Understanding the 5 Types of Exterior Car Paint: A Comparison Guide

January 27, 2012

If you have ever considered repainting your vehicle, you should know they various types of exterior car paint that are available and how they are used. Achieving the perfect car paint finish usually involves several different types of paint or finish to ensure proper bonding of the paint to the metal surface of the vehicle and to create a glossy shine that is attractive. In order to help you learn about the types of paint that are needed for a vehicle, here is a list of the most common types that are used.

Prep or Undercoat Finishes - Prep finishes are usually referred to a primers. Car paint primers are usually available in either grey or black and are used to 'prime' the surface of the vehicle and make it ready for painting. Primer is designed to help car paint better adhere to the vehicle by creating a binding layer that can bond to paint easier and more consistently than bare metal. A spray paint primer also helps to keep moisture away from the bare metal surface which can cause oxidation and rust. A primed surface can be porous and needs to be sanded before applying the actual paint to a vehicle.

Base Coat Paints - Generally speaking, the base coat on a vehicle is the actual colored paint for the vehicle. It does not usually contain any strengtheners or hardeners and is not glossy. Base coats almost always need to be used with some sort of clear coat or urethane base coat in order to stay protected from the elements and to shine. Because using two coats (a base coat and a clear coat) usually creates a better shine and offers more protection to the surface of the vehicle.

Acrylic Lacquers - Although this type of paint has been discontinued by most manufacturers, it is still very popular for owners of antique or classic cars. If you want the absolute highest possible gloss or shine on your vehicle, an acrylic lacquer paint is the best choice. However, while acrylic lacquer is excellent for limited use vehicles, such as showroom vehicles, it is not recommended for cars that are driven every day as it doesn't offer the protection of other types of car paint produced using more modern methods. In many applications, acrylic lacquer car paints are usually mixed with some sort of lacquer thinner to make them easier to spray.

Clear Coat Finishes Clear coat paint, or a clear coat finish as it is commonly referred to, is actually just paint that does not contain any pigment or color. In most cases, clear coat paints use specialized chemicals that allow easy adherence to flexible components such as plastic bumpers. These types of paints usually also include UV inhibitors that help to prevent ultraviolet sun rays produced by the sun from fading the color of your vehicle. Many times, these types of paints are made from you urethane or polyurethane which also helps to give the vehicle a`` high-gloss or shine.

Specialty Paints - In addition to the above mentioned types of car paint, there are also other types of specialty paints. For example, some owners of older cars preferred to use an acrylic enamel paint which is also called a one stage paint. It differs from the types of plates used in modern day paint jobs as it requires only a single application, and not a base coat and a clear coat covering finish.

There are also other specialty paints such as metallic finish paints or chameleon paints that provide an illusion of sparkling or changing colors. There are many other types of specialty paints that a professional paint shop may be able to recommend to you.