Auto Body Paint

Different types of auto body paint

There are many types of auto body paint, and several components to any paint job. Once any bodywork on your car is completed, your choice of paint is the next most important thing. There are a number of obvious reasons why this is the case, of course, the primary one of those being that your choice of paint colour is what determines how the car will look. Do you go for something fairly low-key, and functional, or perhaps attempt to catch the eye? If you're being ambitious, you might want to get a colour specially mixed, which really makes your car stand out on the road. There's also the option of using more than one colour. If you're getting a whole auto body paint job done, these are all options, if you can afford them! Of course, the key thing is to understand your options. Let's look at the different types of auto body paint.

Primer is the first layer, which is applied to an unpainted surface. It has two roles- it provides a good base for the topcoat, which allows the colours to show through, and it also protects the substrate of the car from corrosion, either from the elements or any properties of the topcoat.

Next is the main coat of paint, or basecoat. This is the system that gives the car its colour. There are various types of basecoat, and manufacturers are always blending new materials and mixes to create new effects and looks. It would take more space than we have here to list all the different types, but we will list the three main types; gloss, metallic, or pearl.

Gloss is the most basic- a smooth, basic colour that will go well onto bodywork nicely and evenly, and when lacquered will shine from a car's surface, to a differing degree. It is the cheapest type of basecoat, and is fine in itself.

Metallic is the next step up in terms of complexity, and simply means that the paint itself has a mixture of fine metal particles within it, which adds a slight sparkle to the finish. How much it sparkles varies with how much metal is in the solution. It is worth noting that metallic paint is not often much more expensive, as the amount of metal contained in it is actually quite small.

The next category of finish is Pearl, or Mica. This is a slightly more sophisticated form of pigmentation, which doesn't just reflect light directly, it changes the light as it reflects it. This adds an interesting sheen, and does cost a little more.

The last category of auto body paint is the lacquer, or clearcoat. This is a pigment-free coat, which goes over the top of the previous layers, and in most cases adds nothing more than shine to the paint job. It is simply the last protective coat that one applies to the car, and it is designed to enhance the paint job below. It is functional, above all else.

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