Best Paint Finishes

rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
has the consistently best paint finishes?


  • rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    I have noticed that Pontiac and particularly GP's have an appearance of very good paint. Lots of shine. But, compare a black GP to a new Impala and you'll see the appearance isn't the same. Since I just clayed and waxed my wife's Lumina I noticed the paint was not smooth. Had kind of a grainy appearance (orange peel). Most cars have this to some degree, just more noticeable on GM. Ford paints have come a long way. The Contour/Mystique have very nice finishes. Since the auto show season is on I can't wait until the D.C. show to do some comparisons again.
  • pblevinepblevine Member Posts: 858
    'Just to open a can of worms:

    I have a '98 Honda Accord EX V6 Coupe which I love. Its a wonderful car, and I've had no (as in Zero) defects including those listed in postings on this forum. Or so I thought.

    Being that I wanted to protect the finish and have a great shine, I used the Zaino line of products (ie: Z1, Z2, etc.). And the results were great. But then I noticed a slight problem on the front hood (only). If you really look closely at the hood on a very bright day while wearing polariod type sun glasses (to cut through the Zaino shine), there are several places which look slightly darker. They seem to follow the curves in the hood. Its not the Zaino which is absolutely clear. And it (upon really close examination) appears to be below the clearcoat. My only conclusion is that Honda spread the original coat of emerald green paint somewhat uneven fashion.
  • pblevinepblevine Member Posts: 858
    (We just had to reboot our server)..

    That should have been 'in a somewhat uneven fashion'. I'm not real angry because 99% of you (ie: critical observers) will not be able to spot the slight differences. But I know it there, and that brings Honda down a few notches in my estimation. So, I'll disagree with your original statement that Honda's paint quality is the best.
    Now we can rant and rave! :)
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    I'm just looking for the holy grail of whose is best. I have noticed over the years that some paints respond better to wax/polish than others. Since I haven't owned everything yet I'm just curious what others think.
  • vivonavivona Member Posts: 410
    I owned an 87 Galant that stayed outside in the hot sun everyday and in 12 years the paint never aged. It would wax up with Nu Finish and look great for about a year. If I didn't get around to waxing it, it would look a bit dirty (it was white) but one wax job and it would look like new again. It looked as good the day I traded it in as the day I bought it new. I now have a 99 Diamante and it has a wonderful clearcoat silver metallic. My wife has an 89 Galant, white, that is now 11 years old and it still looks new.

    That got me to thinking, and noticing, that I can't remember ever seeing a Mitsubishi with a bad paint job. None of that clearcoat delamination that was so prevalent in the early 80's. No fading, no orange peel, no color mismatch between steel and plastic parts. So I put my vote in for Mitsubishi as having great paint jobs.

    Mr. Vivona
  • graphicguygraphicguy Edmunds Poster EmeritusMember Posts: 13,024
    ...and the worms are jumping out.

    I do think that paint and application technology has come a long way over the past 10...even the last 3-5 years.

    I've noticed a big difference comparing paint finishes from the '93 BMW 3 series that I had to a '99 Toyota that my wife has and '00 Pontiac that I have.

    I'm very careful and critical taking care of my cars. I had blemishes on the BMW right off the show room floor that my wife's '95 Accord did not have. That said, we had a lot more orange peel on the Accord than the '00.

    I feel that this is more brought on by the advances that paint companies and manufacturers have made.

    When we were looking to buy new cars (it seems my wife and I both go well over 100K miles on our cars in the same year) we together looked at many different brands. Those included Acura TLs, BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 & 6, Chrysler 300M, Honda Accord, Nissan Maxima, Lexus 300, Infiniti I30 and VW Passat. I couldn't tell any significant difference in any of the finishes on any car we looked at compared to the ones we bought (an Avalon for my wife and a Grand Prix for me)...again, I was very critical, too.
    Differences were mainly limited to the newer pearl coats (which all looked pretty cool) and those were usually extra cost options since it involved a paint that is more difficult to apply or involved an extra paint step. My wife ended up with a pearl coat on her Avalon.

    As far as GM is concerned, any of their cars that have been redesigned in the last 3 years, all seem to have better finishes.
    2021 Acura TLX A-Spec-Platinum White Pearl
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    My observation w/GM is it depends on the make of the vehicle. Pontiac has done a lot to make their paint look a lot better. Chevy is not quite there and I think Chevy's tend to show their wear worse than others. Just my experience but I keep buying them because the price is right. My toyotas over the years have always seemed to have a tough and durable paint, but just not the gloss of other paints. Maybe it was my wax jobs. I tend to agree w/Vivona that I can't remember a Mitsi' with a bad paint job, but I have no long term experience with them.

