Car Paint Types
Automobile Maintenance

Choosing the Best Car Paint Types

Henry Ford once famously said that “any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it’s black.”

Thankfully, these days this no longer holds true. You can buy cars in almost any color imaginable and if you can’t find the exact color you want, you can always have your car painted.

If you’re thinking about painting your car, you’ll need to know a little about the different car paint types.

Read on as we take a look at the different options available to you.

Types of Car Paint Finishes

Car paint comes in a huge range of colors, but it also comes in a variety of different finishes. The finish will have a big impact on the final appearance of your car. Let’s take a look at some of your options.

Solid Car Paint

Solid paint is the most affordable option and also the most common.

It’s the type of paint you typically see on most car paint jobs. One of the benefits of solid car paint is that it’s easy to match so any scratches can be easily repaired without too much effort. If you’re looking for affordable car paint and you’re not overly worried about making your car look as smart as possible, then solid car paint is, well, a solid option.

Metallic Car Paint

If you’re looking for a more visually appealing car paint style then metallic paint is a good option.

This paint includes aluminum powder that reflects light and gives metallic paint its sparkling sheen. The reflective qualities of metallic paint also help to hide any minor scratches or dings. On the downside, you won’t have the same range of color options as you can get with solid car paint.

Metallic paint is also harder to match than solid paint, so if you need any major paintwork done, it can be a challenge to find the right color. One option, in this case, is to consider car paint correction to remove scratches and swirls. You can learn more about car paint correction here.

Pearlescent Car Paint

Pearlescent car paint works in a similar way to metallic paint but uses ceramic crystals rather than aluminum powder. Not only do these crystals reflect light but they also refract it too. It means that pearlescent car paint can appear to be different colors when viewed from different angles. It’s a stunning effect that can really make your car stand out.

This type of paint is understandably more expensive. It’s also very hard to find a match for any repairs.

Matte Car Paint

Matte paint is a relatively new car paint style that is growing in popularity.

Just like with matte wall paint, matte car paint has a non-reflective look that is the total opposite of traditional high-gloss finishes. It’s a very different look that will make your car stand out from the crowd.

The downside is that if you damage this paint, it can be a real problem to fix. Most paint repair methods are intended for glossy finishes so just won’t work with matte paint.

Types of Car Paint

Now we’ve taken a look at the different types of paint finishes, it’s time to take a look at the types of paint themselves. There are a number of options. The more you know, the easier it will be to choose the best car paint for your needs.

Acrylic Lacquer

Acrylic lacquer was the first type of car paint, first introduced in the 1920s. It continued to be the most popular form of car paint for several decades, thanks to its ease of application and low cost.

Acrylic lacquer paint contains high levels of volatile organic compounds or VOCs. Due to the impact on air quality and links with breathing problems, some states have banned the use of acrylic lacquer paints. Acrylic lacquer is also known to fade relatively quickly.


Urethane paint is one of the most long-lasting types of paint.

It is resistant to chips and scratches and is also less likely to fade than some other paint types. It’s a fast-drying paint and you can usually paint it directly over the top of other types of paint. Once urethane is in place, however, you can’t paint over it with lacquer.

Due to its toughness and versatility, urethane can be more expensive than some of the other paints on this list. It’s also quite tricky to work with, so we recommend hiring a professional to do the job.

Acrylic Urethane

If you’re looking for the best of both worlds then acrylic urethane could be a good option.

It’s long-lasting, like urethane paint, but also easy to apply like a lacquer. However, unlike acrylic lacquer, it’s legal to use in all states due to the lower levels of VOCs. It can be tricky to work with, as it needs to be applied as soon as it’s mixed.

Acrylic Enamel

Acrylic enamel gives your entire car a tough coating, just like the enamel in your teeth.

It’s a long-lasting paint that will protect your car from scratches, but it’s not easy to apply. You’ll need a professional to do this as they have the equipment required to bake the coating onto your car for an even longer-lasting job.

Now You Know More About Car Paint Types

We hope that this article has given you some insight into car paint types. Now you can make the best choice when choosing paint for your car.

With many of the products in this article, it’s advisable to get the job done by a professional; some of the paints can be challenging to work with and you could end up making your car look worse rather than better. A professional will also be able to advise you on how to look after your paintwork, too.

For more useful content on cars and beyond, be sure to check out the rest of the site.