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“My front door is the only part that needs to be replaced. Why do you need to paint the fender and rear door, too?”
That question makes a lot of sense, if you think of all paints being a perfect match. If it’s black, it may be possible to “panel paint” only the part being repaired or replaced. But did you know there are even multiple shades of black? It’s true. There are “blue blacks,” “brown blacks,” and “jet black,” with no undertones and the “blackest black.” Of course, most colors will be much more difficult to get an exact match, which is why it’s necessary to blend the color part of the paint into the adjacent undamaged panel(s.)
There Are a Number of Reasons Paint Colors May Differ
To understand why it’s necessary to blend the new paint into an adjacent, undamaged panel, let’s look at all of the reasons paint may not be an automatic color match out of the can:
The car manufacturer allows a tolerance of the paint delivered to its assembly plant
Car manufacturers work with paint manufacturers to come up with eye-catching paints that will attract buyers. When that paint is delivered to the assembly plant, it is in bulk-container totes.
There is a standard to which that color must match, and to keep costs down a bit, paint manufacturers are allowed to vary just a touch from the standard color-match, whether it’s too light, too dark, too blue, and so on. The average buyer never notices in comparing two identical makes and models on the lot. But if you were to swap hoods between the two, they may look like a two-toned paint job.
Pump it up
At the assembly plant, that paint is typically pumped through long lines to the automated paint shop, where robots may spray blue cars this hour and silver cars the next. But the changeover is not always so neat, and it’s accomplished by spraying blue until it seems to be depleted. Silver paint is then pumped into the paint spray heads, and now silver cars are being painted. But…and maybe you’re anticipating this already…those first few silver cars may have a touch of blue in them. Or maybe the paint shop switched from black to charcoal metallic, and now the first few cars are a little dark.
You get the idea. Those cars are not sent through for rework; they’re just now a variation of the standard color.
The formula is correct, but it’s too transparent, which affects how the final color looks
Even if the color formula was absolutely perfect at the factory, it was painted long after the color changed, and everything else was spot-on, there is one more common reason the color may differ on the vehicle as-delivered from what was intended. Color can be applied thin enough that it is actually translucent, so one’s eye looks through the color into the primer/sealer that protects the bare metal. So, light colors may look darker if they’re not applied thick enough.
Blending is often more cost-effective than tinting for hours
Spirit West Rapid Refinish is proud to use PPG waterborne paints, the same paints used by many automobile original equipment manufacturers. PPG’s OEM and Refinish divisions work closely together to identify color-match variations before the vehicles even hit the street. Once the most common variants are identified, PPG’s labs mix variant formulas, verify the color match, and then distribute the formulas to shops such as Spirit West Rapid Refinish. When your vehicle arrives in our shop, our technicians select the closest variant from a swatch book. Our expert technicians are also skilled in tinting a color to make it an even closer match.
But light can be tricky
But even minute differences can be detected by the human eye, particularly in different light; what looks great in the sun may have a different look under the canopy lights of the neighborhood gas station.
It’s also not cost-effective to spend hours in subtracting or adding the various components of the formula to fine-tune the formula instead of painting an extra panel, and it can even waste paint. So it’s standard procedure for collision repair shops to spend some time selecting the closest color formula. But then the adjacent panel, or panels, depending on the area of the damage, is then prepped for color to be blended in the area where the two panels meet. The edge of the undamaged panel will have a full application of the new color, and this is “stepped out” as the color gets farther away from the new panel. Some longer damaged panels can even be repaired at the edge and have enough room for blending in the middle. Your estimator can explain, as each situation is unique.
Get a Lifetime Paint Performance Guarantee!
Whatever your repair, Spirit West Rapid Refinish prides itself on a finish you can be proud of. And we offer a Lifetime Paint Performance Guarantee as long as you own the vehicle!
For your bumper repair service, paint repair service and minor collision repair service in the St. Louis area, contact Spirit West Rapid Refinish at 636-386-8060 Monday through Friday between 9:00am – 5:00pm or stop by our convenient location at 14643 Manchester Rd, Manchester, MO 63011.
Spirit West Motor Carriage, founded in 1977, is a full-service auto body repair shop serving the St. Louis and surrounding Metro area. For nearly four decades, our family-owned business and our experienced staff have been providing quality auto collision repair, mechanical, paintless dent repair (PDR), complete paint refinishing, and wheel and framing alignment services.