Finding Your Vehicle Paint Code & Colour Match

If you’ve been involved in an accident—be it a minor sideswipe or a panel-crunching collision—your prized automobile is going to be left with unsightly dents and scratches.

Even the smallest scuffs can ruin the aesthetics of your ride, not to mention its resale value. Therefore, if you’ve got a car you care about, it’s worth rectifying the issue ASAP.

The good news is most panel beaters in Melbourne can perform smash repairs and paintless dent removal to undo the damage. However, not all offer a colour matching service, which could mean you end up with substandard results.

Whether you’re taking your scratched up car to a bodywork specialist or attempting to respray the surface yourself, the first step is to determine the precise colour code. This article will show you how.

Understanding Colour Codes

While automotive paint may look the same to the untrained eye, the truth is every make (and sometimes model) comes in a distinct shade. Try to respray a scratched surface with the wrong type of green, for example, and you’ll spot the difference from a mile away, even if the lighting isn’t ideal.

Luckily, a car’s unique shade can be easily identified by a colour code. Find the correct colour code, and the paint should match your vehicle perfectly.

Read the Car Manual

If you’ve still got your car’s manual tucked away in the glove box, this handy book should be the first place you check.

Automotive manuals tend to be quite bulky, but the good news is there’s no need to read the whole thing. Skip to the appendix and search through the alphabetical list to find the “colour code” section. Now, navigate to that page and take note of the relevant code.

However, not everyone holds onto their manual. If yours has gone missing, there’s a good chance you can find it online. Google the make and model of your vehicle plus “manual” and see what pops up.

Double-check that it is the correct model and only download files from trusted sources.

Check the Vehicle Information Sticker

All cars sold in Australia from the 1980s have an official label, either a sticker or small metal plate, covering essential information. This label provides info on tire pressure recommendations, engine details, the year/month of manufacture, and, most importantly, your colour code.

Chances are you’ve had to consult this label in the past. In that case, you can quickly find it again to obtain your colour code.

However, if you’re not familiar with the label, you’ll have to do some digging around. Most manufacturers place it on the door jam or inside the door—it’s usually situated on the driver’s side, but failing that, check the passenger side. Other possible spots include the dashboard, the boot, or under the hood in the engine bay. Some manufacturers will even hide it in the rear wheel well.

If you’ve searched high and low and still can’t find the sticker, Google “how to find information sticker for (your make and model).”

Check the VIN Number

If you can’t find your car manual or the information sticker (or if the latter has become so faded it’s now ineligible), you can obtain your paint code from your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

A VIN Number is an official, 17-character code unique to your specific vehicle—no two cars share the same VIN. While its primary purposes are to track down recalls, manage registration and warranty, and provide evidence for automotive theft, the VIN also comes in handy when you need to obtain specific information about your car, including your paint code.

However, as with the information sticker, you’ll need to do some sleuthing to find it. Try the corners where the windshield meets the dashboard, the driver’s door jam, the front of the engine bay (you’ll need to lift the hood), and behind the front driver’s side tyre. As an easier alternative, the VIN will be clearly printed in your certificate of registration (most people keep this in the glove box).

The downside to going down the VIN path is you won’t be able to use it to obtain the paint code yourself. Contact your dealership or manufacturer and ask them to do so on your behalf.

Paint Matching Services: The Safest Option

The best panel beaters offer state-of-the-art paint matching services to achieve a flawless finish. Not only will the technician identify the correct colour code on your behalf, but they’ll also use a special camera to determine if there are any tiny variations on the panel.

While auto body paint from the correct colour code should theoretically be a perfect match, in reality, there are slight variations on each shade due to different batches, suppliers, and even weather-related fading. A colour matching service will analyse the correct “real-world” shade and formulate appropriate replacement paint.

What’s more, the technician will gradually blend the paint into the rest of the panel to achieve an unblemished, like-new effect. If you’re passionate about your prestige car, a professional paint matching service is well worth the expense.

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Zeeshan

Writing has always been a big part of who I am. I love expressing my opinions in the form of written words and even though I may not be an expert in certain topics, I believe that I can form my words in ways that make the topic understandable to others.

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