One of the most striking features of a car is its colour! More than being just the paint, the colour of the car is also a major reflection of our personality. The car paint helps in protecting your car and at the same time beautifies it. As per the recent facts, White is a top hit amongst Indians! Along with the various specifications the looks of a car matter a lot too. And hence, it is important to know everything about the paints being used on your favourite brands.

So what exactly is Car Paint?

As you might have watched in some of the automobile manufacturing videos, any vehicle production involves four main stages namely Stamping, Bodywork, Painting and Final Assembly. After the first two steps, all the parts will be attached to the body and the core carrier known as the Body-in-white(BIW) is created.

Going in deeper with the car paints, they consist of four types of raw materials including: 

  1. Pigments or Filers: adds colour to the paint
  2. Thinner: brings out the consistency in the paint levels
  3. Binders: binds together the pigment and the thinner
  4. Solvents or Dispersing Agents
  5. Additives.

The Earlier Approach

The early car paints were time-consuming and not very environment-friendly. Paint would be applied and left to dry for weeks at room temperature because it was a single component paint dried by solvent evaporation. Also, the paints contained lead, chromium and other heavy metals which were banned by the government owing to the Environment Laws. Up to 85% of the lacquer paints can evaporate into the air polluting the air. 

Currently, a two-component paint is applied by robotic arms which happens under any range of temperature and in no time. As for the basecoat, water-based acrylic polyurethane enamels are used worldwide.

The General Stages involved

The e-coat, primer and clear coat applications are followed by the baking, drying for dispersing agent removal or power melting and cross-linking of paints to form the coating layer.

The painting process generally involves a three-stage process.

  1. Preparing your car before painting it

    Before painting, the BIW has to be cleaned to get rid of any oils or dirt, is deposited with a pretreatment layer and has been rinsed off any pretreatment chemicals. Apart from this, any dents on your car have to be smoothened out using suction cups or dent removing tools. Dent removal is followed by fillers and finally, fine sandpaper will be used to ease out the filled area.

  2. Applying the Primer

    Just like normal paints, the primer is the first coat used for car painting. It is again a crucial step wherein the entire surface of the car is applied with the primer except for the windows or the chrome. Primer prevents the body from rust, UV-light, heat differences and helps in levelling out the car surface. It may take more than one coat to ensure that all the required surfaces are prepared for the final painting.

  3. Base Coat

    The fancy colours and visual effects of your car are taken care of by this base coat, which is nothing but the paint of the car. They are further classified into solid, metallic and pearlescent pigments.

    Solid Paints

    Have no sparkly effects and are most commonly used in heavy transportation vehicles, aircraft and construction equipment.

    Metallic Paints

    Contain the sparkling and grainy effect which gives a metallic look to the paint.  Contains aluminium flakes which reflect more incident light than solid colours.

    Pearlescent Paints

    Provided with shimmering pigments known as pearls which impart a coloured sparkle adding to the depth of the colour. 

  4. Clearcoat

    This is the final coating layer to the car paint, which gives a glossy and transparent coating. It is expected to be chemically stable to withstand UV light. The Original Equipment Manufactures(OEM) go with the one part formulations (‘1K’) as they can be heated to around 140°C to effect a cure. Whereas the plastic components of the car are coated with the two-part formulations (‘2K’) because of a low range of temperature acceptance of around 90°C.

The Different Types of Auto paints available

  1. Acrylic Lacquer

    Used between the 1920s and 1960s the Lacquer paint was cheap and provided a nice glossy finish. But it used to chip off easily owing to its soft nature and it didn’t have much resistance to the UV and chemicals

  2. Acrylic Enamel

    The Enamel paints form a hard shell upon drying, making them tougher than the lacquer. But they can be a little troublesome while application and thus we end up with a thick layer. Some enamel colours also require a clear topcoat called the two-stage system while others can be used as a single-stage system.

  3. Acrylic Urethane

    These paints lay down easily as the Lacquer and are tough and durable like the Enamel. They come with the need of three additional products, namely the colour, the reducer used to level out the colour to the right viscosity and a catalyst to speed up the drying process. One of the key features of Urethane is that it is highly toxic, so apart from the gloves and overalls, a face mask is also mandatory while working with it.

  4. Water-based

    The newest addition to auto paints, the Water-based paints are adaptable to all surface conditions, be it a metal or a primer or an already painted surface to create some logos or graphics.  Because of their non-toxic property, they can be used easily but towards the end, a top coat of clear urethane has to be used to protect the paint.

Also, read Types of Car Scratches: Not Just The Nicks and Dings!

Car Paint Services @ Pitstop

Pitstop offers a colour match warranty along with a one-year paint fade warranty in the denting painting work carried out at our certified garages. Book a car painting service with us and get the old shine back to your car, at affordable prices.