What Colour is My Car?

Unless you bought your car new from the factory, you may not know the exact colour of your car. Within this article, we breakdown the various methods of finding the colour code and other details of the paintwork of your car.

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Whether you are painting a new body panel or covering up a large scratch, the most common question that crops up is “What colour is my car”. If you end up painting it the wrong colour, you would have wasted hours of your own time.

From just looking at your car, it’s fairly easy to state the colour i.e. black. However, there are several different types of black paint types, which may include:

  • Jet black
  • Panther black
  • Matt black
  • Satin black
  • Manufacturer-specific black
  • … and much more

How to Find The Exact Colour of Your Car

By far the easiest way to find the colour of your car is by calling up the dealership with your VIN number. The VIN number will be located on your log book/V5, under the bonnet or on the dashboard. The dealership will then be able to run the number in their master database and provide you with the exact colour code.

If you would prefer to avoid calling the dealership, there are many places within the car where it may be found. These locations include under the bonnet, inside the spare wheel well or glove box and the frame of the driver’s door.

In terms of the colour code, they are usually between 3 to 10 characters long. For example, “2MWEWWA” is a Ford Magnum Grey and “LZ9Z” is Audi’s Panther Black.

What Type of Paint is Used on Cars?

To confuse things even further, there are several different types of automotive paint. Below are the four most common paint types that are found on cars sold in the UK.

Solid paint is by far the most simple of paint types that usually comes in black, white, red or blue. They are also “free” when purchasing a car as they only consist of three layers, which include a primer, paint and lacquer. According to many detailing and body repair shops, they are also the easiest to repair and polish up with a car polishing machine.

Metallic paints are just as popular and provide a much brighter shine when compared to solid paint types. This shine is made possible by the inclusion of very fine aluminium powder that’s mixed into the paint, which picks up and reflects light. One drawback of metallic paint is that they often mark more easily and it’s crucial that you ensure there is no grit upon the wash mitt and you use a proper car shampoo.

Pearlescent paint is one of the shiniest available and often the most expensive. It’s a mixture of solid paint and ceramic crystals that reflects and retracts light, which provides the effect of reflecting several different coloured reflections from different angles.

Matte paint has become very popular over the last few years and is often only available as a grey, black or silver from the factory. Although they look great, they are very high maintenance and need to be cleaned regularly and with specific detailing products. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd, a matte finish is certainly one way of doing so.


Taking the risk with “off the shelf” paint isn’t recommended and may result in making things look worse. Spending a few minutes to find the exact colour code of your car is highly advised. You can then search the code on any major automotive paint supplier’s database for an exact match.

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