Automotive Touch Up Paint FAQs

This page is a general guide for how to order paint for your vehicle and how to start your project.  We want to help you become knowledgeable about your vehicle and how the DIY touch up paint process works! If this touch up paint FAQs page does not answer all of your questions be sure to give us a call at 971-770-2372 or email us at CustomerService@erapaints.com.

Help with Ordering your Touch Up Paint FAQs

>Where can I find color code information on my car?

This can be difficult information to locate!  We have two aids to help:
1) Go to our ‘HOW TO FIND YOUR PAINT CODE’ videos on our YouTube Channel ‘ERA Paints’ – you will find one 30-second video for each auto brand!
2) When you are selecting your paint from the ‘CLICK HERE TO SELECT PAINT CODE’ box, clicking on ‘Paint Code Location Info’ will bring up an automobile graphic which indicates typical locations where paint codes are found for each brand.

3) Still can’t find your paint code? Give us a call at 971-770-2372 or email us at CustomerService@erapaints.com or you can contact your local dealership and they can provide you with the paint code utilizing your VIN number.

>I don’t see my paint on the website

Some car paint can be challenging to match, but there are times when we can work with our paint lab to find it.  If your car is older than 1994, we’ve found that matching colors may be very difficult due to sun damage, fading etc.  Also, your paint also might be a tri-coat, unfortunately, we do not make tri-coats as they are very specialized paints and can be very difficult to match and apply.  If you do have a tri-coat or your vehicle is older than 1994, give us a call at 971-770-2372 or email us at CustomerService@erapaints.com and we can try to give you more information/help you find a substitute or your paint code if you can’t find it.

>A paint code has multiple descriptions, are they all the same paint code?

Can I assume that if a make/model has a color code which has two different descriptions associated with is that the paint code is the same for both descriptions?

Yes, they are the same. Maybe 30% of codes have multiple names. For example, Toyota paint code 781 has two descriptions: Frosty Green Mica and Sea Glass Pearl. Nissan KAD has two descriptions: Gun Metallic and Graphite Shadow Metallic.

>I need to order paint for my car by color NAME.

We do not recommend using the color name to order your paint. Different manufacturers may use the same name (Gecko Green is used by Jeep, Volkswagen & Volvo but all three are different paints with different formulas).  A word may be missed when searching (Shimmering Silver Metallic is very different from Shimmering Air Silver Metallic). To ensure the best color match, find the code on your vehicle using our how to videos on our YouTube channel  or select your paint from the ‘CLICK HERE TO SELECT PAINT CODE’ box, clicking on ‘Paint Code Location Info’ will bring up an automobile graphic which indicates typical locations where paint codes are found for each brand.

If you cannot find what you are looking for, please email us at CustomerService@erapaints.com or call us at 971-770-2372 and we will be happy to assist you.

>Do manufacturers use the same color codes for different makes?

We are often asked if a Ford paint code is the same paint color as a Lincoln paint code. YES, it is common for manufacturers to share colors across multiple makes.

For example, Mopar (Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth/Jeep) paint code PS5 (Silverstone Metallic) is available for a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a Chrysler Sebring.

So, if you don’t find your Lincoln paint code, try Ford!!!

Common car companies with multiple makes:

Ford Motor Company: Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda

Chrysler Corporation: Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Fiat, Plymouth

General Motors: Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer

Volkswagen: Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche

Toyota: Toyota, Lexus

Honda: Honda, Acura

Hyundai: Hyundai, Kia

Nissan: Nissan, Infiniti

>What are ‘Alternate Paint Color Variations’ or ‘Alternate Colors’?

Car parts are manufactured and painted in different factories and when assembled the same paint code can show variations. Alternates are color codes which are very close to the original paint code, but not quite the same. Paint manufacturers formulate these alternative color codes when their research uncovers problems with matching original paint colors during auto body shop repairs. The differences in paint color are called ‘alternates’ or ‘variations’. These alternates can cause problems if using the ‘standard’ formulation to match an alternative paint.  There is no way to identify that you have alternate paint until you try to match it.

>How much Touch Up Paint do I need for a particular job?

Our touch up products are designed for small rock chips and scratches in a vehicles paint.  One vial of touch up paint should be plenty for 30-40 rock chips or enough for a 48 inch long scratch.

>How much Spray Paint do I need for a particular job?

