Color Matching


how is the paint matched to my car's color?

We can match most colors using a combination of the factory color code,  color swatches and more recently a highly accurate digital dispensing machine.  This automated technology reduces human error and is the best system for color matching.  To find your paint code on your car use our paint code location guide.  Once you have confirmed the paint code, use our paint code database to select your color.  Many color codes have variants with slightly different formulations for the same code. This is a result of different  production lots and manufacturing locations.   The variants are typically very slight and for touch-up purposes, the difference to the human eye will not be discernable.  In the event your color is noticeably different, we will work with you to get a suitable color match.

What is the difference between Pearl and Metallic Paints

Metallic paint has a reflective glitter which is a result of the metallic flake shavings mixed into the paint. Pearl paint utilizes mica to give the car a subtle rainbow of colors. These tiny, man-made ceramic crystals reflect and refract light, which varies what colors you see depending on the angle at which you are viewing the car’s paint.

Does it work well on all colors?

Chips on most car colors are dramatically reduced or visually eliminated. Darker colors…Blacks, Browns, Blues, Red, Grays, Greens… tend to be easier to hide damage as the colors absorb light better which makes for an even better blended repair. 

Repairs on light silver and gold metallic colors also in most cases look much better with our process.  The lighter color silver and gold are naturally more reflective of sunlight which may draw the attention of your eye  to the perimeter of the chip which is more visible as it is slightly darker than the light colored paint.   Chips 3mm or larger will tend to be a little more noticeable. Sometimes with these colors and on larger chips, it’s better to use the small-tipped brush and apply a small amount of paint and leave it as is.

With lighter metallic colors the metallic flake in the formulating of the paint contributes to the shiny sparkling look of these color vehicles.  In the original painting of these metallic colored vehicles,  to achieve a uniform consistent look and to have the metallic flake lay properly on the panel,  a flop control agent is added to the spraying of these metallic paints.  When using the Dr. ColorChip kit on these colors, if you smear the paint in one direction it may appear to lighten and if you smear it back over the chip in the opposite direction it may darken.  This is the metallic flake flopping over from the dark side of the flake to the lighter polished side of the flake. The lighter side of the flake generally better matches the car’s original color.   

metallic paints and color matching

Most colors in the market today have some form of Metallic flake or Pearl tint in the formulation of the paint.  Nearly 85% of all colors are now considered to be a metallic or pearl color.  We work with these paints everyday both in our paint production warehouse and on car lots all over the World using our Commercial Paint systems. 

what is a tri-coat pearl paint and can you make them to match?

Tri-coat paints, also known as three stage paints or pearl coats, are automotive paint colors applied to a cars finish by applying three different coats. These three coats are called the basecoat, the mid-coat pearl (or pearl coat), and the clearcoat. Tri-coat paints add additional depth to the car’s finish and depending on the angle from which the car is viewed present different color hues.

Dr ColorChip offers the tri-coat paints in a single stage formulation to capture the color match of these beautiful colors in a single color application.  We have worked extensively on the many hundreds of different tri-coat pearls offered by the car manufacturers and have found the best way to address touching up stone chips on these cars is to create a color shade match in a single formulation that blends with the dynamic multiple color hues seen in the tri-coat pearl whites.  

    We have created hundreds of different tri-coat formulas and have tested each of these and modified them as we develop the color in a single stage paint that we feel will give our customers the best results on these unique colors.   The pearls in these paints will cause the paint to appear a bit darker shade in the bottle but when leveled and blended over the chips will create an impressive repair.  Many tri-coat colored car owners have in the past let the chips go unrepaired which in many cases leads to rust.  The option of applying the basecoat, the mid-coat and the clearcoat for touchup purposes does not create a good looking repair.  In most cases, its worse than looking at the bare chip.  However, you don’t want to leave the chip exposed as rust will set in fairly quickly.   Our single stage process works very well with most all tri-coat white pearl chip damage and provides an added layer of protection by creating a moisture barrier to future rust damage.  The pearl flake in the manufacturer’s spray process is applied on the second layer of the application and lies on top of the basecoat.  This allows the pearl flake to be seen.  This pearl is approximated in our formulation and when blended will be a close match to your tri-coat colored car.   

    Matching older cars paint prior to 1990's

    We maintain a vast collection of paint swatches that allow us to make cars dating back to the early 90’s. The color swatches allow us to make the paint and then test it against the swatch to ensure it is a good match.  Even on the colors prior to the early 90’s, our formulation database dates to the early 1930’s and we do have formulations on many of these older that in most cases allow us to make the color without a backup color swatch to test the color once made.     

    If on these older cars if we have a color sample that you can provide that is a good match, we have the tools in place to create the color to match the swatch.  

    While we can’t guarantee a color match without a sample, if you have the code, we can mix the paint according to the Factory paint formulation. We do, however, strongly recommend you try and get us a paint sample if possible.

    If we send out a color and you do not feel it is a good match or needs to be altered either darker or lighter, we will work with you to remake the color.   Sometimes all it takes is a photo of the paint we sent you applied to a small chip on the car and we can determine what needs to be altered to provide a better match.  

    For more information, see our FAQ on “Older Cars and Custom Color Matching”


    The factory color code for your vehicle is Required for purchase


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