Getting to Know Your Vehicle’s Auto Body Paint

March 23, 2017 2:33 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Auto paint is more complex than meets the eye. Sure, your vehicle might be a sleek black color or have a vibrant yellow paint job, but the color is simply a stylistic preference. There’s actually a lot of science that goes into auto painting in Middletown, NJ to ensure your paint is as much a protective feature as it is an aesthetic one.

Your auto body paint is actually made up of four to six different layers, depending on the type of paint or the age of the vehicle. Older cars may not have an e-coat layer, for example, while newer luxury cars may have several layers of primer and basecoat. It’s not important to know how many layers make up your auto paint—it’s important to understand how they work together:

  • E-coat layer: This is the first coat of spray-on paint that is applied directly to the bare metal of your vehicle’s body. It’s cathodic, meaning it protects the metal beneath it from eroding and rusting.
  • Primer layer: This layer ensures an even, stable surface to paint on. Like the primer you might use for interior home painting, it also helps evenly distribute paint and improves adherence.
  • Basecoat layer: This is the thinnest layer of paint. It’s consistent with the actual color of your car and can be any number of hues. This is also where substrates are added for things like sparkle or sheen.
  • Clear coat layer: This is the topmost layer of your paint job and, as the name implies, is clear. It’s the protective layer that will keep your color rich by minimizing UV degradation and weathering over time.

Each layer of auto painting in Middletown, NJ plays an important role in how your vehicle looks when it’s finished. These layers complement and protect each other as well. When one suffers damage, it’s bound to affect the layer below it.

Let’s think about something like a scratch in your paint, for example. Small surface blemishes in the clear coat can be annoying and easily spotted. If they’re not resolved, they could result in damage to the basecoat—things like fading, bubbling or peeling in the paint. If the scratch is deeper, it could even affect the primer or e-coat layers, causing rusting if moisture infiltrates the scratch.

This is why scratches and gouges in your auto paint are so important to address. Sure, that mystery scratch in your clear coat might look annoying, but it’s also hazardous to the health of your auto body, given enough time and exposure.

How do you know if your scratch poses a problem and is more than just a cosmetic annoyance? Here are a few signs to look for:

  • Can you see multiple colors in the scratch, like the color of the basecoat, as well as the white primer?
  • Is the scratch thick, leaving room for the clear coat to become penetrated by water?
  • Can you see metal?

All of the above indicators are sure to follow through in auto body damage, one way or another. It’s best to take care of these scratches earlier, to save yourself the potential for rust remediation, costly panel repair and more. To learn more about auto body painting in Middletown, NJ, contact Lentz Auto Body today.

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