Shop Parts keyboard_double_arrow_right
Need car parts? Select your vehicle
Reading Time: 4 minutes
  • The automotive paint code is a number that corresponds to the specific color your auto manufacturer used on your vehicle’s body paint during production.
  • You can find your car’s paint code printed on a label under the hood, on the driver’s door jamb label, and on the window sticker of your brand-new vehicle.
  • Another way to get your vehicle’s paint code is to contact your dealership and provide them with your VIN.

Dealing with paint damage is an inevitable part of vehicle ownership. From road debris to exposure to sunlight, there are a lot of things that can damage your car’s paint. Luckily, a minor chip or scratch can easily be fixed with the help of touch-up paint.

It’s important to note that you can’t just buy any random touch-up paint. You’ll have to choose one in the same paint code as your vehicle.

What Is a Car Paint Code?

Each vehicle has a paint code that corresponds to the specific color its manufacturer used during production. The code helps ensure that you’re applying the color hue that matches during repairs and repainting.

How to Find a Car Paint Code

car paint code accessible under the hood
It’s important to note that you can’t just buy any random touch-up paint. You’ll have to choose one in the same paint code as your vehicle.

There are many ways to determine which paint code applies to your vehicle. Here are some methods you can try:

Under the Hood

There’s usually a label located under the hood that contains your paint code information. Depending on your ride’s make and model, it could either be a sticker or a riveted placard.

It can be difficult to find the code on some vehicles since it may not be properly labeled. Try to look for an abbreviation like “CC.”

Driver’s Door Jamb

When opening the driver’s door, you may notice a rectangular label affixed to the door edge or B-pillar. This label usually contains important information about your vehicle, including its paint code. Simply look for terms like “EXT PNT” or “BODY COLOR CODE.”

Window Sticker

If your vehicle is relatively new, you’ll find a sticker affixed to the driver’s side window. Known as the Monroney sticker, this provides specific information about your ride’s make and model. This includes information like your manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) and your car’s paint code.

Consult a Professional Automotive Paint Specialist

You can also contact a professional automotive paint specialist to ask for advice. They usually know where to find the right paint code for your car.

How to Find a Paint Code by VIN

If you can’t find your car’s paint code using the options mentioned above, don’t worry. As long as you have your VIN, you’ll be able to get the right code.

All you have to do is to contact your dealership and give them your VIN. They should be able to give you the paint code for your vehicle.

Some online platforms may also carry a list of paint codes for different makes and models.

Can I Use Touch-Up Paint In the Same Color But With a Different Paint Code?

No. This is not recommended.  It will be noticeable if you use a different color code during paint repair. Even if your vehicle is in a simple color like black, there are different variations and tones of black that can make touched-up areas stick out like a sore thumb if the exact paint match isn’t used.

If you want to keep your car looking good, you’ll want to stick with touch-up paint in the correct paint code. If you’re unsure which paint to use, consult a professional.

Thousands of happy customers choose Shop Now

Can You Do a Touch-Up Paint Job Yourself?

If you have the tools, time, and patience for the job, then you can go ahead and do this yourself.

Before starting, you’ll need to wash and dry your vehicle. It’s also advisable to park it in a shaded area.

Remove any flaking and dust on the affected area before applying paint.

If this sounds complicated or time-consuming, you can always hire a professional to do it for you. You won’t need to spend that much—especially if you’re dealing with minor chips and scratches.

If you’re dealing with major paint damage, it’s a good idea to let professionals handle it because they have the expertise and equipment to restore your paint job.

How Much Will You Spend on a Car Paint Job?

It will depend on the severity of the damage. If you’re talking about minor chips and scratches, expect to shell out around $150 to $250. Repairing severe scratches or dents will cost you more. Labor rates may also vary depending on your location.

When to Use Touch-Up Paint

Touch-up paint is unnecessary if the scratch is minor and hasn’t gone through the clear coat. To check, run your finger over the scratch and see if your fingertip will get caught. If it glides smoothly, the damage is superficial and the paint is unharmed.

If your finger gets caught on the paint, it’s a sign that the damage is deeper than the clear coat. You’ll have to use a touch-up paint stick or get a professional touch-up done. In some cases, you may need to repaint a portion of your car.

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

File Under : Car Body , DIY
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

View all Questions & Answers

expand_more Answers BE PART OF OUR COMMUNITY: Share your knowledge & help fellow drivers Join Now