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7 expert tips for paint analysis


7 Expert Tips for Inspecting Car Paint Quality

1. Illuminate Your Inspection

When inspecting a car’s paint quality, proper lighting is crucial. Arm yourself with a high-quality LED lamp that is both strong and long. A good LED lamp will help you to see even the tiniest imperfections in the paintwork. Proper lighting is especially important when checking for things like paint bubbles, scratches, or other blemishes that can affect the car’s value.

2. Elevate Your View

A different perspective can make all the difference. If you have the opportunity, request a lift for the car you’re inspecting. By elevating the car, you can easily work with reflections and examine areas that are difficult to see at ground level, such as the undercarriage. This is particularly useful for spotting signs of rust or other damage that may be hidden from view when the car is on the ground.

3. Reflect on Reflections

Reflections can reveal a lot about a car’s paintwork. Pay attention to the reflections in the paint. Look for clear, consistent reflections across the surface. Bumps, an orange peel texture, or inconsistencies in the reflection may indicate a repaint job or repair work. Any deviations from a smooth, mirror-like reflection could be a sign that the car has been involved in an accident or has had some bodywork done.

4. Natural vs Artificial Light

Different lighting conditions can reveal different aspects of the paintwork. Inspect the car both indoors under artificial light and outdoors in natural light. Artificial light can sometimes make paint imperfections more apparent, but natural light will give you a better idea of the true color and overall appearance of the paint. Any discrepancies seen under these two lighting conditions can give you more information about the quality of the paint job.

5. Color Consistency

Keep an eye out for color variations between panels. If you notice that the front fender and door have slightly different shades, this could be a sign that one or both of the panels have been repainted. This is usually an indication of prior damage to the vehicle. If you find any color inconsistencies, be sure to inquire about the history of the car and whether it has been involved in any accidents.

6. Paint Thickness

Though a bit more advanced, measuring the paint’s thickness can provide more insight into its quality and the car’s history. Paint thickness gauges are available for this purpose and can reveal whether a car has been repainted. If the paint is significantly thicker on one panel than the others, it’s likely that the panel has been repainted, which could indicate previous damage. However, as this requires a special tool and can be a bit more involved, stay tuned for a more in-depth discussion on this topic.

7. Check for Overspray

Overspray is a common sign of a repaint job. Look around the edges of panels, inside the wheel wells, and in the door jambs for signs of paint that shouldn’t be there. If you find paint on rubber seals, plastic trim, or in areas where it shouldn’t be, it’s a clear indication of a repaint job. Be sure to ask the seller about any evidence of overspray you find.


A thorough inspection of a car’s paint can provide valuable information about the vehicle’s history and condition. By following these expert tips, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision about your potential purchase. For more in-depth information and expert tips contact us!


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