If you have a scratch or damage on your car, finding the right paint color to touch it up is crucial if you want your car to look brand new again. Vehicle paints are usually categorized and labeled by a code. You can find this code on your vehicle or identify it by running a search with your VIN number.
So, let’s go through all of the steps so that you can find the perfect paint for your car. I’ll teach you how to use your VIN to find your car’s color code, and I’ll also teach you another way to find your car’s paint color. Let’s get started.
1. Find Your Car’s VIN
If you want to use your VIN to find your car’s paint code, you first have to find it.
You can find your vehicle identification number (VIN) on a sticker in your car, which is usually on your dashboard, but it might be somewhere else. You can also find it on documents that pertain to your vehicle.
So, what’s a VIN, and how can you use it to find the perfect paint color? Well, I’m glad you asked.
What Is a VIN?
Your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is basically your car’s fingerprint. It helps distinguish your car from other vehicles and helps people identify your vehicle as belonging to you. VINs have seventeen characters, including numbers and letters.
Where to Look for Your VIN
On most cars, you’ll find the VIN on the windshield close to the dashboard. The quickest way to find this sticker is by standing in front of the vehicle and looking for it.
However, the VIN is not always on the windshield and may be located somewhere else. Other places you can find it include:
- A tag on your dashboard.
- The driver door jamb.
- The passenger seat sun visor.
- Inside the glove box.
- The spare tire wheel well.
- On the hood of the car.
If you can’t find the VIN on your vehicle, you may be able to find it in documents like your vehicle title, repair information, purchase documents, insurance documents, and vehicle registration.
Once you find it, take a picture or write the number down.
You may also want to read: Can Sharing the VIN Reveal Any Personal Information?
2. Call Your Local Car Dealership
When trying to match paint with a specific car, calling a specialist is always an excellent idea.
A car dealership can identify your car’s paint name and paint code with a VIN, giving you the most accurate color match.
Let’s talk about how you can get your paint code and why it matters for your paint job.
What Is a Paint Color Code?
When identifying your car’s original paint color, the most crucial information you’ll need is the car’s color code.
Paint color codes are usually three to six characters long and are made up of a combination of letters and numbers. They indicate the color and shade of each vehicle’s paint and also include information about the type of finish that the paint has.
Color codes are much more accurate than paint names such as “clover green” or “chromatic silver.” That’s because the numbers and letters indicate the exact shade of the paint, while the name only denotes the base color.
Additionally, some companies reuse colors but update them every year, making them darker or lighter or adding new pigments.
For example, a color named “jet black” might be darker or lighter depending on the year the car was manufactured. A car manufacturer updates the color code whenever these minor changes are made, but they won’t change the name.
So you should always go by the code on your car if you want the perfect match.
How Can a Dealership Use the VIN to Find My Car’s Paint Code?
Most car dealerships can find the original paint color of your car just by running a search with the VIN. Since your vehicle’s VIN is unique, car manufacturers and retailers can retrieve a lot of information with its help, including your paint code.
To find out what your car paint color code is using your VIN, call a dealership specializing in your make of car and ask them to run a search. They should be able to help you figure out what the color code and color name for your vehicle are.
Make sure to record the code and color name accurately to ensure that your new paint matches your old coat perfectly.
3. Find the Right Paint
Now that you have your car’s paint name and color code, you can start to search for the correct paint. There are plenty of places to look, but I always recommend buying your paint in person to prevent mishaps or mistakes.
You can find the paint that matches your car’s code by going to a dealership, body shop, or auto repair store.
Although tons of paint matching options are available over the internet, I don’t recommend ordering the paint online unless you have matched it to your car in person.
Buying Paint From a Dealership
You can get touch-up paint from your local car dealership, and I generally recommend this option the most since a dealership is best equipped to match the color perfectly. Most dealerships have plenty of old paint codes on record for their vehicles, so always check first with them to ensure that you get the best paint for your car.
Also, it’s easy to get a dealership to resolve the issue and correct the mistake if the paint doesn’t work since they’re devoted to customer service.
Buying Paint From a Body Shop or Auto Repair Shop
Another option is going to a body shop or auto repair store to purchase the paint on your own.
If you’re touching up the paint on your own, be sure to test the color before you purchase it. You can ask an attendant or clerk to help you match your car to its paint if you’re unsure what will work best for you.
Ask them to make a swatch for you or see if they have any paint swatches on hand. Put the paint swatch sample on your car to ensure it looks the same as your original color.
That way, you won’t have to worry about mislabeled or inferior paint after applying it to your car.
Related: Best Paint Sealants That Will Give You Long-Lasting Results
Another Way to Identify Your Car’s Paint Color Code
Most vehicles have the paint code listed on them for ease of access.
Although the paint color code might be on your vehicle identification sticker, it’s more likely to be on the vehicle information sticker. This sticker has all of the manufacturer’s information and a barcode that helps the makers keep track of when they made the car and all of the specifications required for maintenance.
Where you can find the vehicle information sticker depends on the make and model of your car. While it can be challenging to find the sticker if you don’t know where your maker regularly puts it, most manufacturers use a standard location to make locating it easier.
You can use this helpful guide to find the vehicle information sticker based on the make of your car:
|Manufacturer||Where to Find The Vehicle Information Sticker|
|Ford||Driver’s side door or doorjamb|
|Toyota||Driver’s side door jamb|
|Nissan||Engine Compartment, under the hood, firewall, driver’s door edge, driver’s door jamb, or door Pillar|
|Chevrolet||Glove box, driver’s side door jamb, trunk lid, under the driver’s seat, rear of the central console, spare tire wheel well, on the trunk floor under the carpet, or passenger sun visor|
|Honda||Driver’s side doorjamb|
|Hyundai||Driver’s side door jamb, door pillar, door edge, or the center of the firewall|
|Jeep||Driver’s side door jamb, on the firewall, under the driver seat, or on the front of the radiator|
|Lexus||Driver’s side doorjamb|
|Subaru||On the hood lid, on the driver side doorjamb|
|Buick||Glove box, trunk lid, spare tire cover, or the left rear storage compartment in the backseat door|
Once you’ve found the sticker, you can start looking for the paint color code.
To find your car’s paint color code, look at the VIN sticker or the vehicle information sticker. Usually, you’ll find the paint color code marked with the letters “BC,” “CC, “C,” or “TR” on the vehicle information sticker.
Finding your color code using the manufacturer’s vehicle information sticker is the most reliable way to find your paint color. You should ideally try this method before using the VIN.
Finding the right color for your car’s paint touch-up doesn’t have to be complicated. You can either use the VIN or the vehicle information sticker to find the perfect shade that matches your vehicle’s original color. So, no matter what color your car is, there’s always a way to ensure your car gets the flawless finish that you – and it – deserve.
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