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Summary
  • Also known as a flat finish, matte car paint is a muted type of finish that isn’t shiny. Instead of the common glossy finish, a matte clear coat is applied after the colored paint dries and cures.
  • To maintain your matte car paint, avoid automatic car washes, hand wash your vehicle with the right products, and use sealants specifically formulated for matte paint.
  • Matte car paint stands out from other cars, looks better in photographs than glossy vehicles, and doesn’t need polishing.

There’s just something about matte car paint that looks so cool. Without the typical shine you see on most cars, a matte finish gives your vehicle a unique, sophisticated aesthetic. However, before giving your car a matte makeover, you ought to know what you’re getting into. Taking care of a matte car’s finish is a lot of work.

What Is Matte Paint?

Matte paint isn’t actually a type of paint. Also known as a flat finish, it’s a muted type of finish that isn’t shiny. Painting a car body is a lengthy process of priming, applying several layers of color, and finishing with a final clear coat. Instead of the common glossy finish, a matte clear coat is applied after the colored paint dries and cures.

How To Care for Matte Car Paint

A lot goes into keeping a matte black car’s paint in good condition. Here are a few care tips to remember when caring for your matte car:

Avoid Automatic Car Washes

The first rule of owning a matte car is to avoid automatic car washes at all costs. Automatic car washes use rough brushes and harsh chemicals that will damage the sealant and protective layer of your matte car.

Hand Wash With the Right Products

To keep your matte car clean, you’ll have to do things the old-fashioned way. Hand wash your car using soft brushes and a matte paint cleaner that won’t damage your vehicle’s finish. Some owners prefer to use DIY cleaners, such as a mixture of dish soap and vinegar, but it’s best to go for products that are specifically formulated for matte paint.

Don’t Use Traditional Paste Wax

To keep your car’s finish in good condition, you’ll have to seal it every six to nine months. However, you should never use traditional paste wax because this can permanently ruin the matte effect. If you want to protect your vehicle, look for matte sealant instead.

Hire a Professional for Visible Scratches

Getting rid of visible scratches on a matte surface can be hard, time-consuming, and expensive. If you’re a gearhead who loves DIY projects, you might want to sit this one out. You can’t just buff scratches from a matte finish like you can with a shiny surface. You’ll have to repaint the whole vehicle just to get rid of any spots or imperfections. This is why it might be best to just leave this job to a professional.

Advantages of a Matte Finish Car

There’s so much more to matte cars than just looking cool. Here are a few advantages of matte car paint:

Stands Out

If you’re looking for a vehicle that stands out, then switching to a matte car is the way to go. Less than 10% of vehicles on the road are matte, so yours will easily stand out.

Looks Better in Photographs

Taking a picture of glossy vehicles can be hard because their bodies reflect light. Luckily, this isn’t a problem you’ll encounter with matte cars. A matte finish won’t reflect light, so you can easily take a photo of it.

Doesn’t Need Polishing

Unlike glossy cars, matte cars don’t need to be polished. Polishing a surface brings back its shine, and this isn’t something you want for matte surfaces. Polishing creates a shiny spot and makes the matte finish look uneven.

Disadvantages of Matte Paint Cars

Before deciding on a matte finish, there are also a few disadvantages you should think about:

Scratches Stand Out

The beauty of glossy car paint is that it hides scratches and other imperfections well. With a matte finish, there’s nowhere to hide. A small scratch will stick out like a sore thumb. The worst part is that you can’t just polish, wax, or sand the scratch away. You’ll have to repaint your entire vehicle just to get rid of a tiny scratch.

High Maintenance

Matte cars need a lot of TLC. Unlike glossy cars, you can’t polish them to refresh their look. Instead, you’ll have to use matte paint sealers and protection films to maintain your car’s matte finish.

No Additional Warranty

Unfortunately, most warranties won’t cover your vehicle’s matte finish. Manufacturers know matte automotive paint is more delicate than a gloss finish, so they typically won’t offer an additional warranty for it.

More Expensive Than Regular Paint

There’s a reason why matte black cars look much more expensive than glossy black cars: matte paint costs much more than other types of car paint. On average, you can spend anywhere from $2,500 to $7,000 for a matte finish. Compare this to the average gloss finish, which usually costs around $1,000.

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com 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 CarParts.com'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.

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