Best Type of Paint for Cars

At Paint For Cars, we know from personal and professional experience how exciting it can be to paint your car. However, if you’re new to auto paint, or haven’t done DIY car painting in a long time, you likely are wondering what the best type of paint is for your car.

Among the steps to paint a car, choosing the type or types of automotive paint you want to use is very important. It can be overwhelming and confusing, so let’s talk about the different types of paints.

Types of Auto Paint

Here are some factors you’ll want to take into consideration for the best types of paint for cars:

Factors for Automotive Paint Types:

  • The type of finish you want to achieve,
  • The resources you have access to,
  • Your budget and the reason behind painting your car in the first place.

These are all factors you might want to weigh in before beginning your automotive painting project.

This article has a list of popular automotive paint types and their characteristics. The objective of the article is to define the different types of paints and does not indicate that one paint type is better than the other. This list simply makes your life easier in helping you choose the right type of auto paint based on your requirement and goals for your car paint.

Types of Automotive Paint

There are multiple different types of car paint available, from lacquer to urethane.

Here are the types of car paint you’ll find on the market:

1.    Lacquer Paint

Lacquer paint was extremely popular from the 1920s to the 1960s for its hard and shiny finish. It is also considered the easiest paint to apply, even in cold conditions. Lacquer car paint can be applied in 65 degrees and is a relatively inexpensive cheap option when it comes to auto paint.

Note: Although the paint dries faster, it requires up to eight coats which can eventually add up to longer painting hours and waiting for them to dry can be painstaking. Lacquer auto paint also requires a spray gun and can be challenging to paint in your home garage.

2.    Urethane Paint

Urethane auto paint is popularly used since they are long-lasting and are not prone to chipping. Manufacturers and professionals even use urethane paint to paint engine parts that may get hot easily.

This type of automotive paint dries easily with the help of hardeners and can also be sprayed on other paint types for cover-up jobs. It can give you a hard shiny finish and is also easier to store in a basic garage setup.

Note: Urethane tends to be a more difficult car paint to apply. Since it requires hardeners to dry well, you will need personal protection equipment to protect your lungs, skin and eyes from toxic fumes. It is usually advised to take professional help while painting with urethane.

3.    Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paints are water-based and less toxic when compared to urethane but possess similar characteristics to urethane automotive paints. It gives a glossy finish and is long-lasting. It is also an economic option that can give you a great look for your car.

Types of Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint has 3 types:

Note: Acrylic lacquer does not last long and fades when exposed to the sun for long. Acrylic paints in general take up to 2 days to dry, but does not catch dust or dirt like other paints. Read more about lacquer vs enamel paint here.

Read More: 3 Signs That Your Car Needs a New Paint Job

Copper Metallic Acrylic Urethane Auto Paint Kit

Types of Car Paint Finishes

Now, let’s go over common car paint finishes:

4.    Metallic Paint

Perhaps you enjoy the glossy, upscale look of metallic paint. Metallic auto paint gives a glossy look and is mostly used on athletic and sports cars. One of the reasons why we recommend metallic paint is because it’s extremely shiny and reflective in nature, making it a great option for hiding blemishes or minor scratches.

Metallic paint is also good for high resale value. As such, they are considered a high-end paint product on the market and, likewise, are more expensive than other paints.

Note: In case of a big dent or ding, metallic paint can be a lot more challenging to patch up as they need to be matched well. They also have limited color options.

5.    Matte Paint

Matte finishes are trending, especially among luxury cars today. They give a flat look instead of a glossy finish, which some car owners prefer. In addition, matte car paints have a tendency to make your car look great irrespective of the weather.

Note: Matte paints are a bit on the expensive side and are also high maintenance. They require specific care and products that are easier and non-reactive on the surface. They are also not great at hiding scratches like glossy paints.

6.    Pearlescent Paint

Pearlescent paints are similar to metallic paints. The aluminum powder in metallic paints is replaced with mica or ceramic crystals, which not only reflects the light, it also refracts it. This makes the car look colorful at different angles and gives it a dazzling look in the sun.

Note: Pearlescent paints are hard to repair. They also are as expensive as metallic paints and are also difficult to repair.

Check out some color trends for your car here.


Read More: Ultimate Guide to Auto Paint: Choosing, Applying, & Exploring Automotive Paints

Types of Auto Paint FAQs

What are the different types of auto paint?

There are several different types of auto paint. These include: urethane, acrylic enamel, acrylic lacquer, and acrylic urethane. The different car paint finishes include: solid, metallic, matte, and pearlescent.

What is the easiest auto paint to use?

The easiest auto paint to apply is acrylic urethane. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you should know that it’s relatively easy to apply, and is durable and long-lasting. As a result, acrylic urethane is likely to not create many problems while applying.

What is the best type of auto paint?

Overall, the best type of auto paint is urethane. When compared to water-based acrylic paints, urethane paints are much more durable. Overall, urethane paints provide excellent resistance against chipping, dings, and UV rays. Not only that, but they also provide a nicer-looking finish.

Read More: What is Automotive Paint Made Of? 10 Tips to Maintain It

Types of Automotive Paint: In Summary

With this idea of which car paint does what, you can easily choose which paint type to go with for your car. At the end of the day, the finish and look of your car will mirror your personality and individuality.

By weighing your options, your car paint goals can start getting real. Let Paint For Cars help you make your decision of which auto paint to choose!

Read More: DIY Car Paint & Paint Equipment

Contact Paint For Cars

If you are looking for metallic paints, urethane paints, acrylic enamel paints, paint kits, two stage and single stage paint products, etc., look no further than Paint For Cars! Our team can also serve as a resource for you to better understand different auto paint application methods, common auto car paint problems and cures, how to effectively protect your new car paint job, and more.

Still deciding on your automotive paint type? Contact Paint For Cars at 732-600-9770 to help you to choose from the various types of automotive paint.