There is a difference in the paint the manufacturers put on their new cars and the paints used in a repair. When factory robots paint a new car, it’s just a shell. There’s no interior, no tires, no wiring, so they can bake the finish at 300+ degrees. If we used the factory paint, we couldn’t bake it hot enough to dry. The car’s computers would start frying at 180 to 200 degrees, so we keep our spray booths down to about 140 degrees. So we can’t use factory paint! The autobody paint colors that we do get are every bit as good as far as fading and chemical resistance, but unfortunately they chip easier. The factory robots can put on paint at 3 millimeters thickness. Tommy’s painter – not a robot – might put 4 mls on one car and 5 mls on another. The thicker the paint, the easier it chips.
Paint comes in Base Coat (the color) and Clear Coat (over the base). Fifteen to twenty years ago, Europeans came out with the base coat/clear coat technology. We only have to put enough of the base coat color on to hide a primer spot. We do not have to put the color over the entire panel, but the clear always has to go to an edge. You cannot melt clear in, yet the insurance companies only want to pay for us to melt the clear in. We have the technology to melt it in, and it looks great! But in two to four years you’ll see a little white line where the failure is.
My paint rep told me, “Tommy, if you go ahead and melt that clear coat in, we’ll warranty it for you. It will fail, but chances are the customer will never see it.” This is a paint manufacturer! We have literature from almost every paint manufacturer, every car manufacturer that says not to melt in the clear coat, but the insurance companies still try and push it because painting is a very expensive part of auto repair. And when we paint, we have to de-trim – take off the moldings, the tail lights, the roof moldings, maybe take the sunroof out – so that costs a lot more money. The insurance companies just play the odds that the cheaper job will be fine, and the failure not noticed.
How Long Can You Expect A New Paint Job to Hold Up?
A lifetime. We don’t warranty that the paint won’t fade because the paint company warranties that for a lifetime and we pass that warranty on to the customer. But we do warranty that the paint won’t peel because we sand the car. If you go to auto paint and body shops and they don’t offer you a lifetime warranty on the autobody paint colors, don’t let them paint your car.