>What is ‘flex additive’ and when should I use it?

Flex additive used to be used with paint for body parts that flexed (like bumpers) and could sustain an impact and had hollow spaces behind them. It allowed the paint to flex without such a big chance of cracking. But these days, the better quality paints are better formulated to not need flex additive. Note we sell premium quality paint – beware of the competition!

>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 (www.erapaints.com/how-to-use-touch-up-paint/) – you will find one 30-second video for each auto brand!, or
2) When you are selecting you paint from the ‘Start Here to Select Your Paint Code’ box, clicking on ‘FIND YOUR PAINT CODE’ will bring up an automobile graphic which indicates typical locations where paint codes are found.

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


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. First, you gotta fully CLEAN the underlying surface of dirt, wax, grease, human oils, etc etc 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, take some wax/grease remover or lacquer thinner & CLEAN’ER UP GOOD til you have a perfectly clean surface.

2. Second, ensure that the paint product will stick to the surface by roughing up the surface with sandpaper, scratch pad etc. Paint will not stick to a slick surface. PERIOD.

>Is it necessary to use clearcoat over basecoat?

ABSOLUTELY:  Clearcoat is a protectant and is very important for multiple reasons. First of all, the clearcoat actually creates a chemical bond with the base color that makes it chemical and weather resistant. Secondly it makes the paint shine. Without clearcoat, your paint will not be nearly as resilient as it should be or shine properly. Third, your paint may not match if you have not applied clearcoat. Typically paint without clearcoat can be dull and will appear to have a differenct (slightly lighter) color.

Without clearcoat you will not get the desired color, gloss or the protection that it provides.

>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 MONTHafter spraying or touching up. Wax, silicone, and oils may cause fisheye. Don’t worry, prep solvent is designed to chemically remove these contaminants. Alternatively, a liquid dish soap like Ivory or Joy will remove some of these paint contamination problems. Regular car soap often has a car wax so this product should not be used.

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

You should see both color CODES and color NAMES when you are selecting a paint code on our website.  If you don’t find what you are looking for, please email us at CustomerService@erapaints.com. We’ll help you out. Many times car manufacturers have a color with an individual color code, but have several names for it. For instance Toyota and Lexus share colors and color codes, but have different names for them. Oddly enough so does GM brands, Honda and Acura, Ford and its family of cars. Sometimes Isuzu shares codes with Honda, Nissan with Ford, Ford with Mazda, and so on.

>Can I thin out my touchup paint?

YES, you can 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 to much thinner though. In general you should only thin paint if it appears too thick to apply in a quality manner.

>What is blending?

Blending is the art of making a (paint) line disappear. The way to take two very similar colors and blend them into one is like an illusion. If you had a white piece of paper and black paint and you stopped painting in the center you would notice a gray area in the center. There would be no line and it would be impossible to tell where the black area started or stopped. Take a look at our videos to learn more about the technique of blending. BE SURE TO LET PAINT DRY COMPLETELY BEFORE CHECKING FOR COLOR MATCH.

>How long will the paint last on my vehicle?

It will last as long as your original paint if you care for it like your original paint. It will not wash off, or fade off over time. It is real paint, tested and designed to last.  We sell only high-quality American made paints.

>What is a tricoat color?

Tri-stage colors (known as tricoats) are special colors that require an additional step during application. Many pearl whites and some reds are tri-stages. Generally speaking tricoats are applied typically only to more expensive cars. They simply require that you apply a base color first, let it dry, and then apply mid-coat. Clearcoat gets applied after the mid-coat.

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

These 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 common problems trying to match original paint colors during auto body shop repairs. It turns out that one factory’s definition or formulation for ‘gray’ might be a little different from another’s, even though the same color is being used at both factories for the same car manufacturer.  These differences in paint color are called ‘alternates’ or ‘variations’. Obviously these alternates cause problems for us you when you attempt to match the ‘standard’ formulation, but in fact, your car (or the part of the car!!) you are attempting to paint has been painted with an alternate. Yes, if car parts come from different factories, it is quite possible to get parts with more than one color for the same code – you’d have to look closely to tell typically.

>How Much Spray Paint Do I Need for a particular job?

One spray paint can generally has enough paint to fully paint a 4ft X 4ft area (2 coats, blending etc).  What this means is that 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.

>1K Coating vs. 2K Coatings, Single Stage vs Two Stage Paint

There is often confusion and misuse of terms when it comes to describing automotive coatings. Not only do some people not know the difference between 1K and 2K paints, but some of us confuse single stage paints and two stage paints with 1K and 2K. Here are some brief definitions that we hope will dispel the confusion. We ONLY sell (as do almost all of our competitors) 1K Coatings.

1K Coatings – This is a term used to describe a coating that does not utilize a catalyst hardener. This term can be used to describe “single-component” paints that dry in the air (whether latex house paint, or old school lacquer) and nearly all aerosol spray can paints. The 1 Shot sign painters pinstriping paint we sell is 1K enamel.

2K Coatings – This describes a coating that needs to be mixed with a catalyst hardener. Once it hardens it is much less susceptible to damage from chemicals, weather, or UV rays.

Single Stage Paints – Used to describe a coating that does not require a clear topcoat (clearcoat). A single-stage coating can be 1K or 2K, with or without a catalyst, hardener or activator. Plus, a clear topcoat may be used in many cases for enhanced durability or depth. You can still get many nice finishes in single stage paints.

Two Stage Paints – Describes a coating system that requires both a basecoat and clearcoat. This is more commonly referred to as “basecoat/clearcoat”. Most basecoat/clearcoat systems are also 2K coatings, but not all of them are. The base coat provides the color and coverage, while the clearcoat provides all the gloss and protection.

>Dabbers, Pens or minibrushes for Touchup – Which is Better?

There are several different tools and methods which can be used to apply primer, touchup paint and clearcoat to scratches and chips on your vehicle. We have chosen a ‘dabber’ for our kits (as opposed to a brush or pen), as it works great as long as you know how to use it.

So here are some helpful hints: How to use: DO NOT use a dabber as a paint brush – you will destroy the tip and the fill-in scratch line will not be optimal. Instead gently dab a ‘dot’ of paint into the scratch (light dots/coats only!) in a ‘connect-the-dots’ technique (see our video on our website). Do not attempt to use the dabber to move paint inside the scratch – simply use many small ‘dots’. 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.

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

Can I assume that if a make 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 1/3 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.


>Do vehicle makes from the same manufacturers use the same color codes?

So we are often asked if, for example, 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!!!


>Does tree sap/pitch or bird droppings damage a vehicle’s paint?

In short, the answer is yes, tree sap will eat your paint for breakfast and come back for seconds, unless you clean it off right away with the proper cleaners. Bird droppings are even worse than sap because it’s pure acid and eats right through to expose the colored paint below the over gloss. Be wary of mainly evergreen trees, maples and oaks as they produce more sap than other trees and pines are also known to be particularly acidic.