When you take your vehicle to an auto body and paint shop to fix a repair, there may be some repainting that’s required, too. In order for it to look seamless, the new application needs to perfectly match the original color. Since every car brand uses custom colors and shades, how do auto body and paint shops achieve this? Read on to find out how an auto body shop can create the perfect color match, every time.

Color Swatches

Of course, one way to match paint color is through color swatches. Most high-quality auto repair and paint shops have a collection of paint swatches to help them match auto paint colors. It all comes down to choosing the closest shade in the swatch guide. Each one of these colors is assigned a color code. This also helps the auto painting technician identify which paints in their stock are good candidates for an exact match. The process takes time and experience to complete.

When a color is matched using the paint swatch samples, a test strip is sprayed using card stock. This can be dried and placed against the vehicle that needs painting. If this match is perfect, the color is then sprayed on the repaired spot.


In recent years, spectrophotometers have come into prominent use. This is a tool that measures and matches colors using a computerized process. It measures paint colors based on how it sees color spectrums. This can take the guesswork out of manually choosing chip colors from paint swatch collections. But it may still require the watchful eye of the painter to add metallic elements that cause shimmer.

This tool is a nice gadget that some shops may utilize to speed up the process of choosing the right color. It always comes down to mixing samples that are then matched against the original color. This is mainly because the paint color will slightly change once it’s fully dried.

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You might think that all auto primers are gray, but they are not identical. The slight variations of gray can also affect the color that’s applied over it. Knowing the exact shade of primer to use is one more point that will affect the level of precision in auto color paint matching. Some painters don’t consider this issue and work around the problem with further corrections. Either way, the primer color plays a part in matching the correct auto paint.

An Expert Eye

Color blending is an art form in itself, so every painter uses all their senses and experience in determining which colors to use. The final result has everything to do with layering techniques. This can be due to how auto paint reacts to light and where the color is being matched on the vehicle. Blending paint over an area that cannot be stripped is one of the hardest things to accomplish.

An expert eye is especially important when matching the final shine of the paint’s finish. Matching older cars, for instance, that has been washed for many years is a skill in itself, as an older finish will show a difference in gloss or sheen.


Some auto paint has added flakes and metal powders that make it reflective. If a painter isn’t sure which additives to add to the paint mixture, the color won’t match. How the light is reflected will affect the final look of the color.

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Choose The Best

When it comes to dents and visible repairs, choose the best auto body and paint shop. At California Collision, our expert technicians will restore your car to its original condition. We use the latest color matching technology to ensure a perfect match, every time. Contact us today for a free estimate.