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Paint Manufacturers Refinishing Steps Recommendations

Autosphere » Collision » Paint Manufacturers Refinishing Steps Recommendations
Normand Cormier is Classroom Training Manager for North America for Axalta Coating Systems [email protected]. Photo Normand Cormier

When refinishing a vehicle following repairs, it’s common to wonder what the paint manufacturer’s recommendations are for the various operations.

Here’s a summary of the positions of the main car paint manufacturers.

Dismantling before surface preparation and painting

Mouldings, trims and door handles, etc., should be removed wherever possible. Existing paintwork should be thoroughly cleaned and sanded before applying repair paint. This can be difficult, if not impossible, if the mouldings are not removed.

Colour fusion

The increasingly complex colours used by car manufacturers and the level of quality expected by consumers leave little room for manoeuvre when it comes to repainting the vehicle.

All manufacturers recommend blending the colour into the adjacent panel if the repaired panel is completely or largely painted, even if the colour sample looks very good. Environmental factors such as air temperature, humidity, spraying equipment and even the location and visibility of the repair almost always require fusion to be considered to ensure an ‘invisible’ repair.

Colour shading

With globalisation and the increase in the number of production plants around the world, it is virtually impossible for car manufacturers to achieve global colour uniformity.

Toyota, for example, has around 50 plants worldwide. Despite our best efforts, the colours of two vehicles with the same code but manufactured in two different plants will not be exactly the same.

Paint manufacturers suggest tinting if the best formula for the repair is still likely to show a difference when fused. The shading of the formula should be done to bring the colour closer together so that it can give an ‘invisible’ repair when fused.

It is possible to shade a colour until an exact ‘match’ is achieved, but this almost always takes longer than merging the colour.

Varnish fusion

No paint manufacturer offers a guarantee on varnish fusion. This should be applied to the entire room, without exception. Car manufacturers have the same requirement.

The melting of the varnish results in a reduction in the thickness of the film, which will decompose more quickly when exposed to UV light. The repair will deteriorate and become obvious over time.

Sanding and polishing the varnish

Obviously, the best way to eliminate surface defects in the varnish is to take the necessary steps beforehand: clean the vehicle thoroughly, wear a paint suit, maintain the cab, etc.

However, despite all these efforts, some finishing work may still be required. All manufacturers have written procedures for these operations. Generally, the recommendation is to have at least two mils (thousandths of an inch) of varnish after polishing.

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