    Just as an aside, do others look at the specific paint job on their vehicle before purchasing?
  • sable93sable93 Member Posts: 107
    I would if I was paying $20,000 for a car. When I bought my '93 Sable back in March '99, I looked the car over very carefully for paint blemishes.

    BTW - The paint finish on my '93 Sable is very good. I think the paint jobs on the really new Ford products is wonderful. They look very glossy and high quality.
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    I had a '96 Contour and agree that the paint jobs coming out on Fords are very good. The Contour even held up to automatic carwashes pretty well. Even though I didn't get to care for it as well as I would like, it held up as a daily driver.
  • butch11butch11 Member Posts: 153
    Have got a 72 VW bus (had it since mile 1). Years ago in SF an idiot in front of me hit reverse and backed into the front of the van. Had to get it repainted by expert-big mistake. Did some research and found out a lot about paint. Seems as though if you really want good paint-you must use a catalyzed paint. Spent the bucks on a air compressor and Sata paint gun and a charcoal filter paint mask and something called DuPont Centari car paint. Well that was 7 years ago and the paint finish is fantastic. The stuff is really tough. It is the same type of paint used to paint air liners and all UPS trucks. It is much more difficult to use because the vapors off it contain cyanide and will kill if enoug is inhaled.

    Some over the road trucks offer this as an option-wonder if any automakers will ever offer this type of paint.
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    The biggest problem I see with new cars is the amount of orange peel in the paint. When you look close you can see how the finish really resembles the surface of an orange peel. Darker colors are easier to see, but I also see a lot in silvers and light golds. Saw a Lincoln LS (new on lot) yesterday that was absolutely horrific. I know of no way to make this look smoother, but wish I did. Butch11, did the Centari paint have this effect? The most frequent defect I've found has been a very small dark "splotch" that looks like a bird dropping stain, but is actually in the paint. Usually you feel a slight pinpoint bump in the paint in the center of the stain. Even claying/polishing doesn't effect it so it just must be a speck of dust in the paint booth and this causes the paint to darken around it.
  • tomf9tomf9 Member Posts: 3
    If you look closely you can see paint color differances in most manufacturer paint jobs. Sherwin william will look differant fom PPG on the same car. And the metal will look a few shades off always, even if most people cant see it body techs(me)do. Some paint jobs lay out better than others, so even if you get your car fixed check into what paint they use.
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    Attended the Washington DC Auto Show last week. After looking at every manufacturer my vote for best paint goes to Audi. Of the cars on the floor (including MB and BMW) these were the most consistent and showed the least amount of orange peel. The black A6 2.7 was especially nice. Acura was second and the rest pretty much tied for 3d.
  • floridianfloridian Member Posts: 219
    I have a close relative that is a tec specialist for PPG. According to him virtually ALL cars you see at the various shows are specially prepped for the shows and do not reflect what you can expect on production cars. He spends many hours working with the various manufacturers preparing show cars and insuring that they have "picture perfect" finishes for the show circuit. Much to expensive to do for high volume units. We have seen great strides in the paint quality of just a few years ago across the board. Some of the least costly cars now have what would have been considered "show quality" finishes just a few years ago. Mainly what I'm saying is DON'T buy a car and expect it to have a finish as good as what you saw at a particular show, it most likely will not measure up to that.

  • rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    The Washington show is almost all production cars with a few exceptions. The comparison I made is for production cars. Heck, they weren't even clayed. Just normal delivery prep.
  • bobbybebobbybe Member Posts: 7
    Residing in Pittsburgh, PA our annual car-show in
    February does not warrant special factory show-models. In fact, 3 or 4 years ago an Oldsmobile dealership was bold enough to display
    car with the trunk lid mounted not exactly square
    to the rest of the body. The crowd had a good
    laugh when the salesman approached me and I made
    this observation vocal although you would have to
    be blind to miss it.

    I do agree about the show-car theory. I was at the "World of Motion" in Disney World back in the
    late 80's or early 90's and I can guarantee you'ld
    never find a GM in a showroom that looked like
    those beauties.
  • butch11butch11 Member Posts: 153
    Painted an old honda with cheap paint and a cheap siphon gun-the car was a complete orange peel-a lot of the problem was cheap gun, not enough air and poor paint-the commercial auto paint store guy told me this was the paint used by most pro shops-it was the cheapest available.

    Then bought a Sata (paint resovoir on top) gun, and used DuPont Centari-what a difference. This paint is [email protected] 150-200/gallon and you have to wear an approved mask-it used an isocyanate to harden the paint. But the results are spectacular. I would bet most auto body shops will not even use this type of paint. When I repaint the rest of my VW van I will use this paint. Will call a few body shops to see if they even offer to paint vehicles with this type of paint. Shame it is not an option on high end autos.
  • floridianfloridian Member Posts: 219
    bobbybe: right you are about those GM cars @ EPCOT (Disney). I ordered a 1984 Fiero based on the one on display there, boy, what a disappointment. My car had to have been assembled on a different planet. Nothing fit, the paint was terrible and you probably know about the jillion recalls on those things. It finally burned to the ground and I was mercifully released from my torment by the insurance company.

