Here at Oswalt Collision we believe that vehicle repair is an art and we take great pride in our work. Color matching the paint on your vehicle is both an art and exacting science. Auto manufacturers apply paint to the bare shell of the vehicle in ovens where the temperatures exceed 190-degrees Fahrenheit. This is because the auto manufacturers paint the car before any of the wiring, electronics, hardware, or interiors are assembled into the vehicle. In the collision repair business, the paint can only be dried at temperatures up to 180-degrees—any hotter and damage will be done to the car’s mechanical, electrical, and interior systems. In addition, all auto manufacturers use an electronically applied “E-coat” primer that is applied to the bare vehicle unibody or sheet metal—this is an immersion process in a liquid, electrically charged solution that is impossible to duplicate in the repair industry.
Finally, the colors used by auto manufacturers may vary widely on the same models painted with the same color. Variations in shading and coloring depend on if your car was painted at the front end or tail end of an assembly line run of paint. Most new cars today are also painted with “two coat” or “tri-coat” paint processes—where mica, pearl, and metallic materials are applied sequentially in the factory finish. These finishes often vary in appearance based on the angle from which they are viewed. For example, a green metallic paint can appear “teal-colored” when looking at a straight or flat surface such as a hood, but nearly “black” when looking at a rounded surface such as a fender.
All of these factors make paint mixing, tinting, and blending in the collision repair process even more critical. To properly repair a minor dent of several square inches an entire panel may need to painted and the adjacent panels may need to be blended in order to achieve a precise color match. At Oswalt Collision Center, we use computer-controlled sensing devices that provide the refinish technician with a precise formula to match the paint color on a vehicle.