Informational Guide

Different Types Of Car Paint Explained

Our guide evaluates the different variations of car paint colors to help you decide which is best for your vehicle.

If your vehicle is ready for an upgrade, you might be curious about tinting the windows or even looking at the different types of car paint on the market.

With so many types of car paint colors, how could you possibly pick the best one? Our guide evaluates the different types of car paint colors and helps you answer - what type of paint is on my car? 

Even though there are numerous options as you search the type of paint used on cars, all of them contain many of the same properties. These main properties are cover capacity, or adhesiveness, denseness, elasticity, and hardness. The denseness is variable based on the binder and pigment amount. Hardness and elasticity are also affected by these components. 

Adhesiveness relates to how well the paint sticks to the surface. Automotive paint needs to adhere to metal, fiberglass, and plastic parts, unlike paint you would use at your home on wood. Your car paint must also protect the body from debris, such as rocks and dirt that get kicked up on the road.  

Main Properties Of Car Paint

Car Paint Composition & Components 

  • Pigment   
    The pigment is a powder-like substance that creates the color and tone of the automotive paint. It is a decorative element but also improves the strength of the coating. Pigments can have special effects, such as metallic or chameleon.  
  • Binder   
    The binder is responsible for fastening the paint materials, offering its adhesive ability. The binder holds the pigment to form a smooth surface when the painting is complete. Any varnish or paint will contain some level of binders.  
  • Filming Agent 
    This component is often natural but could be synthetic in some cases. Some of the top options include vegetable oils to create the film. A synthetic filming agent could be a resin.  
  • Filler   
    The filler controls the density and volume of the automotive paint. Fillers are normally white or contain a mild colored powder, typically made from mica, chalk, talc, gypsum, or kaolin. Some fillers are also used to improve the heat resistance of the paint.  
  • Additives   
    Additives change the property of the paint. For example, plasticizers can be used to enhance elasticity, or antioxidants can reduce aging. Flame retardants are used to create more fire resistance, while other additives can help absorb UV rays. You can also find additives that improve bottling, prevent a surface film from forming, or prevent the pigment from precipitating.  
  • Solvent  
    Solvents are used when viscosity needs to be reduced. These organic liquids can be ethers, alcohols, ketones, or hydrocarbons. Sometimes, the solvents are a mixture of multiple products. It's the solvent's responsibility to keep the paint in liquid form.  
Car Paint Composition & Components

Most Common Types Of Car Paint 

The types of car paint coating can vary based on what material it is made from. Here are some of the most common types of paint jobs on cars, with the pros and cons of each.  


Urethane might be one of the most popular when looking at different types of paint jobs on cars, but this paint does have some downsides too.  


  • Longest-lasting 
  • Good alternative to lacquer 
  • Dries quickly 
  • Resists chipping and wear 


  • More expensive 
  • Not recommended for DIY paint jobs 
  • Illegal in some states 

Acrylic Enamel 

Acrylic enamel creates a shell cover to the vehicle, making it another ideal option in some cases.  


  • Long-lasting 
  • Single layer if base and clearcoat are mixed together 
  • Optimal protection for the vehicle 


  • Two-stage enamel is more complicated 
  • Not recommended for DIY paint jobs 
  • Must bake into car for perfect application 

Acrylic Lacquer 

This is the original car paint, used for many decades, but it may not always be the best option.  


  • Some of the easiest to apply 
  • High gloss finish 
  • Less expensive 


  • Fades quickly, especially when exposed to UV light 
  • Illegal in some states 

Acrylic Urethane 

A newer option is acrylic urethane, but this option isn’t ideal in every situation either.  


  • Newly created option making it more advanced 
  • Easy to apply 
  • Long-lasting and durable 
  • Isn’t illegal anywhere 


  • Dries quickly because of added catalysts 

Types Of Car Paint Finishes 

What types of paint are used on cars? We look at the top types of paint finishes on cars. From this list, you can determine which of the different kinds of car paint finishes might be right for you.  

Matte Finish 

Matte paints have become popular recently. These paint jobs will cost you more, and maintenance of the colors can be more challenging. If you attempt to buff paint off the car because of a scratch or ding, you could end up with a glossy spot that is glaringly different from the rest of the paint finish. Unless you have an abundance to spend on another paint job down the road, this option should be avoided.  

