What Honda Says About Replicating Factory Paint Finishes

Honda Accord

It should come as no surprise that the paint job is the number one concern of customers to our shop in Sewell. With modern cars, a quality paint job involves a lot more than just some shiny paint on the outside, and you may not have noticed. The manufacturers are very specific about how we are supposed to recreate an original paint finish, but not all body shops are created equal, and not all body shops go to the same lengths we do to create a factory quality paint finish that will last the life of the vehicle.

In March, Honda issued some guidelines in their self-published Body Repair News and instructed repairers on how to deal with chip protection for Honda vehicles. We will break down those points for you here and give you an easy to understand explanation so that you will know what you can expect from us if we repair your Honda or any other brand of vehicle.

Honda says: “Stone chips are a leading cause of corrosion hot spots.”

Anti-chip primer

What Honda says:

Shops must check the OEM repair procedures to find out where to apply an anti-chip primer. Then you need to check your paint manufacturer’s procedures for how to deliver sufficient protection.

“Each paint manufacturer has its own formulation for matching the durability of the factory anti-chip primer, some call for additional sealers in these areas. Some call for an increased mil thickness of the clear coat. And some call for catalyzation of the base coat. Always check with your paint manufacturer for recommendations of products and procedures.”

What That Means To You And Your Repair:

Honda has approved several manufacturers of paint for the repair of their vehicles. Each auto body shop uses their own system that they purchase from the paint manufacturer. The common ones are Akzo Nobel, BASF, Sherwin Williams, and PPG.

Each paint manufacturer has its own paint formulations as part of their system, and Honda points out that as long as we follow the approved paint system directions, we will be compliant with Honda’s recommendation. In some cases, this will mean we have to add extra coats of sealer; in other cases, we will have to add multiple layers of clear coat.

What Honda Says: If the paint manufacturer doesn’t have such a procedure, then repairers should spray light coats of 2K primer surfacer/sealer, allowing appropriate flash time between coats until a thickness of 20 microns (0.79 Mils) is achieved. You can’t just cut corners and use Honda’s formula instead of putting in the time to research the paint manufacturer’s.”

What That Means To You And Your Repair:

In some instances, there may not be a guideline, but that does not mean that there is not a procedure! In fact, Honda specifically says Do Not Cut Corners”, and you would be surprised how many shops do.

Paint Thickness

What Honda Says: “The main purpose of refinishing products is to protect the surface from corrosion,” Honda wrote. “To accomplish this, the proper mil thickness must be achieved.”

“Refer to your paint manufacturer for minimum and maximum mil thickness recommendations. A digital mil thickness gauge must be used to ensure these recommendations are followed.”

What That Means To You And Your Repair:

Honda requires that all body shops use a mil gauge to make sure that there is enough paint thickness on the car. This is not something you can see, and it requires a small hand help gauge that gives a reading. In this case, 20 microns or .79 mils is the recommendation.

Intermediate chip guard

Chip guard is that rough-looking surface usually body-colored down near the rocker panels. It almost looks like a pick up truck bed liner, and it is designed to protect the bottom of the rocker panels from rock chips that will cause rust. You probably never noticed it before, but it is an important finish to replicate and to replicate it exactly to manufacturer specifications.

What Honda Says:

Intermediate chip guard helps prevent chipping damage from flying stones and is commonly applied to the side sill areas of the vehicle. It is a chloride vinyl resin material that is granular in appearance and applied between 100 and 200 microns thick (4 to 8 Mils).

Matching the factory-applied function and appearance may take practice and use of multiple spray-out panels. Never apply chip guard over bare metal.

What That Means To You And Your Repair:

This means that as repairers, we need to create a few test spray panels (spray outs) in order to achieve the same exact finish that your car has. Also, the chip guard has to be applied over painted surfaces.

Protective tape

At the corners of some of your lower panels, you may have seen what looks like clear tape and wondered what it is for. It is there for a reason, and Honda wants us to put it back on there if we are doing a repair in that area.

What Honda Says:

Honda says you must replace the clear protective tape present on some of its vehicles, typically in areas like “lower doors, the dogleg area of rear outer panels, and the fenders.” The material protects the paint from chips.

“It is important to remove and replace the tape anytime a panel is repaired, refinished, or replaced,” Honda wrote. “Refer to the applicable service information for the location of the tape and the application procedure. … Never paint over the protection tape.”

What That Means To You And Your Repair:

Here is an easy are where a body shop can cut a corner to save an insurance company money at the expense of the consumer. But even something as simple as some protective tape can be omitted or improperly installed, even painted over, all of which are incorrect procedures.

As a Honda certified body shop, we follow the Honda procedures to a “T.” We do the necessary research, and we perform the steps required. This is just a sample of some of the many specific steps we must take to ensure that you receive a Honda certified collision repair.

If you are in need of collision repair services and would like to get an online quote or schedule an appointment, click the buttons below or feel free to give us a call at (856) 232-1833.