Fixing minor scratches on your car is not that difficult provided you know the specific color of your car. Touch-up paints and automotive sprays can guarantee a good job if you’re able to match the exact car color codes of your vehicle. As such, it is imperative that you know where to find the code for the color of your car.
Color Code vs. Color Name
One has to differentiate a color code from a color name. Most people think that they are one and the same. However, if you think about it, the color “yellow” can come in various shades. It can be darker or lighter. To the naked eye, it is still yellow.
Hence, if you have a car that says it has a “silver gray” color, you cannot go to the auto supply store and get a spray can labeled “silver gray”. What you need is the “code” that provides a specific blend of colors to give the kind of “silver gray” that your car needs.
It is important to distinguish a color name from a color code. In our example, “yellow” is the color name. However, its color code can be in Hex (#FFFF00) or RGB (255,255,0), depending on the system of coding employed. As such, if we were to change the RGB code to 255-255-10, in our eyes it will still be yellow. However, its code will already be different.
The same is true with vehicle manufacturers. They may use the same “color name” in their vehicles but the specific color code can be different. It can be a shade lighter or darker than the previous models. In other words, what you may have in your vehicle registration papers is the color name. However, it may be a very different color code for the same color. This is why it is very important to perform a paint code lookup before repainting your car.
How to Look for Your Car’s Color Code
There are at least two ways where you can check the color code that is specific for your car. These include the car information sticker and the vehicle identification number or VIN.
Car Information Sticker
The car information sticker contains the Information related to the paint used on a specific vehicle. It also contains the make of the vehicle and other pertinent information. Some call this the service parts identification sticker or the vehicle certification label. Whatever car manufacturers call it, the CIS, SPID, or VCL is the best source for vehicle paint information.
The majority of car manufacturers put this sticker on the door jamb of the vehicle’s driver side. If there is no sticker on this part of your car, then you may want to search in the following areas.
- Driver side door
- Sun visor on the front passenger side
- Under the driver’s seat
- Firewall separating the engine compartment from the passenger cabin
- Rear section of the center or middle console
- In or under the glove box
- The wheel well for the spare tire or the spare tire cover
- Trunk lid
- Strut tower in the engine bay
If you’re not sure where it is, you can check your vehicle owner’s manual to determine where you can find this sticker on your vehicle.
Once you determine the location of the SPID or VCL, look for terms like “PNT”, “BC/CC”, “PNT PKG”, “C/TR”, ”Paint”. The “code” after any of these terms is your car’s color code.
Vehicle Identification Number
If you’re having difficulty looking for the VCL of your car, do not fret. It is still possible to learn your car’s paint code by VIN. This is the vehicle identification number that comprises of a string of 17 characters in numbers and letters. Each vehicle comes with its own unique identifier.
However, it is important to understand that locating the VIN on your car will not give the paint color information of the vehicle. You will use the VIN to extract color code information using other platforms.
For example, there are online resources that help vehicle owners know the different pieces of information related to their car. Using their database, these online resources can provide vehicle owners with more than car color codes. They can also supply information about other components of the car. To do this, they will need to know the VIN of the car. They can then use this to search for the specific information that you need.
If you call the vehicle manufacturer or the car dealership, they will also ask you for the vehicle identification number. This will help them in their paint code lookup that is specific to your car. This way, you can rest assured that the paint you’ll use will be the exact same color as the original.
So, where do you locate the VIN in your car? In most cars, you can look for the VIN at the dashboard located on the vehicle’s driver side. In some cases, the VIN is on the door post of the driver side.
If you do not see the VIN in these places, you can also check it from the following sources.
- The vehicle title, also known as the Certificate of Title. It is a legal document that establishes the ownership of the vehicle.
- The vehicle Certificate of Registration. This is a document issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles in each state, establishing a link between an owner and the vehicle.
- Automobile insurance papers.
- Car repair records.
Keep in mind that the VIN is a series of numbers and capital letters for a total of 17 characters. If your car was manufactured before 1981, it may only contain up to 11 characters or less than 17. If you see VIN with less than 17 characters, keep in mind that you may not obtain the paint code by VIN that you need.
Performing a paint code lookup is easy. Look for the Vehicle Certification Label or the Vehicle Identification Number. You can then use this information to determine the exact color code of your vehicle.