Car Body Repairs: Is a Factory Finish better than a Refinish?

Refinish or Factory Finish

A question often asked by potential customers: “Will the paintwork be as good as a factory finish after the repair?” Short answer – there is no reason why not.

The paint used on a repair or respray is chemically formulated to the same exacting standards of the original finish at the manufacturing site. It is true that there is a greater chance of mistakes being made as the respray is done by a human rather than a robot and for this reason a professional should always be chosen over the amateur or DIY option. The actual finish provided by aftermarket paint can in fact be every bit as good as the original and in my experience it can even be better – I have seen some shocking finishes on a supposed perfectly painted new car.

 The clearcoat, usually referred to as lacquer is always an acrylic urethane clear coat that requires curing, usually with infra red waves but increasingly with ultraviolet and even simple air drying (although the finish is anecdotally worse with an air drying lacquer.

In the factory, the painting and lacquering is done before the electronics and plastic elements are added to the car. Because of this, the technique used to apply the clear coat is usually heat based s the metal car shell can be heated above 200 degrees without risk to any sensitive components. In this way the clear coat is 'baked’ to its particular hardness.

When a repair or respray is carried out, care must be taken of the sensitive components so the alternate methods of curing with infra red or uv light must be used. The resultant finish, whilst applied in a different way, can be every bit as deep and full of lustre as the factory finish. A lot depends on the exact product used and the skill of the car body repair technician.

More anecdotel evidence suggests that the final appearance of a repair or respray is often poor quality. This is nothing to do with the quality of the consumables used and everything to do with the skill of the car paint repair operative. A skilled repairer can work wonders with the modern smart repair products available on the market today.