Different Types of Auto Paints

Written by kristen marquette
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Different Types of Auto Paints
During the height of acrylic laquer's popularity, it was used widely used by General Motors. (cars parking in parking area image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com)

Using enamel automobile paint over lacquer paint can cause an unsightly chemical reaction on the outside of your vehicle. A paint such as 2-pack will eat through a top coat of lacquer when there are scratches present. Even different brands of the same type of paint may chemically react. Repainting your vehicle is best left to the professionals unless you are familiar with the different types of auto paint.

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Nitrocellulose Lacquer

Used to paint production cars through the 1950s and 1960s, nitrocellulose lacquer is one of the oldest varieties of auto paint still available on the market. This paint does not resist light or pollution well, making it less durable than newer car paints. It also requires a considerable amount of time to dry. Nitrocellulose lacquer is not the most environmental-friendly paint you can choose either, since it contains a high amount of organic solvents that evaporate during the painting and drying process, polluting the air.

Acrylic Lacquer

A popular auto paint between the 1950s and 1970s, acrylic lacquer continued to appear on some luxury cars, such as the Rolls Royce, until the late 1980s. This type of auto paint leaves a glasslike finish on vehicles, which complements classic cars. Since the paint dries quickly, dirt and dust are less likely to get caught in the paint, ruining the finish; plus you can sand down any painting flaws shortly after application, making acrylic lacquer a good choice for amateur painters. But to maintain this classy finish, it must be buffed on a regular basis.

Acrylic Enamel

Developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, acrylic enamel contains no solvents, making it harder and more resilient than its predecessors. While acrylic enamel is durable and affordable, it leaves a dull finish on your vehicle and is best used only on a car previously painted with acrylic enamel.

2-Pack

Increasing in use and popularity since the 1970s, 2-pack paint involves fewer coats of paint than lacquer and is long-lasting as well as durable. It produces a finish with an attractive shine that does not require sanding or buffing. However, the finish also gives the vehicle an artificial, plastic appearance, making it a poor choice for classic cars. When painting with 2-pack, keep in mind that inhaling its fumes can seriously damage your immune system and even result in death. Only when properly equipped with full body protection gear and air-fed masks should you paint with 2-pack.

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