Needs and Uses for Color Match Technology
Isn’t it strange how the way our vehicles look can sometimes be virtually more important to us than taking care of our own appearance? After all, your car or truck often is what provides people with their first impression of you. When its once gleaming exterior gets scratched, dinged or dented, it can almost feel like someone is ripping your heart out. Fortunately, touch up paint can come to the rescue. Aided by its secret weapon, color match technology, it is the cosmetic solution that can make that unsightly damage a distant memory.
The Root Of The Problem
As you stand before your once-lovely automobile surveying its marred surface, you might be asking yourself how this could possibly have happened. After all, you spend a great deal of energy maintaining your car inside and out, vacuuming, polishing, washing and waxing with an almost religious fervor. The truth is that even if you only do the gentlest driving on well-maintained city roads, you simply cannot avoid the combined effects of nature and road conditions.
Here are just a few factors and conditions that can do visible damage to your vehicle’s paint:
- Driving through construction sites. Whether it’s on a rural road or a highway work zone, gravel can fly up under your tires and do some serious harm to your paint job.
- Dead bugs. These guys aren’t just ugly and disgusting; they’re very acidic. Acid means corrosion, and that’s bad for paint.
- Rain. Trust us, rain is not usually as clean or pure as those romantic movies might suggest. It is often loaded with pollutants that can do damage over time.
- Spilled drinks. How often have you left your coffee cup on your car, not realizing it was there until you slammed the door and it spilled all over the paint? If you don’t wipe the mess off quickly, it could work its way into your paint’s surface.
- Bird poop. There is nothing pretty about this disgusting substance, including the long-term damage it will do to your exterior.
- Road salt. When winter comes, you just can’t get away from this substance that is used to melt ice and snow and make driving safer. However, at the same time it is protecting your car in one way, it may be corroding your paint. Even though it seems rather silly to get your car washed regularly in the winter, be sure to keep it clean and salt-free.
The deadly summer duo: sun and sprinklers. It might seem harmless when your car gets sprayed by the droplets intended to water someone’s lawn, but they have a tendency to stick to your car and get permanently burned into your paint by the mercilessly hot sun.
- Hail. It might be rare, but just a minute or two of these icy pellets during a storm can leave a lasting mark on your vehicle that requires some serious rejuvenation to your finish.
Anyone of these elements can literally make a dent in your car’s gleaming surface. Combine them and add in the wear and tear of everyday driving, and the question is not if you will ever need to take steps to retouch your vehicle’s exterior but when.
Touch Up Paint
Of course, you could take your car to a professional body shop to have the work done. If the damage is major, that is actually your best bet. However, you can usually do most minor to moderate exterior maintenance tasks on your own as long as you have the time and a sheltered place to do the work. Another advantage of this DIY approach is that you can accomplish your tasks on your own time. By contrast, body shops often take several days from start to finish. Finally, the price to have a specially trained craftsman take on this relatively minor chore is significant.
Touch-up paint is a product designed specifically for a vehicle owner like you who wants to make professional-looking repairs at home. Whether you need to fix those annoying tiny scratches and dings from gravel or more significant gashes that may have come from someone banging your vehicle with their door, touch-up paint can meet your needs. The secret lies in the different ways it can be applied as well as on the color match technology that we will discuss shortly.
Types Of Application
As you might imagine, you would approach a tiny scratch differently than you would address correcting damage to a wide swath of space on your car. Fortunately, there are solutions for virtually any touch-up paint job.
- The touch-up pen is perfect for those small, pencil eraser-sized dings and dents that come from stones and gravel. Use the test card that comes with the product to practice applying the paint. As a result, you will get a feel for how to correctly dab – not draw – the paint onto your vehicle. You can use any extra blobs of color that drop onto the card once your coat is complete if you need to fill in any unpainted areas. At all costs, resist the urge to scratch the paint on as you might write with a pen.
- Think of the paint jar as similar to a bottle of nail polish. The jar’s lid contains a brush that is ideal for painting over larger, quarter-sized scratches. As is the case with the pen, use the provided test card to get a feel for how to spread the paint evenly with the brush. Expect to put on several coats before the job is done.
- Aerosol paint. While the pen and the jar are great for smaller, more detailed jobs, aerosol touch up paint should be used for larger tasks such as repainting an entire panel or section of bodywork. Practicing ahead of time is essential so that you can get your technique down pat before you undertake the actual task. Use the test card or a large piece of cardboard for this purpose. Once you feel confident in your technique, apply several light coats to the affected area, employing a back-and-forth motion. Be sure to start about a half an inch before the section begins and the same distance after it ends in order to get consistent edges. Be sure to read and follow all of the instructions on the product for best results.
Getting The Ideal Shade
Now that you have examined the damage and determined whether you will be using a pen, a jar or an aerosol to fix it, you are probably wondering how you will possibly obtain just the right color. Don’t worry; you won’t need to rely on your eyesight and long-forgotten knowledge from that freshman art class to ensure that you pick the exact hue. Since matching your touch up paint precisely to the color of the rest of your vehicle is crucial, modern innovation has come to the rescue in the form of color match technology.
The first thing to understand is that automakers come up with a set of standards for all colors that are used on their cars and trucks. These are sent to paint manufacturers who then develop the products as specified. However, there can be subtle differences in color from year to year and even from one paint manufacturing plant to another.
To address these variations as well as the changes in color that can happen to a vehicle with time and sunlight, paint technicians often use a camera with built-in paint formula detection. This allows the paint color on your car to be matched back to its original code. When you find the color you believe matches most precisely, it is important to purchase only premium paint and to gradually blend the new paint with the old with a careful spraying pattern at the proper angle.
While the experts at a body shop can help you to find the perfect color for those big jobs, you don’t need to rely on them for a high-quality DIY exterior repair for your car or truck. That’s because companies such as TouchUpDirect take the advantages of color match technology and let you find your vehicle’s factor shade from the comfort of your home. All you need to do is to input your car’s year, make, model and color code. (The color code can usually be found either on the driver’s side door jam or near the VIN number in the windshield.) Once you find your factory color, simply decide which type of kit you need, and place the order. Should you find that the color is not an exact match, TouchUpDirect will assist you in getting exactly what you need. To activate the guarantee, you must do the following:
- Prove that you are using the correct color code.
- Confirm that you followed all instructions and used the test card as directed.
- Verify that your vehicle still has the original factory finish and has not been repainted with something else.
- Use photographic evidence to show that the paint color is not a match.
Because TouchUpDirect stakes their reputation on their high-quality, perfectly matched products and applicators, they will work with you until you are totally satisfied with the results.
Now that you know more about the ways that dings and scratches occur as well as how to fix them, we hope that driving becomes an even more pleasurable experience for you. Your vehicle may be your pride and joy, but life happens, and so does damage. A little loving care and attention can keep your car or truck looking its best for many years to come.