How to Difference Between Original Car Paint and Repaint

Difference Between Original Car Paint and Repaint – The paint on a car can tell you a lot about its history and your best option might be to go with original car paint rather than repaint it again yourself.

This will preserve the car’s value in the long run and keep you from spending too much on extra parts that don’t need replacing.

If you’re not sure whether you’re looking at original car paint or repaint, here are some ways to spot the difference between the two.

How Can I Tell if My Car Paint is Original?

difference between original car paint and repaint

Many car buyers aren’t familiar with what original paint means. In short, it refers to a vehicle that has never had its original factory paint removed, then been repainted.

On some cars, original paint is easy to find because it can still be in excellent condition after years of use.

However, on other vehicles, particularly ones that were repainted within their first few years or when they sustained minor scratches.

The original coat of paint may have worn off by now, leaving only a faded layer beneath that was applied during a recent re-paint. Here’s how to tell the difference between the two:

Read also: Auto Body Repair and Painting Review: Perfecting Your Car

Differences in Vibrancy

Most differences between original car paint and repaint are quite noticeable, but subtle differences do exist.

If you’re able to spot even subtle changes in vibrancy or brightness, you may have spotted a repainted panel.

The depth of paint will appear much richer on an original car paint job, but once it has been stripped down, a new coat will appear noticeably thinner.

And this is something you will probably see on an older vehicle that has received several fresh coats of paint.

Differences in Hue

You might not know it, but there is a difference between original car paint and repaint.

The hues of both are different because manufacturers have individualized mixes for specific auto body paint colors, a quick visual check can help you determine whether or not your car paint is original.

If it’s a light blue, for example, then it’s likely that your vehicle was painted at a factory on an assembly line, in other words.

If your paint is light compared to other cars’ light blue, then you probably don’t have original paint.

If you’ve got some experience behind an easel or are just really observant, subtle differences in hue can provide clues about whether or not your car has been repainted.

Differences in Depth

One of the easiest ways to tell if a car’s been repainted is by looking at its paint in different lights. Sunlight will show underlying flaws, so go out when it’s overcast or find a shady spot.

Shine a flashlight on both sides of your car, if you notice any chipping or scratches, there’s a good chance you have repainted auto parts.

Finally, touch your finger against your vehicle’s paint, if it feels rough or crunchy, you probably have fake painted-on paint.

Differences in Sheen

A glossy finish is a dead giveaway that your car has been repainted. It’s impossible to achieve that shine without having gone through an elaborate, multi-stage painting process.

That said, there are other subtle differences in sheen between original paint and repaint, and if you know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to spot them.

It’s these differences in a sheen that can help reveal whether your vehicle was painted using PPG (DuPont) or BASF paints, click here.

BASF paints are often found on Asian vehicles; they tend toward a much more reflective surface with a high gloss, although they may have a slight orange tint.

PPG paints typically have fewer shine issues but are shinier than OEM paint jobs.

Differences in Texture

If you’re looking for signs that a car has been repainted, try to feel or touch it. If you think of your car’s paint as a thin layer that covers your vehicle.

The original paint will be relatively thin compared with the repaint. It may also have a rougher texture than you’d expect from new paint because it doesn’t lay completely flat on top of existing layers.

The repaint will look flatter than the original paint and is less likely to have air bubbles in it after being applied.

Pigment Type & Amount

Many people don’t realize that not all car paints are created equal. If you have an older car, there is a good chance it has been repainted. How can you tell if your paint job is original?

The easiest way is by checking out your paint code sticker which most likely will be on or near your door jam/jamb or perhaps underneath your trunk lid/hood.

Check for a number under each letter of a four-digit code; each digit represents a different color applied during manufacturing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is original paint better?

How can you tell if a car’s paint is original? This is often a question that arises when two people are thinking about buying a used car.

If you’re looking for an affordable way to buy a car, it’s natural to want one that has had as little wear and tear as possible.

Many cars, however, lose some of their value when they have been repainted because they don’t look as new.

But how do you know if your potential purchase has original paint or if it has had multiple layers applied?

You might think checking beneath old coats of paint is enough, but there could be several layers underneath.

Is it good to repaint car?

If you’re looking to sell your car, you’ve probably looked into how much it will cost to repaint it. Is it worth doing? Should you just buy a new car instead?

The truth is that painting a car isn’t really a big deal these days. It used to be that anyone who wanted their paint job done right would have their vehicle sent out for a professional touch-up.

Nowadays, anyone can take on most paint jobs at home as long as they have access to some basic supplies and know-how.

Unfortunately, having someone who knows what they are doing guide them through can often be more important than being able to do it themselves.

Especially when dealing with lacquer paints like those found on German vehicles like Mercedes Benz or BMW.

Can you repaint your car yourself?

The difference between repainted car paint and the original car paint is vast. There are many factors that come into play when deciding whether or not you should repaint your vehicle yourself.

However, there is a simple way to check if your car’s paint is original or not. This short guide will walk you through identifying an original factory coat of paint and some things you can do if you suspect it has been re-sprayed.

Can you paint over original paint on a car?

Yes, you can paint over original paint on a car. However, if you’re considering going that route make sure that you do a few things first.

First, test any paint products or tools on an area of your car where they’ll be out of sight. Secondly, ask your mechanic if painting over old paint will hurt your car in any way.

Thirdly, consult an auto-body specialist before making a decision, getting advice from them will help you make sure that you’re doing everything by-the-book in terms of safety standards as well as auto resale value.


There are many ways you can check if your car paint is original. There are some tell-tale signs that indicate a repainted surface, but nothing is foolproof.

While it may seem like an easy way out, make sure you keep your vehicle in mind when considering a paint job instead of just replacing parts or entire surfaces.

That way, you’ll have an original vehicle with as much of its value preserved as possible.

But if you do decide to have your car repainted, there are several ways you can find original paint for cheap on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.