Tech Tips

  • Why Don't Our Bumpers Match The Car??

    Over the past several years, a very obvious trend has arisen in which bumpers (and other plastic parts such as door handles and mirror heads) show a very visible "off color" match when compared to the main body. These off colors are apparent from the point of manufacture, and deemed acceptable, even to the point of a customer purchasing the vehicle. It is our job as technicians, it seems, to make the colors even BETTER than what was acceptable upon manufacture, or point of sale. Not always an easy task.

    In order to have satisfied customers, all parties involved (vehicle owner, shop manager, paint staff) need to understand why we see mismatches on plastic parts. Both when brand new, as well as after body shop repairs.

    Mismatches on "New" Cars

    Most commonly, the mismatches we see on brand new vehicles is a result of outsourcing. Although a car may be assembled in one facility, it does not necessarily mean that the "bolt on" parts come from the same plant as the main body. One facility may be using a different paint manufacturer, different equipment, or operating in a climate that is substantially different than the other plant. In today’s colors, these differences can easily account perceived color match issues.

    The actual color or "pigment" may not be the root cause of the color issue either. Believe it or not, variations in clear coats can cause the same issue. This not only speaks to the clarity of a clear coat product, but also to the film thickness, and texture (orange peel) of the coating.

    Sometimes even the best of color matches will create a perceived mismatch. As cars become sleeker and complex in design, panels are lining up at odd angles to each other. Our eyes are now looking at two facets of a color at the very same time (one face on, one at the flip), and the difference is apparent. **Note: General Motors have actually issued a Service Bulletin (ID2346049) regarding this phenomenon on the 2010 Camaro door to quarter panel. **

    Mismatches In The Paint Shop

    In the Paint Shop, the car is painted all at the same time, in the same facility, same gun, same air pressure, same color mixture, same temperature, same EVERYTHING, yet we will STILL see a color mismatch on our bumpers. It is the ultimate in frustration, but there are reasons for this phenomenon as well.

    Plastic bumpers will hold a static charge when compared to sheet metal, and will accept pigments and metallics differently. The metallics will orient themselves differently than on the sheet metal.

    Another factor is the temperature of the substrates in question. Plastic and metal will accept and retain heat at different rates. If the metal is hotter than the bumper, the color will look darker (and vice versa).

    Finally, there is a factor that can be corrected, and that is to mount the bumper in a position that is similar to how it sits on the car. Meaning, don’t lay bumpers "flat" on a stand, spray "with the grain" of the bumper. There are many effective and affordable bumper stands on the market that make it easy to spray a bumper in an "upright" position. Further to that, it is physically less demanding on the Technician who is spraying the bumper.

    Proving Your Point To A Customer

    With virtually no confrontation, a customer can easily see the color match issues on today’s cars by perusing a Dealership lot, or even a mall parking lot.

    Most customers will see with ease that these color issues are everywhere, and they likely purchased their vehicle with color mismatches, but never noticed it until being properly and politely informed.

    That being said, before a Shop takes on a job, it is pertinent to do a thorough "walk around", and point out and existing color issues to the customer PRIOR to starting repairs!

  • Honda & Acura HSS/UHSS Repair Guidelines

    Download The Guide
  • Tech Bulletin, Corrosion

    Providing corrosion protection to metal substrates is an important part of the repair process. Car manufacturers are going to great lengths with special alloys and zinc rich coatings {galvanized} on steel to improve the steels longevity. The manufacturers then coat the metal with electro-deposition primers and specialized surfacers to further insure the protection of the metal. When a body shop repairs metal they must be able to re-create the corrosion protection provided at the factory.

    There are a few key points that are essential in achieving good corrosion protection. First, the metal has to be clean. That means not only free from oxidation, but also free from salts, moisture, and residue. When the metal has its protective coating removed, it starts oxidizing very quickly. What is not commonly known is that even metals such as aluminum and zinc {which is present in galvanizing} start oxidizing immediately upon exposure to air. The higher the humidity the more extensive the oxidation becomes. This oxidation, or moisture, salts or residues prevent good adhesion to the metal. Good adhesion is absolutely essential to good corrosion protection.

    Autoprep Pretreatment Wipes are a chrome free conversion coating ready-to-use especially designed to offer excellent corrosion resistance on bare metal substrates. It replaces chrome-containing products and contains 0% VOC.

    Although Colorbuild Plus 250 will provide adequate adhesion on bare metal it does not provide adequate corrosion resistance to the bare metal substrate. The reason we recommend using Autoprep Pretreatment Wipes is to meet OEM warranty standards.

    Using Autoprep Pretreatment Wipes, Colorbuild Plus 250 as the sealer {only one coat required}, and Autowave followed by Autoclear Energy Pro or Superior 250 as the clear coat will not only make it easy to achieve the proper film build but also give good cross-linking density and ultimately provide excellent corrosion protection.

    We understand that its easy to miss areas that were sanded true on door edges and or sharp body lines and requires attention to prevent corrosion. Preppers and painters need to pay attention to the wheel wells and to be sure to apply the recommend product and mill thickness.

    Keep in mind that Autowave on bare metal will not prevent corrosion. We have seen the results in the form of first a color change followed by blistering and rust of the affected area.

  • Bill and Tom's Tidbits

    With hotter temperatures and higher humidity situations, it may be necessary to increase the amount of AW activator. This will help with keeping a wet edge, improved metallic control, and reduced dry spray in blend areas.

    For Best Results, Reduce as Follows:

    SOLID * 15% 20%
    PEARLS 25% 40%
    HIGH METALLIC ** 25% 50%

    *This includes solid colors with a high 245 content. The “new” 245 behaves like all other solid colors on the System!

    **Some high metallic 888DC, 888DF and 888EC colors may need to be started at 40% in high temperatures and humidity!

  • Big Al's Tech Tip

    The world keeps on changing, and so do our products and processes.

    Why not try our newest degreaser from Akzo Nobel Sikkens?

    ULTRA PREP Surface Cleaner (SIK509927)
    • Superior cleaning power to currently available waterborne cleaners
    • Packaged ready for use. No diluting or pre mixing required
    • Little to no streaking
    • Use the two towel method
    • Compatible with a variety of substrates including bare metals! (see TDS)
    • A MUST when cleaning plastics and composite materials due to its anti static properties
    • Compatible with Akzo Topcoat Systems!
    • Smells MUCH Better!
    Give any of us a call for further information!