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How can I fix a color difference between two sections of my car??

A vehicle color mismatch is a noticeable difference between the original finish of the car and a repainted section. Mild cases of color mismatch may be corrected by blending the new color into adjacent areas. A severe case will require you to re-tint the color and repaint the repaired area.

In this article, I’ll answer common questions about how to prevent a color mismatch and eliminate it when it happens.

  • What is a color mismatch?
  • What causes a color mismatch?
  • How can I repair a color mismatch?
  • How do I prevent a color mismatch?

What is a color mismatch?

A color mismatch is when the topcoat of a repainted section or panel of your car is not precisely the same shade as the adjacent area when viewed under the same light

What causes a color mismatch?

A color mismatch can be caused by many things, including mistakes made when formulating or applying the finish. Here are some reasons colors end up not matching:

  • The original finish has changed from the manufacturer’s standard.
  • The old finish has weathered and oxidized.
  • The color is over or under-reduced.
  • The paint was sprayed on incorrectly.
  • The color has not been properly stirred or shaken. Check out our tips on properly stirring and shaking car paint and finishes.
  • The spray gun was not set up correctly. Check your manufacturer’s directions to find out how to do it right.
  • The wrong color formula was used.
  • The panel was painted without blending the color properly.
  • Selecting the new paint color wasn’t done under color-corrected or natural light.
  • The color was changed before it was sprayed on, or the basecoat was altered before the clearcoat was applied.

How can I repair a color mismatch?

If color mismatch occurs, it can be repaired in one of two ways, depending upon the severity of the mismatch:

  1. If the color is close enough to blend:
    • Prepare the adjacent panel(s) for blending.
    • Blend the color into the adjacent panels.
  2. If the color must be tinted:
    • Tint the color for a blendable match.
    • Prepare the adjacent panel or panels for blending, then…
    • Respray the repair, blending into the adjacent panel or panels

How do I prevent a color mismatch?

There are several ways to avoid color mismatching when painting your vehicle:

  • Check an alternate color selector for differences. Choose the variant that provides a blendable match.
  • Ensure all colors are being viewed under the same gloss finish. Compound or polish the all areas using the same products and technique.
  • Always thin or reduce products according to the directions on the label.
  • Follow the label directions to find out how to apply the color coat properly
  • Stir or shake materials thoroughly to ensure all pigments and metallics are properly mixed.
  • Check the product label or data sheet for the spray gun, fluid nozzle, and air cap to ensure you’re using them correctly.
  • Recheck the color code, formula number, and formula weights before mixing colors.

Doing these things will prevent distracting color mismatches on your automotive finish.