A new paint job is a delicate beast, and everybody loves a good one. Today’s body shops are seeing a higher intake volume, and their production schedules are filling up fast. Ours is no different. The industry has had to adapt to the fast paced environment we live in, and through that we’ve seen a change in the way we paint our vehicles. Auto body shops simply cannot wait 90 days for paint to dry prior to washing cars anymore, so we’ve seen a vast influx of quicker drying paints on the market to keep repair times down.
There are numerous different brands and types of paint on the market for auto body. The four most common types of paint used on vehicles are lacquer, urethane, enamel and water-based.
· Lacquer: This paint is rarely seen on vehicles these days due to how easily it chips. It was typically found on vehicles made between 1920-1960. This paint is high-gloss and easy to apply, but does not adhere well and will not last as long as desired.
· Urethane: This paint is highly toxic, but is effective and easy to use creating beautiful paint jobs. It combines the smooth coverage of lacquer and the hard chipfree abilities of enamel to make an effective and beautiful paint. This is a more expensive option, but by far one of the prettiest ones on the market.
· Enamel: This is a hard bake on paint. It is what is most commonly used in most body shops. The paint lasts much longer than lacquer, and is applied in two coats, a base coat and a top clear coat.
· Water-based: Our preferred method of painting a vehicle is using water-based paint. It is much better for the environment, and much easier on our technicians. Instead of using solvents to suspend the pigment in the paint, it uses water. This paint is not as strong as enamel, so it typically requires an acrylic clear coat to protect it scratches and UV damage.
One of the most common questions we hear in this business is “how long do I need to wait to wash my vehicle?” Due to the various different types of paint on the market, an easy rule of thumb would be to assume that you do not have lacquer paint on your vehicle, provided it’s newer than 1960. That being said, you can wash your car immediately after driving it off the lot, though it is not recommended. Remember to always wash your vehicle in the shade, and to use soft terry towels and sponges without abrasive edges to ensure that your paint job stays nice and pristine for longer. If you accidentally scrape up your vehicle, remember we’re just a phone call away!