Car paint is basically paint applied to cars for decoration and protection purposes. It is available in two basic varieties – water or oil-based, and solvent-based. Water-based paints dry faster than oil paints. They are also easier to clean up. But they have their disadvantages.
Oil-based auto paint is the most commonly used paint, for reasons including the lower environmental impact, saving on labor and eliminating the need for bicarbonate or silicon additives that are sometimes used to extend the durability of a finished surface. The only disadvantage is that they do not provide an excellent finish, especially if you are using a matte or low gloss finish. Water-based car paints are a more recent innovation, having first been introduced about 25 years ago. The concept was to improve upon the conventional two-stage process by which the water dries and then the urethane or polyurethane is cured. The result is a durable, consistent finish.
Both types of paint have distinct advantages. For example, automotive paints can protect the vehicle from the ravages of weather. They can also enhance its appearance. However, there are differences in the kind of protection provided by each type of paint.
For vehicles that have a clear coat, a popular option is water or oil-based clear coat. A clear coat gives a glossy, shinny look to the vehicle, but it can be susceptible to fading, chipping, and cracking. Therefore, some clear coat systems use urethane, which is prone to abrasion and does not always provide a high-gloss finish.
The difference between the two types of paint is often determined by the use of an automotive solvent system. Solvent-based clear coats are applied with a brush or can even be applied by spraying the material onto the surface of the vehicle. A primer coat, on the other hand, must be applied before the urethane-based clear coat. Primer coat ensures that the vehicle’s finish stays intact.
Another type of finish is called a body shop paint. Body shop paint comes in several different finishes, and it can be used to cover small imperfections on the exterior. A body shop finish may be thicker than the clear coat or it may be very thin. It is used to fill in small scratches, chips, and dents on the vehicle.
While all three types of paint have advantages, the clear coat and the water-based paints are the most popular in North American automobiles. Both types of paint to provide excellent adhesion and durability as well as appealing natural colors. Clear coat systems and lacquer paint are most often used to protect the finish on bumpers, grilles, and wheels, but they can be used to protect any part of the vehicle’s exterior. Many auto body shops use automotive paint to repair small chips, dings, and blemishes on the body of a car or truck.
Most auto body shops apply automotive paint with either a brush or roller. However, there are some who use spray guns to apply the finish. The roller application of a thin coat of paint is more time-consuming, but it provides a smooth and consistent finish. Many mechanics prefer using the brush because it provides more control over the flow of the paint and it usually comes with small airless nozzles that eliminate bubbles from the paint spray. Auto body shops must use special air pressure equipment to apply enamel paint or latex primer to a painted surface, which can be expensive.