What’s different about paint on new cars?

New cars come with new features and effects everyone should be aware of.



September 8, 2023 - 2:41 PM

The 2023 Honda CR-V Sport Touring. (Honda/TNS)

Q: What is different about the paint jobs on new cars? It looks distinctively different than that on all older cars — like a hard shell coating.

L.F., Park Ridge, Illinois

A: I have noticed the same phenomenon but haven’t given it much thought. After all, I’m a nuts-and-bolts guy. So I turned to PPG for help. “A traditional automotive paint process begins with the application of pretreatment and electrocoat followed by a primer layer. After the primer layer is cured, a topcoat layer of basecoat and clearcoat is applied and cured. The result is a five-layer lustrous and durable paint finish,” PPG’s Mark Silvey told me. “Innovations across all five layers of coatings on new cars have enabled automotive manufacturers to continually enhance the appearance of cars, make the coatings more durable and scratch resistant, and have helped to make vehicles easier to keep clean and maintain.”

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