One can of spray paint generally has enough paint to fully cover a 4ft X 4ft area (2 coats, blending etc) for example: one can will typically be enough to fully paint a door or a small fender. Two spray paint cans are generally required to repaint a bumper, entire hood, quarter panel, roof or larger fenders.  Furthermore, for more information, check out our How-To videos on our YouTube Channel: ERA Paints.

Now you know the ins and outs of getting your Touch Up Paint, if you want help applying your paint, read the continued FAQs below!

Help with the Touch Up Paint Application Process FAQs

>What’s the biggest success factor for DIY paint application success?

PREP, PREP, PREP!!!

Paint (basecoat) will not bubble, curdle, blemish, fish-eye or anything else if the underlying surface has been prepped correctly. So, in order to prep a surface, you need to do at least 2 things:

  1. Fully clean the underlying surface of dirt, wax, grease, human oils, etc. If you don’t properly clean the surface, you are going to encounter an ‘oil and water’ situation – the surface and the paint are going to fight with each other. So, if you are working over a panel that’s already on the car, get some soapy (dishwater detergent) warm water & wash off the mud etc. Then for the wax buildup, sticky tree sap & any other type of gunk, use ERA Paints wax/grease remover and clean the surface until you have a perfectly clean surface.
  2. Ensure that the paint product will stick to the surface by roughing up the surface with some fine-grit sandpaper, paint will not stick to a slick surface. After roughing the surface, be sure to fully clean the area once again. Purchase one of our Basic or Pro-Prep Kits to properly prepare your project for paint.
  3. With each purchase you will receive a very detailed Spray or Touch Up instruction guide to help you with your paint application.

>Is it necessary to use clearcoat over basecoat paint?

Absolutely, whether it is a Touch Up or Spray paint project, clear coat is a protectant and is very important for multiple reasons.

  1. Your paint may not match if you have not applied clear coat. Typically paint without clear coat will be dull and will appear to have a different, slightly lighter color.
  2. The clear coat creates a chemical bond with the base coat that makes it weather and damage resistant.
  3. It makes the paint shine; without clear coat your paint will not have the level of gloss that it should.

>What is blending?

Blending is the art of making a paint line disappear i.e. taking two very similar colors and blending them into the illusion of one. Take a look at our video on blending to learn more about the technique. Be sure to let the paint job dry completely before checking for the final color match. This is done after blending and clearcoat application.

>Dabbers, Pens or mini-brushes for Touch Up – Which is Better?

There are different tools and methods which can be used to apply Primer, Touch Up paint and Clearcoat to scratches and chips on your vehicle. We have chosen a ‘dabber’ for our kits as we have found it to produce the best results with repairing small dings and scratches.

Helpful hints: DO NOT use a dabber as a paint brush – you will destroy the tip and the touch up job will not be optimal. Instead gently dab a ‘dot’ of paint into the scratch in a ‘pointillism’ technique (see our YouTube video). Do not attempt to use the dabber to move paint inside the scratch – simply use many small ‘dots’. Furthermore, your results will look better if you have patience and take your time filling in scratches or chips.

Note: that these dabbers can be cleaned & reused – just use a little paint thinner or mineral spirits to completely clean the paint out of them.  You can also remove the dabber tips to apply smaller amounts of paint. Be sure to clean the area after removing the tip to remove any contaminants.

>Can I thin out my Touch Up Paint?

YES, you can use any sort of a ‘reducer’ such as a couple of drops of paint thinner. You can use a toothpick or something similar to mix. Be careful to not add too much thinner though. In general, you should only thin paint if it appears too thick to apply in a quality manner.

>1K Coating vs. 2K Coatings

1K Coatings – Is a coating that does not utilize a catalyst hardener. This is “single-component” paint that dries in the air. Nearly all aerosol spray can paints are 1K.

2K Coatings – Describes a coating that requires mixing with a catalyst hardener.  Therefore, it can be very challenging to apply outside an auto body shop.

ERA Paints offers 1K coatings for all your DIY projects.

>Should I wax my car before or after applying Spray or Touch Up Paint?

NO! In fact, you should remove wax before applying paint and wait at least one month after spraying or touching up to put wax back on. Wax, silicone and oils may cause fisheye, but don’t worry, our wax and grease remover is designed to chemically remove these contaminants. We suggest the wax and grease remover is applied according to our supplied instructions.

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