I-CAR: How matte finishes affect the repair plan 

June 18, 2024

Automotive coatings continue to be an ever-evolving aspect of vehicles. In the beginning, it was only about corrosion protection and not appearance. Now, colour has become a significant factor in vehicle sales, driving OEMs to offer their vehicle lineup the latest and greatest finishes. Matte finishes, in particular, have been increasingly popular and mainstream in recent years. 

However, as more mass-produced vehicles offer matte finishes, the challenges and questions about how to return these vehicles to their original appearance also increase. 

Matte finishes require a different repair approach than a typical gloss finish. One driving factor is the inability to repair minor defects, such as dirt nibs. Before you begin, there are many aspects to consider, such as the repair location, the gloss of the repair, and the underlying colour. Once the correct colour has been determined—which is based on the manufacturer’s paint code—the colour must be confirmed. 

A technique for choosing the best colour is selecting a small area in the area that needs to be refinished, and wet sanding and buffing to reveal the underlying colour. A test panel should be completed to confirm the colour with the desired matte clearcoat gloss level. Many paint makers offer mixing instructions for gloss ranges with corresponding chips to help in this selection. When making a test panel, follow dry times, solvent selection, and other requirements following the paint maker’s technical data sheets. 

There are numerous variables to remember when repairing a vehicle with matte finishes. Here are some considerations: 

  • The application process 
  • Not being able to blend 
  • Not being able to buff the clearcoat 

The repair area and shape of the vehicle may require more significant areas to be refinished since blending or buffing will not be possible. The preparation process is essential for a defect-free repair. Paint booth cleanliness, vehicle cleanliness, and airline maintenance are necessary to avoid unrepairable defects. 

Matte finishes on vehicles are here to stay. Collision repair facilities will continually be challenged to be proactive in repair planning and meticulously clean throughout the work area. To learn more about refinish courses, visit the I-CAR Canada catalogue


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