried.

  5. 5

    Order a colour online if you can't match it yourself. Look for a company that specialises in custom-made colour combinations. Provide the company with a the factory paint code in order to help them reach a match.

Tips and warnings

  • Vehicles with a metallic paint finish are harder to match than vehicles with a flat finish and generally require professional assistance.

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