Metallic Finish 

Have you ever seen those different types of car paint jobs that seem to sparkle? These are usually created with metallic paint finishes. With aluminum powder included, the paint catches the sun's rays to create a unique shine. This is a great paint choice if you want to cover scratches or minor dings, but it can be more expensive. You will also have limited color options.  

Solid Paint Finish 

The least expensive types of car paint jobs use solid paint finishes. It’s also an easy to repair option if you are worried about the different types of car paint damage. The color will be easy to match, and most scratches can be hidden with it. However, it’s hard to do anything really exciting with a solid paint color. If you hope to create different types of car paint styles, the solid paint won’t work for you.  

Pearlescent Finish 

These paints have many of the same properties as the metallic finish. The big difference is that aluminum powder isn’t used. Instead, the formula contains mica or ceramic crystals. It gives off the appearance of a rainbow because the crystals reflect and refract the light. It’s the perfect choice if you want a dazzling display from any angle.  

Types Of Car Paint Finishes

5 Most Popular Car Paint Colors 

Which color is easier to maintain, and which color shows damage more visibly? We look at the most popular types of car paint styles. 

  • White   
    There are many types of white color car paint, such as Super Bright White, Flesh, Bone, Arctic White, and Vanilla Milkshake. White car paint is known for hiding dirt well and is one of the most popular options. It will also make the vehicle look larger and keeps the car cabin cooler, which is vital in warmer climates.  
  • Silver 
    The popular types of silver car paint include Modern Steel Metallic, Granite Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, Bruiser Gray, Silver Ice Metallic, and Nightfall Gray Metallic. Luxury cars are often chosen in silver, and you might see a higher residual value on your vehicle with a silver shade.  
  • Black   
    Black car paint is available in many varieties, such as Jet Black, Black Pearl, Phantom Black, and Black Metallic. The black car enhances the curves the best, creating better aesthetics overall. The vehicle will appear to be sleeker than it actually is, but it will absorb more heat, which is bad news for leather seats.  
  • Blue  
    Some different types of blue car paint include Blue Skies, Hydro Blue Pearl, and Arctic Blue Metallic. With these types of blue car paint, you can create a calming and friendly atmosphere. It's also a good choice if you are looking to retain the resale value. Plus, blue is common among exhibitors at auto shows.  
  • Maroon   
    Maroon might not be as popular, but it still has value, especially as a Burgundy Sunset, Maroon Rose Metallic, or similar color. These deeper hues are ideal for luxury vehicles and often help to portray a more opulent aesthetic. It’s the perfect choice to show off sophistication.  

Choosing The Best Paint Color For Your Car (What To Consider) 

If you are wondering what type of paint is the car paint for you, there are several aspects to consider. First, think about what color you like. You will be driving this car every day, so it doesn’t make sense to be stuck with something that is unappealing to you.  

You should also consider the resale value of the vehicle based on the color choice. If you choose something odd or unusual, you might have a harder time selling it, and the value might be lower than you expected. 

Finally, if you are simply trying to repair a small portion of the vehicle, it’s important that you stick to the factory color. Otherwise, your paint job will look strange.  

Choosing The Best Paint Color

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What type of spray gun is used to paint a car?  

It’s important to consider what type of spray gun to paint a car if you want a professional-looking job. With the best automotive paint gun, you can restore the beauty of your vehicle. Ideally, you should find one with a large container size, plenty of hose length, and from a decent brand.  

How much is a typical paint job for a car? 

A typical paint job could cost between $300 and $900. However, the price depends on the size of your vehicle and what type of paint you are using. Consider learning how to paint your car yourself to save some money.  

Can I paint over old car paint? 

No, at a bare minimum, you should sand down the paint. If you don't, the finish won't be right, and you could have struggles with adhesion. Plus, the paint isn't going to last as long when applied over another finish.  

Can you paint a car with spray paint? 

You can use an automotive spray paint in a can. However, you must be careful with the application. Trying to get spray paint off of a car can prove to be quite difficult. Evaluate the different types of spray paint for cars before deciding which one might work best. 

How many coats of paint does a car need? 

You will need to apply a primer to the vehicle first. Then, the car should take about two to three coats. Make sure each coat completely dries before adding another one. In the end, you will need to apply a clear coat for protection.  


Now that we’ve discussed the various types of car paint, it’s time for you to choose the best for your vehicle. Upgrade the style or cover up some flaws when you pick the best option.