A Quick Guide to Selecting Automotive Paint

automotive painting

When it comes to choosing car paint, a lot of changes have happened since the classic black of Henry Ford’s Model T. New colours, developments, and trends have made car painting today a very different process, and given cars a very different look.

Today, professionals working in the automotive industry get to choose from an almost endless amount of colours, and an impressive array of paint types. It’s no wonder that professionals put a lot of careful consideration into which paint they chose for a job: there’s a lot to keep in mind!

For those currently completing their training in automotive painting, these tips will be familiar. But, if you’re thinking about enrolling and want to get a head start, then here’s a quick primer on what to consider when selecting automotive paint.

The Three Basic Components of Car Paint

Painting a car takes far more than just a bit of artistry and a dash of know-how – as professionals working in automotive painting are well aware.

Car paint is made up of three main components: the pigment (or colour of the paint), the binder/ resin that binds the colour to the car, and the solvent that keeps the resin liquid before it dries.

These three main components can be made from very different ingredients, and those ingredients will affect the quality of the paint, and how easy it is to apply.

The Different Resins Automotive Professionals Use

Resins fall into three main camps:

  • Urethane
  • Acrylic enamel
  • Acrylic lacquer

Urethane and enamel paints are the most widely used today, and have a few key differences that set them apart. Urethane dries faster and tends to be more durable, but enamel paint is water-based and more environmentally friendly.

Lacquer, on the other hand, provides a great shine, but is the most high-maintenance resin of the three. Without regular waxing and care, it’ll go dull in just a few short years. It also tends to get brittle, and is only still used by vintage vehicle lovers who want to give their cars that classic shine. Many automotive painting pros don’t use acrylic lacquer anymore.

A Quick Guide to Car Colour Trends

For car buyers and owners, the personal expression that comes with the colour of their car is important. They want the colour of their car to reflect their personality and the image they want to portray.

Trends in car colour are always changing, and what was popular twenty years ago might not be as popular today. Recent studies show that right now, white is the colour – or shade – of choice.

White used to be seen as the colour of microwaves and delivery trucks. But, in what’s been dubbed as the “Apple effect,” car buyers now see white as a clean, modern, and fresh option. The popularity of the iPod, iPad, and iPhone have made white popular again. It’s become the most popular car colour, ahead of silver and even black.

But that’s not to say that black has fallen out of favour. Black, blue, and red are making steady gains. Vibrant yellows and oranges are also gaining traction, and other “natural” colours like golds and coppers are predicted to rise too. Professionals with careers in auto are noting that bright, bold colours are becoming a bit more popular than they used to be. So, in the years to come we might start seeing more bright colours on the road and in dealerships.

Are you thinking about studying to become a mechanic in BC? Check out our program page to see which automotive career is right for you.



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