  • bobbybebobbybe Member Posts: 7
    We paid another visit to EPCOT 2 or 3 years ago.
    I think GM removed their show-cars from display there. A decade ago GM was giving out videos
    of their cars that were on display. I will have to watch it again for a good laugh.
    There had to be 100 people placing their hands
    on the body of the cars at the end of the ride
    yet not one smear or scratch did I see on the
    finish. Perhaps they were a special
    General Motors Porcelain Limited Edition.
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    Anybody seen the Subaru Outback sedan commercial. Wonder what they did to that car? On TV it looks mighty good.
  • daschtickdaschtick Member Posts: 63
    I agree that GM's paint looks a lot better than it did years ago, but I still question it's durability. Everyday, I see Grand AMs, Bonnevilles, Berrettas, and other 5+ year old GM cars with the paint peeling off I have also noticed this problem on some Fords too.
    In contrast, I can't say that I've ever seen a BMW with the paint peeling off. I understand that the BMW's cost twice as these domestic cars, but there is no reason why the paint should just peal off, no matter how neglected.
    In my garage I have 2 Honda products, a CRX, and a Legend. Although the finish on the Legend appears to be much 'thicker', deeper, and glossier to that of my CRX, neither paint looks faded or deteriorated.
    Also, in respect to paint 'thickness', I believe that this is where a paint job can really excel. BMW used to say "..22 pounds of paint used on every car..", and I believe it! That paint looks so deep and glossy, with absolutely no hint of orange peel. The paint on my Legend is very similar to this. Then I park my Acura next to my buddys Dodge Ram; '...22 pounds of paint used in one factory in 1999.."; His truck is orange peel heaven. It looks like I tried to paint it with a can of Krylon!
    I know that most cars will not have a BMW paint job, but I do believe that the paint should stay on the car and resist fading, even if neglected. A neglected paint job should just look dirty, and dull, but should be able to be restored.
    By the way, I'm a Meguiar's Medallion man myself. I hand wash my cars weekly (my CRX has seen an automatic wash only twice in 9 years!), and wax every 3 months (even through the winter). My neighbor's all think I'm crazy.
  • boltguyboltguy Member Posts: 94
    Every newer VW I come across, I find myself rubbernecking to look at the paint. They have a very deep, rich looking paint along with a glassy thick, wet look. I don't know if it's the paint or the clearcoat or maybe even a polish they apply afterwards, but it is really stunning. I would have thought everyone would have noticed their paint quality, it stands out so much.

  • rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    I too, think that VW/Audi have some of the best factory finishes today. They have a very high gloss, but I've also noted that most seem to have a lot of swirl marks. Maybe its the care given, or maybe it shows more on the finish, or maybe it is a "softer" paint, but has more luster.

    For comparison, a guy has a Rolls-Royce in the parking garage of my building. It's white and it is like looking at milk. As smooth a surface as I've ever seen. By contrast, a brand new Toyota Avalon showed up and it is like looking at an orange peel with a coat of mop&glo on top. There also seems to be quite a bit of variance based on colors of the same models and manufacturers. Wonder what the quality control is?
  • gujaguja Member Posts: 1
    I am considering buying a Honda Accord EX V6 and would like to have the black model. I am not too fond of the other choices (white, dark green, silver and gold). A friend says that black gets too hot in the sun. I live in D.C., w/o a garage. Does a black car get that hot and is it bearable? D.C doesn't approve of any kind of tint if that would help any. Thanks for any suggestions.
  • pblevinepblevine Member Posts: 858
    I've got a '98 Accord Coupe EX V6 in dark Emerald Green. It looks black in the mid day sun. Dark colors will absorb more heat than light colors. Period. And yes, you can sense it. Is it bearable? YES, with A/C you'll not be affected inside the car. Just don't lie down on the hood.
  • garthgarth Member Posts: 66
    will make the body panels hotter, not the interior.

    dark INTERIOR colors will make the interior of the car hotter.

    i think the placebo effect is strong here...

