Commercial vehicles spend lots of time on the road. Eventually you're bound to get into a fender bender that requires a visit to your auto body repair shop. Part of making your rig look just like new is making sure the new paint perfectly matches what's already on the rig. The following are three factors that help make this task possible.
Vehicle Paint Color Codes
When Henry Ford started mass producing his Model T, and later his trucks, your one color choice was black. In the modern world there are thousands of colors with each vehicle manufacturing company creating their own patented shades. It is no longer feasible for an auto body technician to accurately match your rig's shade without using the make, model year and color code.
Color codes are noted on an identification plate somewhere on your vehicle. Common places, especially on larger vehicles, include the end panel just inside the driver door and on the windshield near the VIN, or vehicle identification number. If you're getting your truck fixed at the commercial fleet repair shop that normally takes care of your vehicles, it's likely they have your color code on file, particularly if it's an aftermarket shade.
Mixing and Matching Process
Once the technician has the color code, the shade is matched with a color finder. This is similar to those paint strips you see in hardware stores, but often found grouped and sorted online. The auto repair technician enters the color code, which brings up the correct mixing formula.
Some body shops may still mix by hand. The technician follows the formula and then puts the mixture on a paint mixing machine. This shakes the can until the colors are thoroughly blended. If the paint looks right the technician does a test spray and then tweaks it if need be.
Larger body shops, especially those doing fleet repairs, usually use a computer program to mix the paint. The vehicle data and color code are entered and the paint formula is measured and blended automatically.
The Color Fade Factor
Even the computer paint codes can't account for color fade. Vehicle paint fades over time from exposure to sun, rain, road salt and detergents. For example, if your fleet color is a bold red, the color code reflects the shade applied at the factory. Chances are, despite the protective topcoat and frequent waxing, that red may have faded. Sometimes this can be corrected on the computer, at others it's up to the technician to eyeball the situation. The best auto body technicians are part artist, part mechanic and they do have the final say.
For more information, contact a business such as Florida Truck & Trailer CO.
Making sure that your ride looks good is almost as important it is to ensure that it drives well. After all, the way your car looks says something about how well you take care of it. If there are dings in the body or chips in the paint, chances are that your vehicle's eye appeal leaves something to be desired. Luckily, there are some things you can do at home to make your car look better so that you don't have to pay an auto shop to do everything for you. Sure, you can let your service technician take care of all the heavy lifting for you, but consider using the tips and tricks found on this blog to take care of some of the minor stuff yourself.