[Infographic] The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Car Paint

Repainting a vehicle is a big decision. Not only should it look great and suit the vehicle’s make and model, it also needs to provide protection from the elements and stand the test of time—all while being within the client’s price range. A completely new paint job on a vehicle can be pricey, which is why it’s important for professionals with auto painting careers to use their knowledge to guide car owners through the process.

While at first glance picking out paint might seem simple, there are five important steps that go into the decision-making process. Other than choosing the colour, there are several other, equally important factors to be considered.

If you’re considering enrolling in car painting courses, check out our infographic to learn how you can help clients pick out their dream car paint during your future career!



The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Car Paint: 5 steps to keep in mind

Step #1: Pick the type of resin

Paint resin acts as a binder that keeps the pigment and carrier agent together

Choose from urethane, enamel, or lacquer

  • Urethanes are a more durable option
  • Enamels dry with a glossy finish and are less expensive
  • Lacquers are high maintenance and best suited for showroom cars

Step #2: Determine if you want a paint that requires an activator

Activators begin the process of chemical bonding, otherwise known as drying or evaporation

Choose from one-part or two-part paint

  • One-part paints don’t require an activator or hardener to set
  • Two-part paints require an activator to form the chemical bond between the paint and the car’s surface

Step #3: Choose your painting process

Choose from single-stage or basecoat paint

  • Single-stage paints don’t require a base coat to be applied, and have a glossy finish
  • Basecoat paint requires a basecoat in addition to pigmented paint. It dries as a semi-gloss or matte finish.

Step #4: Select the type of paint for the vehicle

Opt for metallic, pearl, solid, or matte

  • Metallic paints are mixed with tiny pieces of metal and add depth to a vehicle
  • Pearl paints refract and reflect light for a subtle sparkle
  • Solid paints are inexpensive and an industry standard
  • Matte paints are usually black or grey and don’t reflect any light

Step #5: Choose the ideal paint colour for the vehicle

Car colours can transform a vehicle’s personality and presence on the road


  • Black
  • Grey
  • White


  • Gold
  • Silver


  • Red
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Yellow
  • Orange

Some careful factors to consider before choosing a paint colour…


  • Black shows dirt the easiest
  • Silver hides dirt the best


  • Dark colours like black and navy blue absorb heat in the summer months
  • White and lighter shades stay cool


  • Red shows dings and swirl marks easily
  • Black is unforgiving of imperfections


  • Black and grey can be hard to spot on the roads at night
  • White and brighter colours stand out in traffic, at night, and in parking lots






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