    look into window tinting; this can be a great help if you have to leave your car out in the sun.
  • karluvverkarluvver Member Posts: 10
    You don't want a thick paint. It will have a tendency to crack eventually. The total paint thickness should not be over .008".
  • bigfurbigfur Member Posts: 649
    One of the biggest things about black cars is that they show everything. Every scratch ding dent and speck of dirt. Also hardest to get to look good again if you may have an accident.
    Auto Body Tech
  • hollywood11hollywood11 Member Posts: 4
    Hey guys, looking for an unbiased opinion: just bought a brand new 2000
    Honda which of course has a clear coat finish. Apparently, the garage
    was parked in at the dealer was painted and there were many light, very
    tiny white dots of paint that had misted on to the car from the paint
    spray. I was reluctnat to accept the car, but the dealer said they
    be detailed off -- however, now I find out that they had to send it to
    body shop to be wet sanded. They say it looks perfect; but I'm upset
    about the situation (the salesman was supposed to call me before doing
    anything like this). I can not imagine how the clear coat would
    withstand "wetsanding" of any form. Should I ask them to put another
    layer of clear coat on that half of the car? (Is that even possible?) I
    am at the point where I do not want to accept the car because of this.
    The dealer says they will put a "free" sealant on it and that doing so
    will return the car to normal. I've always heard that these sealants
    are a waste of money; moreover, can a sealant truly replace a sanded
    clear coat? Am I overreacting? Do you have an expert there on this
    stuff or similar experiences. Need help ASAP. Thanks!
  • rykeronerykerone Member Posts: 7
    I would definitely take the car back to the dealer. I know that clearcoat does not last for ever, but wet sand to remove the paint. Put some fine sand on your finger, and rub them. Pretty abrasive don't you think. I am not sure if they can put clear coat aftermarket.

    What is free sealent....I know they tried to sell me the stuff on my ODY when I bought it in Az. They said it was the desert package preotection. Try paying 295 for a sealeant. I found out that they took it and got a wax job. Never paid for the sealant.

    Just purchased a new 2000 Sentra, and they tried to sell me a Paint Sealant. Got the song and dance on why I should but it from them. it will protect the paint. Well, it is till on thecar and I got it for free. Again, they paid someone to wash and wax the car.

    No you are not over reacting. ars are expensive. That is why I go over the car with a fine tooth comb before I pay for it, and tell thme the problems. At times, they have given me a substantial discount....
  • roadkeeperroadkeeper Member Posts: 1
    Griotts and other wax manufacturers sell a paint cleaning clay which work great. It even took epoxy
    paint that made the finish on my car feel like 80
    grit sandpaper.Works great on glass and mirrors
    without scratching.
    I would bring a trusted body guy to check the paint out.If it's ok let the dealer give you a better deal.
  • brucec35brucec35 Member Posts: 246
    I have a biarritz Blue '97 540i that we purchased used. The previous owner didn't exactly baby the paint. There are countless tiny rock chips and the general finish has swirls and minute scratches. It looks fine at a distance, and there are no obvious scratches, but we really wanted a Black model anyway.

    My questions: What does it cost to get a quality paint job on a car like this? Will the results be satisfactory long term? We'd like to keep this car till the wheels fall off. We got it for thousands less than most out there because of the relatively less desireable color and paint condition. So we have some cash available for paint work.
  • joe166joe166 Member Posts: 401
    It will absolutely diminish the value of your car if you have a full repaint of it. First, they will never take off ALL the trim so there will be parts of the car with the original paint color. The lower quality places will skimp on the door jambs, the better places will probably draw the line at the inside of the hood or trunk, the best places will probably not take off the door panels or some other item. Anyway, you will clearly have had a repaint and when you go to sell your car and the purchasing dealer will automatically assume that you did that for a reason involving a major accident, no matter what you say and lower the price accordingly. You can get a paint job equal to (or almost equal to) a factory paint job, but it is most expensive. I would assume in my area that they would charge a couple of thousand dollars for that. I think you should seriously consider it and discuss it with a couple of quality custom paint shops. Look for places that specialize in show cars and ask their opinion. If you can patch and touch up, it is much better in the long run. I have done both. On one of my cars I had the paint stripped and hand rubbed lacquer put on. It turned out great. On a recent car they just repainted it over the factory paint as the dealer had botched a match job on a Seville Pearl White. That one looked pretty good, but ended up costing me a couple of thousand dollars at trade in time. Your choice, but be careful.
  • rgwflyrgwfly Member Posts: 6
    I Have an older second car I would like to have painted at econo or a facto bake shop. does anyone here had any experience with this. I do no want to spend a lot of money, I just want to make it look better. I am going to give this car to a niece in a year as her first car and would like to clean it up for her. It is a 1988 Mazda 929 "Great Car"
  • dianne331dianne331 Member Posts: 16
    How true! My red 1991 Mazda Protege's paint was fading on the roof. I got the car repainted and when I went to trade it in the guy said, "Well it has a full body paint job." He gave me HALF of the value Edmunds said I should get for it. BUT, on the other hand, the guy at the body shop continues to sing the praises of this paint he used. NOTHING can touch that paint. I will have to find out what kind he used.
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